Localization and SEO for newbies

By now, you should know that according to the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), localization is the process of adapting a product or service to a specific locale. Some of the things to consider when localizing a product to a particular market are language, culture, tradition, religion, and legal requirements.

Meanwhile, Google defines SEO as the practice of including content on your site that has the potential to improve your site’s visibility to search engines and their users. So how and when do these two come together? That is where ISEO – or international SEO – comes into place. In fact, ISEO stands for applying the principles of SEO and many others to localized websites.

What is ISEO or international SEO?

In the Profile of an SEO Expert TCLoc blog post from 2017, Chris RaulfSEO expert and TCLoc instructor – explains: “[…] If you don’t optimize your content for searches, it’s just a billboard for informational purposes. It’s so applicable to [language service providers], but not many people get it. They could start to offer ISEO as a service, which would set them apart from other service providers and generate more business.”

As Mr. Raulf mentions, SEO plays a significant role in a business’s success. A better position in the search results not only positively influences a company’s sales but also increases brand awareness. Therefore, optimizing your SEO for other countries and languages only make sense if you are introducing your product – or service – to a new international market, which is exactly what ISEO is for.

ISEO and web localization go together

When you’re building your ISEO strategy, website localization is extremely valuable, since customers will stay longer on a site that caters to them. The overall goal is to offer your customer a more native user experience and to make it easier for them to find and remember you.

Some of the many aspects to take into account when localizing a site are units of measurement, local currency, payment methods available, and date and time formats. You can find more details on the ways your website can be localized here: The 5 Levels of Website Localization

To learn more about the technical aspect of these processes coming together, please check this post: Website Localization Best Practices: Go International!

SEO and localization are actually quite connected after all, right? Check the rest of the TCLoc Master’s Degree Curriculum here.

In a globalized world, foreign market outreach should always be a consideration. Despite the surge in global interconnectivity, companies today still suffer from archaic approaches to expansion, which do not recognize the potential of international audiences.

In general, a website is a company’s most valuable platform, functioning as a virtual storefront and a doorway to the world’s untapped markets. Therefore, if there is any desire to expand and reach new audiences, one should design and employ an international SEO strategy.

What Is International SEO?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It is an online marketing strategy useful for designing one’s website to appear in the top search engine results. Contrary to a Search Engine Advertising (SEA) strategy, where entities pay to have their advertisements prioritized, SEO relies on organic results. This means that, with SEO, companies optimize their website content based on popular keywords that are searched by users.

Local SEO is a website design approach that places advertising focus on a particular  market. If a corporation has French origins, a focus on local SEO will drive the company to gravitate towards keyword searches specific to France. With that said, as one incorporates certain keywords into a website, they might find it difficult to rank well on search results depending on the competitiveness of either the keywords or general market. To account for this, international SEO provides an opportunity to experiment with multiple markets and ultimately boost traffic.

International SEO brings SEO optimization to a new level, opening a company to even wider audiences. In our example, there is an entire world outside of France with various other cultures and markets to reach. Choosing to implement an international SEO strategy could quickly develop a company’s presence on the international web, therefore, generating significantly more traffic and even more conversion. 

With international SEO, there might also be less competition abroad, making it easier to rank well on search engine results for keywords specific to a given market. Therefore, with a site optimized for international SEO, users from different countries will be able to find one’s company through a search in their native language. Optimizing for international audiences is key, and it is exactly how companies can expect to increase their traffic. The broader a target audience, the more likely people are to encounter the website.

What Should I Know About Going Global

SEO optimization is not done in a day, nor is it without cost. Going global needs resources. In addition to this, keep in mind that it is a significant undertaking that can never be finished– it must be continuously maintained.

To launch the internationalization of a website, one will need:

  • Media developers (native speakers) to continuously create new content and have it translated.
  • Web developers in order to optimize the technical aspects that will be discussed below.

International SEO: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Certainly, this is a complicated undertaking that is not necessarily adapted to every company or type of market. So, how does one know if they should expand their market abroad?

Refer to two questions:

  • Is there an interest in expanding to foreign audiences? Do some market research.
  • Are there sufficient resources to accomplish this? Check prices for freelance translators, media creators, and content writers on dedicated platforms, such as Malt.

If the answer for both questions is “yes,” then do not lose out on a great opportunity. Take the plunge!

Choosing The Right Markets

Selecting new target markets is the immediate step forward if deciding to expand globally.

To determine the most promising audience, refer to specialized tools that analyze market data. Using these, companies should be searching for foreign locations where people browse their website. For example, an English-focused website might detect English search queries from Germany. In this instance, Germany then presents itself as an interesting target market. The company in question should consider developing a German version of the website to encourage even more traffic. If this method is too reliant on external factors, companies should perform research on keywords for different countries, creating an overview of the general interests in their markets. As this research is continued, the SEO difficulty will be indicative of the market competitiveness. To develop a broader understanding of market availability, check out some of the world’s most widely used languages on the internet like Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, or Japanese.

Sometimes, companies have to decide between choosing a target country or a target language. This all depends on the type of market being pursued. A corporation producing cups stylized with French captions might find its product marketable to not only French customers, but also Canadian or Belgian ones too. In this case, it can target the French language itself, and not just France. 

As for whether you should target a country or a language: it depends. Some products may be of interest to speakers of a particular language anywhere in the world. Others may only be of interest in certain countries. Just note that the technical method to identify the language of your site will be different in each case (we’ll look at this in the last part of the article).

