The team at BoostRAOS invited me at the #WeeklySEO to discuss the challenges behind international SEO. I share what you should consider when internationalising a website and a multilingual case study about an insurance company. You find the Youtube link of the webinar and the slides.
BoostROAS #WeeklySEO is a live stream where you find summarized SEO news, give some tips, and the BoostROAS team introduce you to the experiments and case study they do.
BoostROAS team invited me to their May #WeeklySEO where I explained what there is to consider when going international. The second part of my talk included a detailed case study about an insurance company where I explained the multilingual challenges the company faced and the solution we implemented to solve them.
I love being a host and setting the stage for a speaker, like I do for Content Strategy Lausanne and SEOnerdSwitzerland. I am less used to being a speaker myself. I enjoyed the challenges and spent 2 days on the slides 😄
BoostRAOS #WeeklySEO replay
Thank you Büşra Çildaş and Adem Yildiz for inviting me, I had a brilliant time!
Get the slide deck
Full transcript of the webinar about international SEO
Transcript created with the help Ross John dela Rosa. Thanks Ross.
Presentation & greetings from Isaline, Consultant SEO
Büsra Clidas: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Weekly SEO.
Adem Yildiz: Hello.
Isaline: Hello everybody.
Büsra: So, how are you Isaline? Adem, how are you? How was your week?
Isaline: I’m great! I’m excited to be here. It’s like the last good moment of the week before I jump into the weekend.
Adem: We can start the webinar actually like, “Hi,” “Hallo,” “Bonjour,” and “Mheraba” for all international out there. I hope I can pronounce well “Hallo like it’s Germany, yeah?
Isaline: Yeah, hallo. Actually, I think in Switzerland, you would say “Grüezi” or “Grüezi Mitenand,” something like that.
Adem: Ah, oh so, grüezi. I hope my pronounce—
Büsra: So again, welcome to the Weekly SEO everyone. Today we have a brilliant guest from Switzerland. She’s so good and brilliant. I love her and thank you Isaline for being here with us. Oh, my god, I’m so excited and I couldn’t pronounce—. Okay, maybe we can start, Isaline
Isaline: Perfect! Let me do that. There you go. So, now I see only the slides and not you. So if there are any questions or anything you have to tell me to stop talking.
Büsra: Okay, people are saying “Hi” to us. Hi Sahin. Hi Emre. Hi Marina. I guess I show everyone. For the ones who have just arrived at the livestream, we have this livestream every week. And we started to have international guests with different topics every week. And this week, Isaline Mülhauser is with us. And you can feel free to ask your questions during the livestream. We will answer them. “Hi, everyone,” Hi Yunus. Hi Efnan. And maybe we can start our presentation. And they are now having fun with other languages, Isaline. Hey guys.
Adem: It’s getting so international.
Isaline: Perfect. So, it was super nice to have invited me. So, Büsra and I actually met on the Women in Tech SEO slack channel. It’s the place to be at the moment where everything happens and where good people meet and get to know each other. And so she invited me to come here and that’s great. I’m very excited to be here. I’m more used to being a host than a speaker. You might know me from SEOnerd Switzerland. It’s the community that I co-host with my friend, Sara Moccand Sayegh. So, usually I set the stage for brilliant speakers and today I’m the speaker. So, I did my best to make slides and say good stuff. So you’ll tell me at the end if I succeeded that.
I’m the host of SEOnerdSwitzerland and Content Strategy Lausanne, two communities. And I’m an SEO Consultant. I used to work in an agency, a web development agency. And I was doing closer to content work and I wanted to do much more SEO. And it was time for me to fly with my own wings. So I started my own consultancy and it’s my second year now. Otherwise, I’m an animal lover and I have two cats. And the COVID was a good thing for my cats because I started being a lot at home, like working from home. And sometimes I was also stuck at home like not allowed to go outside. I suppose you know what I mean. We all had that but my cats were really happy. So that’s a good thing.
