3 Things International SEOs Must-Know: Local is Global

seo search engine optimization

The term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is used quite casually by individuals and companies of all sizes. In a way, it has become a bit like a digital marketing slang. Why did we say slang? SEO is implemented quite differently for various type of businesses and scale. In other words, doing SEO for a 10-page website is very different from SEO for a 1 million page website. And this isn’t due to just the sheer number of pages. It’s much more than that.

Besides knowing the basics and going through SEO checklists that you can get from many websites, there are questions to be answered to honestly see what type of SEO works for your business or project. For example, are you looking at corporate SEO, enterprise SEO, SEO for news media website? Are you doing SEO for an English language website? And is that website for users in Australia or Singapore? Does the country even matter for SEO? Very much so. In this articles, let’s take a look at a subset of SEO, mainly local versus global SEO.

Why Did We Say: Local SEO Is Global SEO?

Whether you’re doing SEO locally for just one country, be it Thailand, Indonesia or Singapore, APAC-level, or even globally, the only difference is the number of country-specific SEO knowledge you have to know and be able to implement. Meaning, if you exist in Thailand only, then you need to know how to do SEO for Thailand. If you’re doing SEO for Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, then you need still need to know how to do SEO for Thailand besides another two countries. Hence, Local SEO is a Global SEO.

Must-Know #1 Differing Demand Means Differing SERP

When we talk about SEO, we can’t do so without touching on the term SERP (Search Engine Result Page). The SERP between different countries can be very different. If you search for a specific keyword on Google.com, and then on Google.co.th, you’ll find that the SERP is different. And not just the ranking position, but also the knowledge graph and how the information presents itself.

Thus, to do local SEO well, it’s vital to understand the local culture and language. A simple keyword-to-keyword translation doesn’t work. Most search engines, including Google, takes into consideration the local culture, trends and search behavior in crafting the SERP. The key takeaway here is to put in the necessary efforts to understand the local keyword demands before crafting your on-site content and link juice structure.

Must-Know #2 Know And Use The hreflang Tag

If you search for more information about the hreflang tag, most sources may suggest it’s suited for international and global SEO; to help search engines distinguish the content between countries as well as to avoid duplicate content. Does that mean if you’re doing local SEO, you can skip this altogether? Absolutely no!

The hreflang tag helps Google to understand the language and country intent for your website content. Having this set-up, means you’ve taken the necessary step to help Google decide how to match your content with the local algorithm and as a result, ensure you increase your chance to rank better, appear better in the search result page.

Must-Know #3 Simple Translation Does Not Work

In must-know #1 we explored the fact that the search engine algorithm takes into account local language context, culture, and trends, hence a simple translation isn’t quite enough to cut. For example, the term ‘Kreng Jai’ in Thai, can’t be translated into English in a single word or phrase because it doesn’t quite exist in the English language culture. Or the term ‘murah meriah’ in Indonesian also can’t entirely be translated into other languages while keeping the local context intact.

Search engines, however, consider these local language context, which influence the SERP. Local slang, idioms, and daily phrases are among other local language inputs that are considered ranking factors.

Want to know what other factors may impact your local and global SEO efforts? Please feel free to talk to one of our digital marketing enablers! Just click on the Live Chat icon on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen or contact us and we’ll get back to you soon.