How To Develop International SEO

Localize Your Website: The International Leap

The first step in internationalizing a site is to localize it for foreign audiences. With that said, if a company decides to target an entire language, culturally adapting it for each dialect could be difficult. In this scenario, proficient translators are recommended to navigate the nuances of each culture’s language.

In moving forward with a localization process, a company should contact a Language Service Provider (LSP) when specific cultural audiences have been selected. After the source website has been completed, it is then time for the globalizing or internationalizing phase. Depending on the languages chosen for translation, the size of characters and words can vary greatly and interfere with the design of a website. Therefore, be open to adapting the interface for multilingualism if necessary. In addition, take into account the usual interface features and differing measurement units of each country. Offer users from each culture a different version of the website, uniquely adapted in layout, colors, design, images, etc.

What About SEO?

Once the content has been translated, the process arrives at the heart of international SEO. It is time for the material to be optimized for search engine results. With this task, determine the most popular search engine for the target country. Even if Google remains the general world leader, it is not always the primary option around the globe. In Russia, Yandex dominates the market, and in China, Baidu is the leader.

Follow the foundational SEO rules, but this time, curated for the target country. This means observing and applying the most popular keywords, creating valuable, relevant content, and offering links to any translated sites. Do not forget to adapt the links after translation too! A company might even benefit by creating new content for unique versions of its website.

If there are multiple dialects, i.e. British-English or American-English, use Google’s Keyword Planner or Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest for keyword research regarding specific countries. More often than not, nations do not share the same search habits and expressions. If targeting a specific language rather than a country, focus keyword research on the country that holds the most speakers.

Once the work is done, maintain the different versions of the website. The effort of globalizing a domain is fruitless without sufficient upkeep. Indeed, if new content is added to the original site, it will have to be translated. Additionally, as mentioned before, it is more effective if you can develop unique content dedicated to each market. So, keep in touch with those essential localizers and translators!

The Right URL

Finally, for a website to be correctly identified by both users and bots, it must be represented by its language. There are several ways to ensure this, but this article will only explain the two most common.

The first method involves assigning a site to each language using different ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domain). For example, “mywebsite.fr” would be selected to represent the French site and “mywebsite.it” would be representative of the Italian site. This solution is the most efficient but also the most expensive and strenuous to maintain. It is only recommended for large companies that can afford to host one website per country. Of course, it also only applies if you are targeting specific countries, and not languages.

The second solution is more affordable and allows the company to use a single site for its multilingual versions. This solution is inexpensive and easy to design. In your website code, simply integrate the “hreflang” attribute of the link tag in the <head> section of the html code:

With this method, a “subdirectory” will be added to the website. As the browser identifies the user’s preferred language, the site will automatically redirect them to the appropriate version.

However, web developers should avoid redirecting users needlessly. In some situations, bots become an issue. For example, a Spanish native-speaker located in the US might be redirected due to the server of use being localized in an English-speaking nation. Against the user’s will, bots might force them to view the English site. Don’t forget to mention this potential to the project’s developers.

International SEO is more than having a site translated and waiting for traffic to arrive. In its entirety, it is a much more intentional and detailed process that holds benefits that every company should consider.

If you want to learn more about the nuances of globalization and internationalization, you can do so on TCLoc’s website by clicking here for more great articles.

Edited by Cameron Van.

If you’re somewhat familiar with SEO, you’ve probably heard of title tags. Understanding these is critical for your SEO strategy. What are title tags and how can you best optimize them? Discover why SEO title tags are important and learn some best practices! 

Title Tags: What Are They?

A title tag is an HTML element that expresses the title of a web page. It can be read by people looking for something on the Internet, as well as by robots. In an HTML code, the <title> tag can be found in the <head>. The title appears in: 

  • the browser tab
  • the browser bookmark 
  • search engine results
  • social media post previews.

Title tags are important for many reasons. First, they help search engines understand what your page is about and get an overview of its content. This helps them identify the most appropriate pages for different search queries. Second, they also help users. They give a brief preview of your page’s content and help them decide whether your page is relevant to them. Remember that you don’t want just anyone to click on your page. If someone is misled by your page title and doesn’t find what they’re looking for, they will most likely leave. This will increase your site’s bounce rate, which will negatively affect your SEO. Providing accurate and precise information is key, and a good title is part of that.

SEO Title Tags and Google

We’ve now established that SEO title tags are important in your SEO strategy. However, if you’re already using them, you may have realized that sometimes, your title tag is different from the one that appears on the search result. That happens especially with Google. Let’s look at an example. One of the articles on our blog is entitled “Get the Most out of Your Translation Agency”. If you look at  our code, you can see that we used the meta title “Things to keep in mind when hiring a translation agency”. However, Google changed the title in the SERP:

Whereas Ecosia applied our meta title:

So what does that mean? Google makes title changes if it thinks that your title tag is not relevant enough to the target audience. This has been the case for a long time. However, since last summer that process has evolved. Google has made some major updates, and one of them directly affects SEO title tags.

Google may generate a new title to add useful information (such as a brand name) if the algorithm finds your title tag unhelpful or illegible.

Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, explains:

“We will never quit rewriting titles. We’ve seen so many sites whose titles really suck.  A lot of sites have no title; a lot of sites have a title saying “Top Page”. In fact, Google almost always rewrites titles. We couldn’t provide useful results to our users if we quit rewriting titles. Experiments showed us users preferred written titles. So, we’ll continue to write titles.”

Is It Still Worth Optimizing Your Title Tags? 