And otherwise, I really like going outdoors and doing bike rides and boat rides with friends. And I’m really lucky because like the alps are very accessible from where I live so I can take the trains with my bike and just go and ride in beautiful outdoors. And I also do lots of baking. I think it’s the taking care moment for me because when I bake, I’m like, you get to use chocolates and vanilla and sugar and butter and all of this stuff that are really good. So I really like baking it’s and it’s like also very relaxing for me to make some biscuits or whatever. And then of course, I have too many biscuits so I end up just giving them away to my neighbors and my family and friends, whoever comes around.
Büsra: I’m good at eating them. I wish we were neighbors.
Isaline: Yeah, I wish.
Adem: Yeah, you will be really good friends, you know?
Isaline: This is the disclaimer. I’m basically a tech expert. I’m really lucky to have some colleagues and some friends who are really the tech experts and we have really good collaboration going especially with Sara Moccand-Sayegh. Sara and I are very complementary which means that when there’s something about for instance ahref lang tags that it’s beyond me, then I can just ask and also asking the Women in Tech SEO Slack community. I think it’s good as an SEO to know to know where your limit is and you will not be afraid to ask for that specific questions that you’re not able to answer on your own.
And I’m more used to work in digital marketing and then I really focused on content; and then I really focused on SEO because I just saw opportunities to perform. However, the market here in Switzerland is not really ready for SEO, it’s really a field that is starting especially for smaller companies. At the moment, I do my best to educate more of the most people I can about the opportunities of having an SEO approach to digital marketing. And I think that today we are really lucky because we have Adem. He will just add to any things that I can’t answer because I’ve heard that he’s the tech expert too.
Adem: Yeah, yeah. I can reply and you can ask for international SEO, for technical side.
Isaline: We are a good team for you today, I think.
Adem: Yeah, exactly.
Introduction of the BoostROAS Team hosting the event
Büsra: Actually we are introducing us every week but for the new comers. I’m going to introduce us again. So this handsome guy is here, he won’t be able to be with us today. He is our Director of SEO. He encourages us to solve complex SEO problems. And I’m Büsra. I’m the same Senior SEO Executive of BoostROAS. I’m also a content strategist but I also love playing with technical stuff. And of course…
Adem: And, I am Adem and I am a SEO Executive at BoostROAS agency. And as always like in the Weekly SEO, I will share my international SEO knowledge and this experience in this session with Isaline.
Content of the BoostROAS webinar
Isaline: All right. First step I want to explain a little bit why is multilingualism a challenge. I don’t know if you speak many languages or if you have worked on multilingual or international websites but it can get very messy very quickly.
I want to dig a little bit like, what is multilingualism and what is international SEO? Because it’s a little bit different kind of challenge. And personally, I had a really hard time grasping the difference because I thought that international was multilingual but it’s not necessarily. We’ll see that. I’ll introduce you to things to consider like, things that can go wrong when you’re trying to work on an international website. And then, I’m digging into a case study about a French-speaking insurance company here in in Switzerland that I worked for. And we’ll discuss the opportunities with that case study, the solutions and also the aftermath like, can I say that what we did with the team is a success or not really? That’s the plan for today.
Büsra: And after your excellent presentation about international and multilingual SEO, we will talk about new SEO tools to try, video best practices, GeoIP or Browser Language Redirect and Page Experience Algorithm for desktop. Of course, you know— hi everyone. For the newcomers, I’m going to say again that the goal of this session is to keep you updated on the SEO industry. Together with the multilingual SEO, we will also share the news in the SEO industry. So, it’s time, I’m so excited.
