With the world seemingly becoming more and more connected every day, there are more and more international markets becoming available to businesses online. If you have read our ‘Ultimate Guide to International Digital Success’, you’ll appreciate just how much international markets can benefit your business.

Mobile use has increased considerably, giving consumers around the world the potential to find your website and purchase your goods or services from just about anywhere. While that does sound massively exciting if you’re a business owner, the age old mantra still applies…

Just because you can do something – doesn’t mean you should!

At Silverbean we’ve got plenty of experience with International SEO and it’s given us a real insight into the amazing potential that international expansion holds. On the other hand, we’ve also seen how international expansion into the wrong market at the wrong time can be a really tough thing for a business to cope. The plan is to take you through a few key processes that will help you understand international markets, competition, trends and behaviour. This early research into the market will give you the information you need to make an informed, data backed decision on your international SEO strategy.

Is there demand for my product or service in this international market?

Before you start planning your successful business trips abroad and dream about owning a far reaching worldwide brand, you need to understand whether or not there is demand for your product or service in international markets.

Imagine spending thousands and thousands of £/$/€/¥ to expand to a new market, only to find that there is no demand at all for what you’re offering. Clearly that’s not a great idea for you or your finances, so…

From an organic search perspective there are a couple of ways to gauge demand in international markets at no cost, other than a little effort and some dedicated time.

Image shows table for International SEO Research Pointers

Research is your new best friend and a combination of all this data will give you an idea of just how popular your offering might be in international markets. If you find that there isn’t any demand in a market that you thought would be ideal for your business, move on to another one, as they say there really is plenty more fish in the sea.

What’s the international competition like for business?

You’ve researched thoroughly and now you understand that there is some demand for your business in this exciting new market. It’s time to start thinking about how difficult it might be to succeed there.

As I’m an SEO consultant, my automatic go to place is Google. Google has built a multi-billion dollar corporation around providing the best search results for any given term. Luckily for everyone who knows just how important international SEO is to businesses, the most powerful search engine has expanded to over 200 international markets. Have a good spy at the full list of Google localised search engines here.

Image shows table of International Expansion SEO key points

As a general rule, if an industry is more developed in a particular market, you’ll find that websites have great quality content, exceptional visual design, a strong link profile and a high number of results in the search engine. Alarm bells just went off, but don’t for one second think that this means you can’t compete … you can. You just need to be prepared to make sure that your international SEO campaign is researched, planned and executed, correctly. A huge positive you can take from this position, where there are already established sites in your industry in your target market, is that you now know that there are businesses succeeding.

You can be one of those businesses!

How much is it going to cost me to expand?

As a business owner you’re probably now wondering how much this might set you back financially.

I’m not going to lie to you, balancing the risk of expansion against the potentially lucrative rewards can be tough. If I went into everything you’ll need to consider, I would have your head spinning, so that’s for another post and another day. At a very basic level, there are a number of key costs that you’ll need to take into account before launching your international SEO expansion plan:

  • Technical Implementation – From a technical SEO perspective, you’ve got a few options. Try and estimate how much it might cost to implement Hreflang tags, buy your new domain names and update your sitemaps.
  • Translation – If your chosen market uses a different language – it’s best to speak to them in a language they use to communicate! Good translators can be expensive so it’s vital that you to get a quote before moving full steam ahead with your entire site.
  • Extra Handling Costs – If you’re running a product based business, how much extra is postage going to be to ship internationally? Would you be better holding stock in the country rather than shipping internationally?
  • Legal Costs – Every country you expand into will have its own legal processes, consumer rights law and local customs rules. Make sure you’re aware of all of these requirements which will help prevent problems in the long run.

Have you found the perfect market for an international SEO campaign?

I hope all the information in this post helps you. If you think you’ve found a market that looks like a big win for your business, get in touch with us and we’ll help you understand how best to approach it.

There’s an endless world of possibilities for international SEO expansion out there and with the right research at the very beginning of your expansion, you’ll have the best chance of success.

While we are on the topic and speaking of International SEO, have you been utilising it to grow your business in recent months? Let us know! As always we’d love to hear from you on Twitter @silverbean or in the comments box below.