If Google is going to change the title anyway, is it still necessary to add and optimize meta title tags? According to Google’s webmaster guidelines, optimizing <title> elements is important as they need to be “descriptive, specific, and accurate”. Also, even if Google rewrites the title tag, it doesn’t get rid of the title tag information. It is still extremely useful information that allows search engines to understand what your page is about.

What’s more, not every search engine rewrites title tags, as you can see in our example above. While the SEO title tag is not a deciding factor for your ranking, optimizing your title is still best practice. 

SEO Title Tags: Best Practices

In its guidelines, Google advises writing a high-quality title text on your page. Here are a few best practices for writing good SEO title tags.

Write Unique Content

To stand out and provide valuable information, every page on your website has to use a different meta title. This will make it easier for users and search engine bots to differentiate your pages and understand their content. 

Pay Attention to the Length

An SEO title that is too long may be truncated at the end, so you might risk losing some important information. There are actually no character limits to your title tag, but best practice determines a 60-character limit, including spaces. Strictly speaking, the limit is actually 600px as some characters take up more space than others. 60 characters is generally a safe average, but you can also use some SEO preview tools to help you.

Include a Relevant Keyword and Description

Title tags are important to search engines, so your keyword should appear at the beginning of your title. However, you also need to avoid keyword stuffing, which may lead to Google rewriting your title. Your keyword also needs to be relevant and match your content. Your description needs to be informative and concise as you have a limited amount of characters.

A good SEO title tag is one element among many. Factors like content, quality, headlines, keywords, responsiveness and user experience are all essential for a good SEO strategy. Optimizing your SEO performance takes into account a lot of factors and the meta title is just one piece in the puzzle.

To learn more about SEO and get started, check out some of our other articles on this subject! 

SEO becomes more and more important in a localization process. On the border between digital marketing and localization, SEO is a set of techniques needed to reach your audience and appear in the top search engine results.

But its use is much more complex than simply adding keywords to your content. Localization management can become a strain on your project management team without proper organization. Here are our suggested techniques for building your strategy.

The SEO approach

When you run a business on the web, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects to think about. It could be defined as the process of increasing the traffic to a website using organic search results. To do that, you will work on the keywords and relevance of the website content in order to increase the quality traffic on your webpages because users tend to visit websites that are closely related to their targeted search queries.

Most of the time, the traffic will come from people residing in your area. But you might want to target global traffic. It is therefore very important to identify each target locale and attract local consumers in those markets. Let’s discuss how SEO could be integrated into your localization process.

How to use SEO in a localization process ?

Simply translating your website into other languages will not guarantee it achieves good rankings in the local search results of your target markets. That’s why integrating SEO in the localization process is really important.

Translating keywords directly does not work, because keywords are the fruit of a language, and are rooted in the local culture. Their relevance will vary from country to country. You will have to do some research to identify the highest searched and most lucrative keywords that your website should contain according to your target audience, so that you rank highly in major search engines.

Some of the standard localization tools can be used to streamline the process that includes content optimization. For example, Translation Memories (TM) could help you to have a clearer view of what has been changed in the optimization process and to track keywords performances.

Titles, meta descriptions, URLs and alternative text tags should not be neglected either. The title is the first thing anyone sees when searching for something on the Web. That’s why it needs to be accurate and interesting according to the local culture of your target audience. It’s not necessarily going to be the same title as the original article. A simple translation is often not enough. Well-written and catchy meta descriptions are more likely to attract readers. Also, you have to make sure that your URLs contain keywords and be careful not to make them too long.

Furthermore, let’s not forget that colors and images go hand in hand with the editorial strategy. Graphic standards can vary enormously from one culture to another: for example, a site will not have the same look if it addresses an Asian audience or if it targets Western sites. What seems commonplace or obvious in one culture can take on a completely different meaning in another.

All in all, it is important to understand that the translation of your site alone will not be enough to be well positioned on the various search engines according to the countries you are targeting. You have to ask yourself these questions: should 100% of the content of my site be translated? Do I need to adapt certain parts of the site to fit the local culture? Then, once the content is adapted to the audience, you can use the different SEO techniques suggested above to improve your SEO ranking.

How will SEO and localization techniques evolve in the future?

In the future, more importance will be given to the mobile version of your site rather than the desktop version. It is therefore important to optimize with a focus on mobile.

On the other hand, having a responsive site will not be enough to satisfy the search engines. It will be necessary to clean up the pages of the site and make the content stand out. Banners, pop-ups and sliders will be less appreciated and should be limited.

In terms of localization, it will be necessary to research the usage habits of your target audience in order to improve their user experience. The versions of your site may be completely different visually.

We can also imagine that in a few years, voice search will have become more important. Voice searches are often longer than simple keywords, so it is possible that article titles will have to be modified to attract more people.

Companies will have to focus on so-called “long tail” phrases rather than short keywords and put even more emphasis on interrogative forms.

This study shows us that SEO and localization techniques are still evolving. As the web and new technologies change, SEO and localization professionals will have to constantly adapt to new market requirements. 

And you, what do you think about integrating SEO in your localization process? Do not hesitate to share your thoughts below and read our other articles about SEO and localization!

Do you want to sell a product or service or collect more subscribers? A landing page will definitely help you to reach this goal. But how can you make users land on your landing page? It is actually pretty simple: when users click on a search engine optimized search result or on a link you provide them in an advertising e-mail or in a social media marketing campaign, they will be redirected to your landing page.