Why is multilingualism a challenge? An example
Isaline: Why is multilingualism a challenge? Why is it even a subject when we discuss international SEO. Well, this is an example of why this is a challenge. That’s a tweet from Areej AbuAli, the founder of Women in Tech SEO. She tweeted that. And I was like, “Okay, subscription boxes?” It just doesn’t ring a bell. I have no idea what does she want and what kind of recommendation or website is that. First thing, I tried to see what it means in direct translations. Translated from a computer like Deepl. Honestly, this is nothing but ‘d’abonnement,’ it doesn’t exist. I don’t know, I tried it in Turkish, I don’t know if this means something with you, this direct translation. I don’t know if that could be something.
Büsra: It’s like a magazine subscription, being about like magazine subscription. I don’t know what it is.
Isaline: I suppose it’s the same. Computer translation, they don’t really always transfer the meaning that you want them to transfer. Also, I checked the threads because lots of people answered our age and some of them shared some website links. Basically, I was on that website, I got the meaning. Subscription boxes, it’s like ‘abonnement’ to receives boxes with whatever stuff inside.
Okay, imagine you are in this business and you’re like, “Oh, I sell subscription boxes and I want to catch the juicy Swiss markets where everybody has lots of money.” Is that so good? Do you think it’s going to have such high search volume? Oh well, and there was a slide about the search volume and I checked in ahref and actually there was between 0 to 10 for ‘abonnement’ boxes. If you are this company and you’re trying to reach the markets it’s not going to work with direct translations. You have to do a different kind of approach. This is one of the challenges that multilingual SEO deals with. It’s like, when you want to target a market, you have to think, is the market are the needs, for instance, and what are going to be the words.
Multilingualism vs international
We have different things, we have multilingualism as we said and we have international SEO. what is the difference? Let’s say you have an English user and you have an English site.
And you have an American user. Is the American user going to use the English site? Maybe not, maybe you are going to target the American user with an American English site. This would be international SEO but Google does not consider that as multilingual. It means for Google, American English and in UK English would be the same language. For instance, you would run the risk of duplicated content. What if you have a Swiss-French user? Can you use a French site or are you going to use a Swiss-French site? How do you want to target? This would be a case of Multilingual SEO when you are internationalizing your company. And what if you have a German user? You have a German site. And a French user, you have a French site.
You can have different types. Multilingualism SEO is like a part of international SEO and international SEO is not necessarily multilingual. If you don’t have a German site for the German user, you could decide to default the UK English websites to the German user. And same if you don’t have a French site for French user. You could want to try to target the French user with the Swiss-French site. Is that going to work? As you can see it can get very messy very quickly.
Büsra: Oh my god, just like German and French, I guess Spanish will see another heart problem for targeting, I guess.
Isaline: And like if you thinking about Spanish websites and different types of Spanish, Gemma Fontané did a podcast about that and indeed, there are different kinds of Spanish and different kinds of cultural and economic needs your users can have. Even though you think that it’s the same language, it might not be.
Adem: Yeah, can we say that you gave an example about Swiss-French user but Spanish for example, for South American Spanish and as you say it like cultural and language because language grammar is also so different and also, they’re using currency is different. And totally, it’s a kind of a big challenge for Spanish.
Isaline: Yeah, and I can expect that they have also very basic different things like the season of the year, they don’t experience like you don’t say it’s cold in October, are they going to relate with what you say. Maybe where they live it’s just not cold because they don’t have that the winter like you experience it.
Büsra: This has the same logic with the translation and localization but I won’t go into details because you will talk about, I guess.
Things to consider: when internationalising a website
Isaline: What are the things to consider when you want to internationalize your business and have like website targeting different countries?
The first thing very important to remember and this is a quote from Tory Gray. Because I had a discussion very interesting with her as I was preparing these slides and having brainstorming with her, she’s like, “Yeah, well if you want a new market you have to realize that it’s going to means more resources and more work.” It’s not going to be just easy-peasy, you computer translate your website and you have your market share. You will have to just put the work into it and and then SEO is going maybe to help you leverage the work that you do. But really just keep in mind that it’s just having two websites is really working for different types of markets.