Improve your online marketing: Create a landing page

A landing page is a powerful online marketing tool. Use landing pages for announcing special offers, introducing products to your visitors (no more than one product per landing page) or advertising an event, such as a webinar. Why? Instead of making your potential customers land on any existing page of your website where they might get distracted by irrelevant items, such as a navigation menu, you will create this special page for them.

Essential landing page content

A great landing page only contains the essential. Aside from risking to slow down your page’s loading speed, too many elements distract visitors from the actual product you are advertising. Here are the 4 essential content elements of a landing page.

  1. The Header
    What do you want your visitors to know? Put your main message in a header that stands out visually and that is written in simple and unambiguous language. Including your main keywords in the header is crucial, not only for search engine optimization purposes but also because visitors will look at the header first — and at the pictures. We will get to that.
  2. The Call-To-Action
    The Call-To-Action (CTA) is the most important part of your landing page: tell your visitors what you want them to do. Keep in mind that your CTA should be short and aiming at a single goal, not more. Your CTA could be a button like “Try for free”, “Sign Up”, “Download Demo”, or “Shop Now”. You can use CTA-buttons several times throughout the page, but make sure they focus on your one objective. If you will be using any forms or fields, such as an e-mail address field for newsletter subscription, you should also keep the text as short as possible.
  3. The Pictures
    Pictures usually get most of the attention – and sometimes all the attention there is. So, you will want to emphasize your CTA by using emotional pictures that accurately represent the subject matter you want to promote: If the pictures explain your product/service, it’s perfect!
emphasize your CTA with emotional pictures
  1. The Explanation
    Provide your visitors with some more details on your product/service in an explanatory section to fully convince them: describe it, emphasizing its benefits and any special offers.
    Of all the texts on your landing page, this section will be the longest. Still, try to keep it short: you do not want to overstrain your potential customers’ attention span. Quality content is key to evoke their desire to buy your product. Make the explanation easy to read by structuring it in small sections. You are almost done! Now top it off with a picture that shows a solution to the visitor’s problem and repeat your CTA with a clickable element. That’s it!

After reading the explanation, it should be clear to anyone what you are promoting. If you did everything right, your landing page visitors have become potential customers!

Now you know everything you need to create great landing page content! But what SEO tricks can you use to make more users land on your landing page in the first place? And how can you localize your page in order to go international and attract users in other countries? The SEO and Localization courses of the University of Strasburg’s TCLoc Master’s program are a great opportunity to learn how to technically optimize and localize web pages!

Sounds interesting? Learn more or apply for the TCLoc Master’s program.

SEO Matters

You are about to get started with your blog, you know your target audience, and you want to seriously invest your time and energy in this —it can even be a side business for you in the future. That’s already a great start, but how will you make sure that your voice will be heard and your blog will be found on the first page of organic search results in this internet jungle? Do you know how to gear yourself up so your target audience selects you among many other choices? In other words, do you know how to write SEO-friendly blog posts?

If you are not so sure how to answer these questions, think of something like having prepared a delicious meal but not having invited any friends to eat it. Yes, you need to put yourself out there, but you also need to reach out so people can get a taste of what you have to offer to them. 

A study shows that on average 71.33% of searches result in an organic click on the first page of the Google search results. Pages two and three only get 5.59% of the clicks. Where do you want to be found?

Search Engine Optimization is the inevitable tool here so your blog can end up on the first page of the organic search results, that is natural results, not containing ads.

Below I will share some useful tips that I learned while studying for the TCLoc Master’s Program and doing research. My purpose here is to provide guidelines on how to write SEO-friendly blog posts assuming you already have some basic knowledge of SEO terms and how Google operates.

Get a Good Web Host and SEO Plugins

You want to launch your blog with a flexible and reliable web host but you are a little confused about choosing one. If you are serious about your blog getting recognized and ranked higher by Google, experts say that you need to be aware that free web hosts might also come along with risks such as limited functionalities, less server space, no security, unwanted ads, a frequent shutdown of your blog, limited technical support, no guarantee for the availability of your blog, changing terms and conditions without prior notice and so on. 

There are countless valuable articles comparing web hosts, which you can also read yourself. My general impression from those articles is that WordPress Bluehost looks like the number one recommended web host. WordPress also has a very popular SEO plugin called Yoast that offers a rich variety of SEO functionalities and makes you avoid all the above-mentioned risks while enabling Google to rank you higher. 

While I don’t aim to promote any tool here, I suggest that you at least take this tool as a touchstone when choosing your web host. 

Secure Your Blog 

“Your connection is not private” is the warning you get sometimes when you attempt to enter some websites. Why? Because they don’t have a secure protocol. It is called HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and it should precede the web address instead of HTTP. 

If your blog does not provide a secure protocol, when your visitors log in or pay for some services on your blog, their private information, such as their names, or credit card numbers are transmitted to your website in an un-encrypted way and can be viewed by any potential attacker. This is the last thing you want:, to put your visitors at risk and make their privacy vulnerable. 

According to the Google guidelines, you must obtain an SSL security certificate and, when you have it,  Google will reward you by ranking you higher. The choice of a reliable web host also becomes important here – you can actually obtain those SSL certificates for free 

Aim for User Intent with The Right Keyword 

You must think one step ahead and put yourself into the shoes of your target audience to predict their search intent so you can lead them to your site, luckily you don’t need to be a precog for that. 

Simply, aim to use the right keywords in your blog posts that your potential visitors will type so they can reach you. The easiest and cheapest method is firstly entering your target keywords in the Google search browser and checking the autocompletion predictions to enrich your options. Secondly, you can find the “People also search for” box in Google’s results page so you get more insights about user intent. Thirdly, you can scroll to the bottom of the first page and review the “Searches related to” section that can offer alternative keywords. 

Generally, it is advised to use long-tail keywords, which are conversational phrases consisting of three or more words. As these keywords are more specific and targeted to your audience, they tend to have lower search volumes and are less competitive. Long-tail keywords are also used in voice search, which is a growing tendency among younger people.  

You can also profit from available tools on the Internet to help you understand how your keywords trend and what search volumes they have. Some tools are free, some require subscriptions and limited trials within a certain period of time. You can get some hints reading about such tools in this article from Ahrefs. There are many other similar tools out there such as Moz, SERPSTAT, SEMRush, Ubersuggest.

Make your Content Search Engine Optimized

Good content and SEO serve one another and are inseparable. While good quality content, authenticity, and empathy are essential to grab the attention of your readers, so is the application of an honest SEO strategy, a prerequisite for the Google Search Engine to rank you higher

Please read Google’s SEO guidelines before you publish your blog online.

There are many important parameters for the SEO optimization of your content such as:

  • Keep your title tag at a certain length (between 50 – 60 characters), containing your main target SEO keyword or phrase. 
  • Keep your meta description at a certain length (between 150 – 160 characters), which should contain your main target SEO phrase so it can appear under your title in the Google Search Results Page and your target audience can directly see what you can offer.
  • Use H1, H2 and H3 headings so it does not only give a good structure and increase the readability of your blog posts but also enables Google to scan your blog more easily. Add your keywords in your headings if relevant. 
  • Use short URLs that contain your keywords separated with a dash.
  • Use images with alt tags (or alt text, meaning alternative text) so that not only visually impaired people can read your article but also your blog is visible to Google robots. Besides, it is also helpful because a broken image will be replaced with the alternative text.
  • Put an overview of your subheadings at the beginning of your blog posts.
  • Use the most important keyword in the first paragraph of your blog post and spread the rest of your keywords throughout your content.
  • Keep your blog post long enough so Google doesn’t think you have thin content.
  • Do not write an overkill of keywords unnecessarily.
  • Avoid grammatical and spelling errors (you can add Grammarly as an extension to Google Chrome).
  • Use bold or italics where you want to emphasize some words.
  • Include a Call to Action such as asking your reader to download a document, view a webinar, read a related article, share on social media, etc.
  • Add buttons for social media so that your readers can share your blog easily and readily.
  • Check the mobile-friendliness of your blog and follow Google’sthe suggestions on how to fix the issues. Make sure you have a good score so Google can rank you higher. There are also specific WordPress plugins for that.
  • Check the speed of your website and follow Google’s suggestions on how to fix the issues.
  • Register your domain in the Google Search Console and use this tool to monitor how you are performing in Google Search.
  • Sign up for Google Analytics to monitor how many visits you receive, where your visitors come from, how long they stay on your page, which websites refer to your blog, how you can improve the speed and mobile-friendliness of your blog, etc.  
  • Use the Google Structured Data Markup Helper to mark up your blog posts, such as the title of the article, the name of the author, the date it is published, the date of the events, etc. This helps Google understand the data on your blog and makes it possible that those markups appear as rich snippets in search result pages. 
  • When you link to other web pages, make sure that the anchor text of those links is related to what you are referring to.

Build Links and Promote Your Blog

Your blog has great content but if you don’t add relevant links, it will be impossible for Google robots to index and rank it, therefore no one will find you. Those links, whether internal or external, help Google understand your content and lead your readers to relevant sources of information. No wonder it is called the World Wide Web, right?

Backlinks are one of the most important rank factors of Google as they show the confidence of those who refer to your blog. When someone refers to your blog with an external link, then you have a backlink from them. When you refer to another website on your blog post with an external link, that website has a backlink from you. Aim for at least one high-quality and relevant external link in your blog, which should be reputable.

When you first start blogging, it’ll be too soon to build internal links from your blog but the more you write, the more you’ll be able to guide your reader to your other relevant blog posts and connect those relevant contents. It is advised to write one internal link per 100 words.

Surely as a beginner, you can imagine that backlinks won’t come out of thin air. There are several methods to earn backlinks by being active on several platforms:

Engage your target audience, ask them to subscribe to your blog so you can send them email newsletters, give them the opportunity to leave comments, suggestions, criticisms. Show that you care about your readers by being responsive.  

Update your blog regularly, add new and recent information, and re-share it. 

Sometimes your blog can receive an unexpected amount of backlinks as a result of getting hacked, therefore you need to regularly monitor your backlinks using Google Search Console. You can also disavow the low-quality or spam backlinks that you don’t want to receive. 

Get Started

SEO is an ocean and this article is just touching the surface. Go dig deeper to explore this amazing world to serve you to increase organic traffic to your blog posts and to reach out to your target audience. 

If you want to learn from a professional, check this SEO training course from our instructor Chris Raulf. 

You can also read further interesting articles on SEO on the TCLoc Master’s blog.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and general isolation, many owners of online businesses have asked themselves what to do? Here are some explanations of what changes COVID-19 brought and how it affects SEO strategy for your business.

This pandemic has already shaken the world’s economy significantly for over a year. Let’s look at the shares of well-known companies: Apple — one of the leaders of the global information market and Netflix — the largest online streaming service. We see a 22.21% increase for Netflix and a 12.63% decline for Apple. Why? During the period of self-isolation, people did not have much to do, so they spent time watching TV series and various TV shows on popular streaming.