Consider the market
Isaline: What can go wrong? Well, everything in all of the area that I’m going to discuss now. The first thing is what Büsra has said just before is like the the market, you are ready to take over market share but in the market you want to target what is different. What is similar? Do the user experience the same kind of situation that you do? As we said for Spain Spanish and like Castilian Spanish and maybe you have Spanish in Nicaragua, people are going to be completely different. It’s good for you to think if the product or the the service you are going to sell is going to to work there and are they going to answer to what you’re going to propose. I would especially look for the differences because you know the things that works but you really have to know things that are not going to work. Look for the difference in the different types of markets and the public.
Legal & compliance aspects
Isaline: There is the legal and compliance aspects. Are there things that you should be aware of? Let’s say that you are an eCommerce website and you are selling clothes. Are you thinking about every aspect of your user experience for them to have a good experience? For instance, if you sell clothes and you ship them to Swiss markets with your eCommerce websites. But then, if you don’t tell the people that will have to pay about 7% taxes supplementary to what they paid you, then, they are going to be really surprised and probably not so happy about not knowing before they bought the thing that they will have to pay more.
In Europe, we have all the thing about the cookies. I’m sure you know about that. Again this is something you should be aware of. Really check that it’s going to be smooth experience for the customers or are they going to be bumps in the roads that you should tell them before to ensure a good customer experience. Customer experience is everything.
Find your audience
Isaline: How are you going to find the audience or is it the audience that is going to find you? This goes obviously lots with the vocabulary when we talk about SEO and keyword search for example. If possible, it’s best to have someone local to do the keyword search but if you can at least discuss with someone local and the same for the content it would be best like if you want to target the Swiss-French market to have someone from here writing the content and not someone from France because the thing is the language has a certain taste, a certain feeling to it. And your users are probably going to recognize if the language is not really meant for them.
Translation & copywriting
Isaline: Translation and copywriting. This is a really big thing because you want to build the relationship with your clients and you want them to convert especially if you’re selling something. If you’re an eCommerce website, people have to like take the credit card number and put it in your website. You have to make them feel comfortable and that they can trust you. And if you have a very bad translation or very automatically translation, they are not going to feel like they can trust your website to actually buy for something. This is something to keep in mind especially in terms of resources.
Büsra: A big global eCommerce company came to Turkey a few years ago and they first opened their websites in Turkish with google translate and at the beginning people just thought that, “Oh my god, what’s happening? Are they fake or something happened?” It was a really challenge because of the thing you said about the credit card. We will trust our credit card number there and there is some meaning the sentences on the website. How can I trust that website?
Isaline: Yeah and I guess that if you want to take over a market it’s because you want to sell something. Be it a service or a product but you want the user to perform an action. You’re not going to get the trouble of translating all of the websites if you don’t want the user to perform anything. You really have to set this this trust right.
And then, there is the thing about the appropriate structure. And when I say appropriate structure I mean, how are you going to deal with hosting? Are you going to be really fast? Are you going to require some CDN? And also, how are you going to deal with ahref lang tag? Because as we saw, for instance, if you are a German website and you want to target the Swiss-German market and you want to target the UK markets and the Italian markets but you don’t have a translation or you do have a translation for the Swiss-German market, you will need to support this. And also all the things about subdomain and subfolders, all of these things can be optimized and can also go very, very wrong.
The most important in everything that I’ve just said, you won’t be able to have all of the answers by yourself because I think that is it’s just impossible to know everything about international SEO. But it’s good to know what would be most, where, what is the area that is going to be the most challenging for your business and for your objective. And then of course, just ask some other people who are experts in the area you’ve identified just to help you out and discuss with you.
Adem: I think that’s a good point like hosting and CDN because like Page Experience is coming and that’s really so important. For example, from Turkey companies if they want to make their websites more international, they are aiming the USA market but if their server is in Turkey or maybe more far away, it can be affect your core web vitals metrics in negative way also. I think that’s the really good point nowadays.
Isaline: Yeah, or if you are a publisher’s type of website, and then, speed is very important, for instance, this is something really to keep in mind. This is an area of challenge, I think. So basically, I think I’ve never arrived in a project where people— most of the time when I arrived on a project it’s because something was going wrong and it was a mess. Like the website just didn’t achieve the business objective they had in mind. And I was more hired to try to organize the existing mess and try to improve areas. I can imagine that you are also often in this situation. Sometimes companies, they don’t hire the SEO before they do things. They hire us when they have started doing things and then it’s not too late obviously, but still maybe they have already lots of tons of subdomains. And maybe there were better solutions than having tons of subdomains. But this is where you are and you have to deal with it and maybe migrate to subfolders or whatever. I think it’s good to not be afraid of a messy situation and try to find or really to go to the bottom of what is most important about the challenge, about the website that you will tackle.
A case study about a French speaking insurance company
Isaline: This is a case study about a French-speaking insurance company. And this is exactly a situation of a la-la-la, a little mess. For you to understand how it is. It’s an insurance company that is based in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, we are about 12-15% speaking French of Switzerland. It means a relatively small part. And the company is performing really well and they’re like, “Oh, but we want a bigger market. We want the Swiss-German market which is 80% of the market.” And they were also like, “Oh yeah, we are going to have lots, lots of translations.”
This is basically how you see the borders of Switzerland. You have the tiny part which is the French-speaking part and the big part, it’s a German-speaking part. And we call that the potatoes border because, I don’t know, we have this idea that Swiss-German eat small potatoes but again that’s an idea.
The initial situation
Isaline:The initial situation is we have a relatively small website. About 15 to 20 pages, most of them with thin content and the website is currently translated in six different languages. You have the national languages plus the Spanish, plus Portuguese and the thing is they’re like, “Oh yeah, but we are really trying to be diverse and inclusive in targeting everybody and we do lots of translation but the thing is we are not able to move beyond the Swiss-French part but we have this website.” And obviously, my work was in the middle of a project—
The plan was my work on targeting on multilingual SEO was in the middle of a migration. They want to redesign, they want custom codes and custom design and they want to target the German markets and better conversion and more traffic. You know, they want everything. And they want everything but they don’t have a budget for everything like-
Büsra: And they want in just two weeks, right?
Isaline: Actually, They did not say two weeks but basically that was the situation, yeah. The whole team we were like, “Ah, la-la-la. This is going to be a fun project.”
Isaline: Instead of stressing out about the challenges, we were like, “Okay, what are the opportunities and what can we do with what we have?”
The opportunities are that we can reach for the audience and make better content. And we can start building trust in more than one language because if we build this trust we can have longer term clients and especially it will help us increase conversion because the thing is the translation was so bad that people were not feeling comfortable filling the inscription formula. They wouldn’t give their personal data on the web and just convert and ask for an offer for the price of insuring ‘blah.’ It was really a big language problem and also a traffic issue like the competition was having a much higher traffic was driving much more traffic and also the competition had a big blog.
They were like, “We can reduce the time spent answering question,” because that’s the thing when you have a really bad content on your website but you have interesting price it turns out you have lots of customer questions. And that makes internally speaking a lot of work because people don’t understand what you send them. They don’t understand how they can have an offer because the transition is just not good and also the content was basically non-existent.
And since we’re working on a budget, we have the opportunity to coach the internal team to actually long-term be able to produce and publish this content. You have this ideal situation that you can create a content calendar based on a keyword search and the internal team will be able to write content and grow the blog and reach better the people and have more traffic, et cetera. That was like what we aimed at. And I’m not speaking about what we aimed at in terms of migrating well and designing well and blah. That was completely another part but obviously part of the project, too.
I think I imagine you can relate to this type of situations where you have like one budget and you have to share the budgets between the different services between the design, between the codes, between the SEO migration tasks and between the SEO targeting task, and between the content. You have to really think wisely about what is most important. I have been speaking a lot. Is there any questions?