Apple and Netflix shares during spring quarantine in 2020
Apple and Netflix shares during quarantine in April 2020

Or let’s take Disney — the largest global conglomerate with a large offline component, and Nintendo — Japan’s iconic console and game corporation. Last year, in the same period, Nintendo experienced a 15.79% growth compared to a 26.57% drop for Disney. Why was Nintendo growing so fast? The answer is simple: everyone’s favorite game — Animal Crossing New Horizons — was released on 20th March 2020. Because of that, many people started buying up consoles to play the game and have fun during isolation. A month after the game’s release, it was still difficult to buy a Nintendo Switch. They were just out of stock, and if they were available, the shops were selling them for double the price.

Overview of Welt Disney and Nintendo shares during spring quarantine in 2020
Walt Disney and Nintendo shares during spring quarantine in 2020

What about now?

The pandemic still being on the row, people have had to get used to it and live with it. After one year, the situation changed quite a lot: Netflix shares saw a 12.72%% decrease and Apple a 6.13% decrease. The same happened to Disney and Nintendo, which at April 26th had a 3.46% decrease and an 8.61% decrease, respectively. 

Overview of Apple, Netflix, Walt Disney and Nintendo shares in April 2021
Apple, Netflix, Walt Disney and Nintendo shares in April 2021

Businesses are sensitive to changes in the economy, so they must be flexible, ready for changes. Efficiency, clarity, and risk management are the main tasks of a business.

What changes has COVID-19 brought around and how does it affect your SEO business strategy?

  1. People tend to leave their homes less often. Most of them have switched to remote work.
  2. People have more free time.
  3. The fields of online streaming, delivery, and training have increased in demand.
  4. Offline businesses suffer the most: shops (not grocery stores), restaurants, movies, gyms … Most buildings with high concentrations of people are closed.

In the case of SEO, this may only affect businesses that have a large offline income. Such businesses will of course reduce all advertising activity in general (and that is where they are wrong). Unlike PPC marketing, SEO is a continuous process. It starts showing results after some time. You should not forget that new players will enter the arena during quarantine and crisis, to take the places of those who have fallen behind. Therefore, SEO should run at full speed!

What should businesses do during a pandemic situation in terms of SEO and e-marketing?

First, you should not think of COVID-19 as a threat. On the contrary, this pandemic opens up new business opportunities. You must act quickly.

  1. Audit your products
    Analyze your products to identify which product groups are more popular during this period among your target audience. Determine which ones you can provide through home delivery. And yes, inform, by all means, inform! Let your regular customers know you are around, invite them to stick with your brand. Keep an eye on demand and adapt.
  2. Analyze the target audience
    What are they looking for during quarantine and how? “Help” users go to your site to find what they are looking for.
  3. Answer your customers even faster
    During quarantine, there are likely to be problems with delivery times and the functioning of the call center services. Hence the likely appearance of negative comments on the site. Answer them as quickly as possible, trying to level out any discontent. Choose employees who will monitor daily feedback about the company on social networks and on your website.
  4. Leverage local SEO
    Since there are restrictions on travel and unnecessary movement, you can leverage local SEO. Consumers need to use services and products in their vicinity. For example, people working from home are likely to order food from local restaurants that can deliver it to their homes or that allow for a drive-thru. During quarantine, people are looking for different things and in different ways. So, there are specific words that are added to requests, like: “with delivery”, “cheap”, “available”, etc.
  5. Create engaging content
    Don’t stop. For the next few months, more and more people will be spending time at home. To support your audience, make your content more encouraging and inspiring. Now is the time to help your clients escape through virtual reality.

Evaluate your financial possibilities wisely. Think, considering possible pessimistic scenarios, will you have enough resources? If not, it is better to wait and keep SEO to the minimum necessary for business survival.

A crisis is always a growth opportunity for those who are strong, let’s join them!

If you found this article interesting or useful, be sure to read more of our students fascinating insights into the World Wide Web.

In a world where Google Penguin is constantly watching you, getting backlinks can get quite complicated. However, as any SEO expert knows, these links are essential to optimized content and can massively improve your online visibility. Thanks to guest blogging, a netlinking strategy, you can make it! Here is what you need to know… 

A Post-Google Penguin World

First things first, let’s have a quick reminder! After the appearance of Google Panda – which was launched in 2011 to penalize low-quality websites – a new algorithm update was introduced to the world in 2012. Name: Google Penguin (aka the “webspam algorithm update”). Aim: to catch websites deemed to be using inappropriate SEO strategies including spamdexing and excessive netlinking. 

Yet, linking strategies are necessary to boost your SEO! As a consequence, all you need to know is how to use them while respecting Google’s general guidelines. In order to do so, your permanent goal must be to focus on quality rather than quantity and, above all, to think of your audience first. Indeed, if there is one thing that Google appreciates, it is relevance.

Guest Blogging

What is It?

Just like content localization, guest blogging can allow you to reach a wider audience. But what is it exactly? Guest blogging is a method that can be used by any owner of a blog or website containing an article section. It simply consists in writing content for other similar blogs. Thanks to guest blogging, you can expand your readers, improve your ranking and attract new people to your website. You are in fact creating your own backlinks. 

However, you need to respect some principles because – yes – low-quality guest blogging is a thing too. 

How to Avoid Penalties?