Büsra: Maybe you can ask, everyone, our listeners you can ask your questions. Feel free to ask anything about international SEO. I have a question but I will ask it at the end.
Adem: I want to add something at the last slide, build a trust in the market. I think it’s also the same in in Turkey. If a customer saw the alternative language like for example English and this is the kind of international Turkey companies choosing this way because English it means, “Okay that was an international company and I can’t just trust that.” And also, it can increase the conversion here. But also be sure you gave an example from a big company where who joined like entered the Turkish market. I don’t want to give an example. Okay, probably the same eCommerce website, we are thinking this. And when I entered to this website and I bounced it really quickly because that Turkish was terrible and I didn’t want to use it. Maybe I could buy something from there but I couldn’t because I don’t trust it because the language option was terrible and totally translating to from probably the Google translate
Isaline: Yeah and ultimately, for them it means that they lost you as a client and because you are probably not going back on that website next time you see in the search results. You will be like, hey—
Isaline: What did we do to reach all of this objective. First thing we really thought about the audience and providing what the audience needs because even though it’s the same country it might be that the market and the situation is a bit different and they have a bit different need. First thing is also you know when you want to attract more traffic and you are limited with the transactional traffic then the good thing is to add informational articles to maybe attract customers before in the marketing funnel and answer informational questions.
Keyword search and writing templates
Of course, the keyword search and we did the keyword search in French and in German but I’ll get back to that. We did the customer journey workshop because it’s helpful to do that and to know the pain points of the users and it helps to assign the keywords and targets the articles in terms of what the user needs and where that person is in the marketing funnel. And of course, we had the clustering content theme and that could be different for each language because maybe it was an insurance company related to renting flats. So you have renting flats in Zürich and you have renting flats in Geneva and it’s the same type of cluster but it’s it’s still different clusters.
And also we created templates for the blog article. For instance, for the cluster renting a flat we have a type of blog post and with different type of sections just to help the internal staff. Think about, “Oh, well if I do this cluster about renting a flat in Geneva, I can reproduce it for renting a flat in Lausanne.” And it’s just the same structure. They don’t have to think everything from scratch.
A really big thing here is trying to answer search intent to satisfaction and that’s a concept I learned with Izzi Smith. She explains that really well. So it means that you’re not only trying to target the informational keywords but you’re really trying to provide all the information necessary to the audience.
E-A-T for an insurance company
We want to inspire trust because remember this is an insurance company. It means that we are in this EAT criteria thing. We focused, we tried to be reliable through the vocabulary that means having a brand vocabulary for the products and the most common aspects in each language in a set type of vocabulary. A tone and voice guide in each of the main languages. In the type of information, we tried to have really transparency at each touch point. And that means having transparency on the project page but also in the formular. We tried not to hide anything, you know, the smaller characters with the little stars in the insurance that you can’t read. But this is exactly what we tried to avoid and just being very transparent about what it offers and what it doesn’t offer.
We worked a lot and when I say a lot I say a lot, on the FAQ because that was a very important part. There is a set of common questions that is always asked at each touch point and it’s good to answer them on the website because this is useful for the users. But this is useful for the customer care people working internally because they have the same type of questions. And sometimes they can copy-paste parts of the answer and just be very reliable on the answer to everyone. The FAQ was a really big part.
Really in the FAQ, the reliability of the vocabulary is very important. Like if you name your contracts that, you need to name your contract like that everywhere. If you change the name of your contract then it’s just confusing for the user like, are you talking about the same contract or talking about something else?
The activities for the content in a nutshell
Activities in a nutshell. We had obviously, and here again, I’m not talking about the migration part but we had the keyword research, we had the clustering content theme, we had the brand vocabulary, the tone and voice guide, and of course, internal coaching. Writing together article with the staff they do this learning curve together. They are able to do it by themselves later. We had some workshops like strategy workshop and customer journey workshops.