Here are some rules to prevent your guest posts from being irrelevant:

Guest Blogging: mutual interest is key!
  • Respect the editorial policy of the host website. In order to do so, choose a site that already has an audience who could be interested in the content you are offering on your own blog. A high-quality guest blogging campaign is all about mutual interest. 
  • Check the content quality of the other website beforehand so that your guest post matches with your usual standards and values. Writing skills always matter.  
  • Create content that has an added value. Once again, the target audience has to be your priority. The aim is not to use them to improve your SEO but to interest them. Google Penguin, remember? 
  • Choose to write about a specific theme rather than just introducing your company. Your content really needs to correspond with what the host website offers. Moreover, if you multiply guest posts, they need to be different and always relevant. If they are too repetitive, you will be accused of spamming. 

Do not hesitate to exchange with the other site’s webmaster in order to create a true collaboration that makes sense. 

You now know the fundamentals of guest blogging and how to use it. But we’ll have to see what Google is planning next and what impact it will have on blogging. In the meantime, we can discuss all this in the comment section below!

Search experience optimization (SXO) is a popular topic that has emerged as a necessary consequence of our surfing habits. It merges two disciplines that we don’t necessarily associate, user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO). Although SEO is as old as the first website, search engines are constantly evolving, and SXO is the next step in that evolution. However, people may still have a hard time figuring out what SXO is really about. Let’s discover more about this practice.

What is SXO? 

Search experience optimization, as the name suggests, optimizes the search experience by making it easy for a search engine to understand the content of a web page so that it will be well and appropriately ranked. Unlike this “classic” definition of SEO, the priority now is no longer the search engine but the user. This is where UX comes in. All users want is to find quick and relevant answers to their queries. And all businesses want is to create a conversion. SXO is where these two goals coincide.

Reminder: what are SEO and UX? 

So, what does SEO have to do with the user experience? As a reminder, search engine optimization includes all the practices that aim to improve a website’s ranking  on search engines. It gives visibility to a website and its activity. 

UX refers to the user experience and the goal to make the user’s journey across an interface as pleasant and efficient as possible. This way, it’s easier to build customer loyalty and users are more likely to make a purchase, subscribe, share, etc.—with help from the famous Call to Action button.  UX is often associated with design

How to combine SEO and UX?

By combining these two disciplines, the basic principles of SEO are used to improve the user’s experience, making navigation across the website as intuitive as possible and leading to the desired conversion. That way, your site is both well ranked and effective. So, how do we do it?

It all starts with keyword optimization. Standard SEO principles apply, so specific, relevant words are used in strategic places (such as the meta description), which facilitates the search. In terms of UX, however, keywords should also flow seamlessly with the rest of the content and not sound robotic when you read the content out loud. Furthermore, keywords must reflect the target audience, not just in relevance but in relatability, using language that is familiar to them and that corresponds to the intent behind their search.

Next, let’s think about the link building strategy, which aims to acquire more  backlinks. Links are one of the pillars of effective SEO. But their logic and quality also play a role in creating a good user experience. We have to think about their placement and appearance as well. If a link is strategically placed so that it’s visible and attractive, users are more likely to click on it. 

While there are many other ways to achieve efficient SXO, such as a website’s responsive aspect, as a general rule, websites should always be designed from the perspective of the user. Google is constantly refining its algorithms and tends to privilege user-oriented websites. “User-oriented websites” means quality content with quality SEO that is also mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and fast (as explained in an article on the CAWEB master’s blog). 

Well-known sites, such as Rankwatch, agree with the importance of UX for effective SEO. However, the idea of SXO sometimes incites criticism.

Why is SXO debated?

Since its arrival, SXO has been criticized for several reasons, but one of the main debates is about the relationship between search engine optimization and search experience optimization: is SXO the new SEO or just a component of it? Opinions differ. Some people believe that search experience optimization is already a part of basic SEO principles and has been for a long time. In that case, SXO is nothing more than a specificity of SEO and not a revolutionary idea some claim it to be. 

Whether it’s SEO’s successor or just a colleague, search experience optimization is a very valuable practice for a business’ digital strategy. Satisfying users will encourage them to come back as well as share, thus generating more traffic and improving your website’s ranking.  So, whether you’ve already adopted it or not, search experience optimization should definitely be a priority! 

What do you think about SXO? Is it a new revolutionary idea or just SEO with a different name? Let us know in the comments! Looking for more information about SEO or the web in general? You can check out the other articles on our blog. Also, if you liked this article, don’t forget to share it! 

Disclaimer: Google, as well as many other search engines uses complex algorithms based on thousands of different criteria that can change at any moment. This guide cannot ensure that you find yourself at the top of page one on a Google search engine results page (SERP). However, it will provide you with some basics in natural SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), as well as give your site the best possible chance of succeeding in the long term for no extra cost than a few hours of your time.

Congratulations! You’ve just got your new website up and running. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for it to get a page one ranking on google. Sounds easy right? Well, you might be surprised to know that in 2019, your site is in competition with no less than 1.8 BILLION other websites out there. This means that search engines are extremely selective about what kind of content they display on their search engine results pages (SERP). But fear not, this article will arm you with some of the most sure-fire ways to make your site as visible as possible without emptying your wallet in the process.

TCLoc Natural SEO Tips 2019

How does a Search engine work?

It’s important to understand the situation from the search engine’s point of view: For Google, as well as pretty much every other search engine, time is money. The less time it has to spend scanning through your site, the better it is for you. Once a website is launched and indexed, a search engine will send a small data-crunching robot (a crawler) in the form of an algorithm to your site. The algorithm will examine your site and compare with its own predefined criteria. If the robot finds that your site is well optimised (it contains good quality, relevant content and isn’t hiding any unpleasant surprises for users), it will rank your site on one of its search results pages, but not necessarily on page one. It is important to ensure that your site is well positioned on Google and/or other search engines. The higher your site is placed, the more visibility you will have – generally speaking, people won’t bother to check further than Google’s 3rd page to find what they’re looking for – lazy, but true.