I think one thing I really learned is to be mindful of the learning curve of the clients because in this company they realized that they didn’t convert well in the German markets but they didn’t understand the impact of the language on that market. They thought – and they are right – that they have a good product and they thought that this product, it would be enough to attract customers because everybody would see how good the product was. But actually, it’s good to have a good product but you need to explain it with good words, too.
And and I think at the beginning we tried to do too complicated and too well. For instance, for the brand vocabulary, at the beginning with a client that is starting it’s good to keep it short like 15 maximum words, it’s not overwhelming. If you have straight from the start a brand vocabulary with 30 words well, it’s it’s going to be just overwhelming and they’re not going to look at it. You have to provide the toolbox of documents, brand voice, and this type of things that is easily to manage for the clients. Take time to explain. That’s never lost in the long run.
Going cheap to mind the budget
What do you want to do if you want to go cheap? You priorise to invest where it matters most. For instance, it means that you can discuss with the local instead of hiring a local to work with you. Coach internally because it’s more investments internal resources for the clients but on the long run it’s going to be cheaper.
Going cheap with the keyword research, it means that for example you translate with Deepl. You have it through ahref. That’s what I did for the German. Well, I understand German but not like a local-local. And then, to go deeper, I selected the priority words like all of the project words and then I discussed with the local like someone really living in the situation. And that meant that at least the transactional keywords, that were my priority, we discussed them. And maybe the informational keywords we didn’t really discuss all that deep but, you know, priority and budget.
And again for what I call adaptations, because they are not re-translations, we translated with Deepl and then we got them proofreads by a copywriter priorised by page or by section. For example that means that we had more budgets for product page than the about page, that was a little bit less important or that also means that the cluster article meant for the German markets were written in German and for the French market written in French and then it was a low priority adaptation like a really rapid proofreading.
Now you are guessing, six months later how successful was all of this? It was okay. We were happy because the migration there were also technical issues that we had to deal with. It went well. We didn’t lose traffic. We were happy but also they do a lot of branding digital marketing I just exported the two different timeframe and and I took out all brands-related keywords and to have really the informational keywords to know if really because that was the plan, right? They had no informational content. Yes, we have lots more traffic and clicks. It’s better with informational keywords.
What about the conversion? I can’t say because at the moment, I don’t work with the clients. They took the work internally. Again, you know, maybe that’s what you when you coach people too well this is what happens. Is it really all good? I think numbers don’t say at all because for example they had six languages and now they have only four languages. And we implemented three or two and then well you know they never added the two other languages. I think they are like forever three or two now. And also, they didn’t really manage to publish much articles after the relaunch. I would say maybe there was from outside like we didn’t explain well that they need to carry on publishing a few articles every year if they want to keep growing. I think I find it kind of difficult to say a hundred percent that is success or to say, I think there’s a little bit of success and also a little bit of improvements possible there.
Questions, feedbacks and opinions
I think it’s time for questions now and feedbacks. Have you been in similar situations and how did you deal with it?
Büsra: Actually, I have a question. Just imagine someone, Isaline, here from Switzerland, he or she has a chocolate company. I don’t know why but I just wanted chocolate named chocolate product ‘Chocolate.’ Okay and they want to sell their product in Switzerland, in Holland, in USA, in UK, in Turkey, everywhere they can imagine. They have big dreams. But they don’t even have a website and they come to you. And they’re asking you to have them, maybe. What would you suggest them from where to begin actually? I’m just asking about the beginning point because there are a lot of people thinking be with very exciting and big dreams. They were in theory they have everything will be perfect but for this kind of people where should they start?
Isaline: I think they should start with the market research and like what I said at the beginning more thinking what type of market is it? How big is the market? And how ready, how different, how similar is the market to the market that they already know because I expect they already sell the chocolates at least one place before they go international? And also then, think about what types of structure because like if you have different type of TLD end or subfolders, subdomain each they might be pros and cons in each situation but you have to think about the sort of longer run, what is going to be affordable for you? And also I think it would be good to forecast in terms of the number of pages for example. How expensive is it going to be to scale for one language? And what is the like, if you know you have your website in one country, you know basically the return on investment on the traffic that you have. So if you imagine that it costs that much to create the website, how long is it going to take to have the return investments that is going to make enough money to— I’m missing the one English word— that is going to justify the investments that you made in the first place. How long is it going to take for you to sell enough products to actually make a profit from there? I think it would be good to do a little bit of thinking before actually going in lots of languages.
Büsra: I wish they’d come to us before the thinking, before the implement.
Isaline: Yeah, as I said it never happened to me to do this first phase. Mostly, I arrived when there is a mess already and something not working. And then, we have to sort of fix it and optimize it.
Büsra: Adem, you have interesting examples for I guess multi-language websites especially in GeoIP redirection I guess but actually you will talk about it later but—
Adem: Yeah, I will talk about it but yeah like sometimes that can be really messy especially if they are creating this website without any knowledge about SEO and you know that’s that’s always messy for SEO’s tool to solve this problem. And I think, thank you Isaline, I learned a lot about international SEO but also I learned a lot about the best way to do international SEO in Switzerland. They have a really good challenge to solve.
Isaline: Yeah, I suppose I have rarely been on a single language project I think most of my projects are multilingual anyway and I suppose it’s good to gather lots of experience and also have lots of tests of what doesn’t work and what goes wrong and this kind of thing, you know.
Büsra: Oh my god, that just reminded me of a customer. They were they were operating in Turkey and in UK and they just deleted all their Turkish content in Turkey and they just opened this new design website in English. And we asked them why you are doing this and they say that people know us and they will come and find us in English too in turkey. And we tried to tell them the problem but they did not understand it and six months later they come to us and they ask us why we are not taking any traffic from Turkish results. And then I was like this—
Adem: In the meeting, we were acting like, “Oh, why?” We don’t know.
Isaline: That’s a good example of a messy situation when people call you to fix something.
Büsra: And one customer because of its GeoIP redirection problem, there is a Turkish alternative of the website but whenever we try to search for the branded items – because their brand topic was higher than number and traffic – we couldn’t land into our Turkish website in Turkish results. This was another interesting a case-in-case for us to solve.
Büsra: Well, thank you Isaline, by the way. This was a brilliant presentation on multinational SEO, I guess because most of the time people think that serving in different languages, trying to sell a product in different languages in technical part, I’m saying this it’s all about just opening a website in different language options and that’s all. I’m ready. I’m just going to Google translate everything and I will do that. And there are some technical aspects of it like the href lang stuff, the CDN usage, et cetera because the Page Experience. This is also important part of our day-to-day because of Page Experience Algorithm. And of course, content because cultures are different and most of the people do not tend to understand that but that was a really brilliant strategy and a really brilliant case study in terms of an insurance company. It’s really interesting to listen to it.
Isaline: Oh, thanks a lot. I mean, I I tried my best. As I said, I’m more used to being the host being at your place it was a very, very fun for me to try to gather my thoughts in something that I could easily share. Thanks for giving me this opportunity.
Büsra: You’re welcome, I’m so happy to be with you here. And I have a final question for you actually. So people listen to you and they will watch this recording after that but that’s maybe they may ask for some good sources for multinational SEO, do you have any suggestion for that?
Isaline: Oh, yeah. I have a slide with additional resources. So this are some of the things I discussed today. I think once I’ve finished talking and you start talking again, I can share the links that I have here in the slides. So they are interesting reads. Of course, there are lots lots of other reads. And if you have any question, you can reach me on Twitter and I’m happy to answer, of course.
Büsra: Thank you so much, Isaline. And we will also share this deck with you under the description section of the YouTube and you can find that sources there, too. And thank you so much Isaline.
–> The presentation of Büsra and Adem is not transcripted here. I felt I had the right to create a transcript for my part of the presentation only
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