How can I optimise my website without spending the earth?

The short answer is Natural SEO. Think of it like climbing a mountain: The first 80% of the climb is the easy (and cheapest) part, whereas the last 20% involves the hardest struggle and most investment to reach the summit and be #1. In this article, we will only be focusing on the first 80%. This is a free and relatively easy way to climb the ranks on a SERP. It is however time consuming and can be costly if not applied correctly. So, listen up!

SEO Mountain

How can I help Google to help me?

There are literally hundreds of ways to optimize your site for the web. Here are a number of hand-picked tips that will keep a crawler contented:

Make your site responsive and AMP fast

These two tips generally go hand in hand. Firstly, make sure that your website is responsive – that it can adapt to ALL kinds of screens: Desktops, tablets and smartphones. According to Statista.com, in 2018, over 52.2% of all internet traffic came through cell phones. Of course, Google knows this, and will penalise sites that are not responsive. Don’t get left behind! Another way to get into Google’s good books is to speed up page loading times. This can be done by compressing (minifying) your site’s Java Script code using software such as Java Script minifier.

When it comes to page speed, another piece of advice that is often overlooked is image compression. Google loves images as they help to harmonize the overall information on a web page, so try to intersperse texts with relevant images. The more detailed your image is, the ‘heavier’ the file will be to load.  Usually, an image around 20-30kb is fine, but don’t go over 250kb unless necessary. You just have to find the right balance!

TIP:
Try upgrading to AMP (accelerated mobile pages). In march 2018, Google announced plans to push for AMP to be standardised. Although its already in use, AMP has not yet been widely adopted by the web community, as it would demand further streamlining of websites and content. Not only will pages have to be mobile friendly, they will also have to be lightning quick. However, if you can make your pages AMP friendly, you’ll be one step ahead of the game!

Quality content

In Google’s eyes, nothing beats rich, informative, original content. A good website should contain texts, images and even videos – however, this MUST be your own information. If you plagiarise, Google WILL find you and it WILL penalise you! Making sure that the information is well structured keeps the user engaged for longer: The longer they stay, the more chance you have of converting your traffic into potential customers. In terms of content length, the general rule is thus: The longer a text is, the more favourable your page will be. For an E-commerce website, a text should contain at least 350 words, with no maximum number. For blog articles, however, Google prefers about 1800 – 2450 words – but there’s definitely no harm in making them longer. This is down to the fact that longer articles are generally considered to be better quality, have a larger number of key words and have a higher chance of being shared – although this isn’t always the case.

Keywords and structure

Put yourself in a user’s shoes. You are looking for information on Google, so you type your request into the search bar. In SEO terms, what you have just typed is called a keyword. In order for google to put your site in front of the right eyes (your target audience), it compares the user’s request with the keywords that appear on its sites. In order to rank higher, you should establish a list of keywords for each article/text. Be careful, as these keywords will help Google define how you will be found – make sure that you use the precise vocabulary that users will look for and find you with. Note that multi-word search terms are also types of keywords. Don’t be afraid to use a question, such as: ‘How can I get more traffic on my website?’, this is actually considered as one key word. To give more weight your keywords, make sure they appear within the framework of your page – in the main title of your article (the <h1>), as well as in the subtitles (the <h2> and <h3>).

TIP:
To help you judge whether a keyword is relevant or not, try using free online tools such as Ubersuggest .

WARNING:
Avoid stuffing your texts with keywords. Try to place 1 or so per paragraph approximately.

Links

Links are perhaps the most important elements for a website to make a name for its self.

There are 2 types of link:

  • Internal Links: Are used to navigate within the site (e.g. a menu). A good structured site makes it easier for Google’s robots to crawl quicker, and spend less time understanding which page leads to what. The less time it has to spend, the better it is for you. Using internal menus can really help, as well as creating an XML sitemap.
  • External Links: Are sacred in the world of SEO. An external link (backlink) will transfer authority to your site from an external source. Each time another site links to yours, it transfers a small percentage of its web authority to you. In this case, Google will not only asses the quality of your site, but also the quality of the site at the root of the link as well.

If Google finds the site trustworthy (measured in trust flow), good quality, already has a high ranking on a SERP, and is well maintained, it will automatically have more confidence in your site, and therefore attribute a better rank.

Thanks to external links, you can considerably improve your ranking on Google’s search pages. Be advised however, good quality free backlinks are difficult to find, but not impossible.

This article on MOZ helps shed some light on how to embark on the quest to finding them.

Keep your site updated

In order to keep your ranking on Google, it is crucial that the information on your site is of a high standard  and of course relevant. However, it’s also important to keep your information up-to-date. It’s basically like gardening (trimming, pruning, repotting etc…). Carrying out monthly or yearly updates of texts and articles are necessary. If you notice that a part of your site’s information is no longer valid, it’s wise to modify it (change texts to the past tense, change the dates etc…).  After an article has been modified, Google’s robots will automatically revisit the site to review the information again. It’s a proven method – regular site updates make information more reliable in Google’s eyes.

If you found this article interesting or useful, be sure to read more of our students fascinating insights into the World Wide Web here: https://mastertcloc.unistra.fr/blog/