Many companies with an international presence have moved to a single site with subfolders for each country.
At Web-Translations, we started with a .co.uk domain in 2003, and as we grew, we added a .com domain, then a .jp domain, and over the next 10 years we purchased domains for many different markets including .es, .it and .pt. It began to get expensive and complicated! In 2014, we moved our primary site to a .com domain, with subfolders for different languages.
Previously, we would have advised against this. Top-level domains, such as .de and .jp, are automatically picked up by search engines, and are therefore good for in-country SEO. However, with newer geotargeting techniques, a single site with subfolders (also known as subdirectories) can be as effective as a ccTLD.
There are exceptions to this, such as the .fr domain; French internautes still prefer seeing a .fr domain. Perhaps this will change over the next few years, but at the moment, if France is your key market, a .fr domain is the best option. (In the past, it could be tricky to get a .fr domain without residency in France, however many domain registrars now offer a “trustee” service which allows non-residents to purchase a .fr domain.)
In terms of SEO, subfolders (e.g. shop.com/es) may be preferable to subdomains (e.g. es.shop.com). Subfolders pass on some authority from the root site, whereas subdomains may be seen as a separate entity by Google in terms of ranking. However, John Mueller from Google said in 2016 that Google is smart enough to know what you are trying to do with subfolders and subdomains; there isn’t much of a difference between the two in terms of SEO (watch the Youtube video).
A single international site with subfolders made it easier for us to manage localised content, and was much more cost-effective. We would certainly recommend this approach!
With the new-format Google ads running alongside standard text ads for nearly a month, we’ve noticed some quirks, understood a bit more, and most importantly – seen the benefits.
Google announced the change back in May, and launched the new Extended Text Ads (ETAs) at the end of July.
Advertisers have until 26 October to create old-style standard text ads (STAs); after this only ETAs can be created. Google hasn’t given an end-date for running STAs, but it’s in your best interests to make new ads. We recommend you start by running both sorts of ads simultaneously; if your ETAs don’t perform as well as your old ads, tweak them until you are comfortable removing the old ads.
The old-style character limit rule of 25/35/35 no longer applies. ETAs have 2 headlines and a description, and the fields will allow 30 characters in each headline + 80 characters in the description. However, the new format is based on the pixel width of a letter instead of the number of characters, so it is highly possible that your ad might be truncated, even if it is approved by Google. Google has recommended the combined number of characters in the headline should be kept to 33 to ensure the headlines are are not truncated, but this seems like a wasted opportunity if you might be able to use 60 characters… The ad preview is not entirely reliable, either. It seems the only way to know your ad displays 100% correctly is to actually see the ad running, which isn’t very helpful.
Overall, you can make longer ads, which give you more of an opportunity to convince someone to click on your ad.
The lack of a set character limit is making translating the ads more tricky; each ad needs to be checked in the editor/preview, and tweaked as necessary.
Longer Display URL
Previously the display URL as a field with 35 characters, but the new version combines the domain from the Final URL field with 2 fields of 15 characters each, separated by / characters, which will allow the display URL to take someone deeper into your site, but possibly not to a specific product, which you may have been able to do before.
Google says the new format is to help advertisers ‘succeed in this mobile-first world’. With an iPhone 6, I noticed that the entire first screen is taken up with sponsored ads, requiring me to scroll down to see the organic search results.
At Web-Translations, we have seen higher CTRs for our primary keywords with the new ETAs. Perhaps our competitors haven’t all started using the ETAs, but whatever the reason, the ads are performing better for us. The data below is based on English-language ads from 2016. ETA data is only from the month of August; we expect these figures will drop in the coming months as more companies move to ETAs.
|keyword||Standard Text Ad
|Extended Text Ad
|translation services uk||2.19%||3.23%|
|professional website translation||3.26%||5.36%|
Many of our clients tell us they don’t see any benefit to tweeting or maintaining a facebook page. The perception is often that social media is better for B2C businesses than B2B, and for companies selling a product as opposed to service-based companies.
In all honesty, the majority of our Web-Translations Twitter followers, and those who like us on facebook, are translators – our suppliers – and not customers. So if most people we connect with are not going to buy from us, and Google says the number of Twitter followers and facebook likes don’t affect SEO, why bother?
It doesn’t matter which page it is, how long the visitor spends on the page they visit, or if they click on a link on that page which leads them to a different site. It doesn’t matter if they come to you via a search engine or type in your URL. What matters is that they only visit one page before the specified session-timeout occurs.
One of Web-Translations’ main objectives is to offer highly targeted solutions for reaching international web users. Often, we run into the question of how far to go down this road – does the site need a separate US and UK portal? How about Portugal and Brazil? But one of the most frequent questions we’re asked is about duplicate content – in other words, is it acceptable from an SEO perspective to have the same content on a New Zealand-targeted site and a UK-targeted site? Here’s our take: (more…)
If you want to read more about keyword research in general, visit our service page on the subject.
Taking keyword research onto an international level is one of the many challenges facing companies looking to grow their overseas profile. If you approach it as a translation exercise, you’ll be dead in the water; multilingual keyword research needs to be approached in its own right, and on its own terms.
Here are a few points to consider when you start thinking about your international keyword strategy: (more…)
Popular web-based retailer tomybabytoys.com, which sells a wide-range of Tomy and Lamaze branded toys, is proud to announce the launch of their Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian microsites. Tomybabytoys.com contacted Web-Translations as they were looking to expand into the Scandinavian market. As a result, their homepage was localised into the target languages, thus enabling potential customers in the key target markets to obtain information regarding the brand in their own language – research tells us that a majority of consumers value information in their own language over price (Kelly, N., 03/08/2012, Speak to Global Customers in Their Own Language, Harvard Business Review, http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/08/speak-to-global-customers-in-t/). Prior to translation, keyword research was carried out in the target markets and once the most-effective keywords had been identified, we optimised the microsites by including these keywords within the body text, meta description and page title.
Tomybabytoys.com offers low-cost delivery to Denmark, Sweden & Norway from £3.49, and customers in continental Europe can check-out securely in euros. The site not only sells Tomy and Lamaze branded toys, but also official Winnie the Pooh branded products as well as toys from brands such as Aquafun, Play to Learn and First Years. Consumers in Scandanavia searching for high-quality Tomy and Lamaze toys will land on our microsites thanks to our keyword optimisation and index submission, and all traffic to and from the site can be tracked via the Google Analytics code embedded within the sites. Once on the site, consumers can read all about tomybabytoys.com along with select products before being redirected to UK site to complete payment.
Victorian Plumbing started in 1999, specialising in original and antique bathroom fixtures and fittings. In 2003, they expanded their range to include many well-known brands, and now offer products ranging from the ultra-modern to more traditional ranges. With a showroom in Formby, Merseyside, customers can also purchase through their catalogue and from their online eCommerce shop.
Victorian Plumbing used our microsite creation service to create landing pages in 10 languages, as well as additional pages providing information about the company and shipping details. The microsites welcome visitors from other European markets, acting as portals to the English eCommerce site.
The pages were localised by professional translators in order to create content that sounds natural to readers, and all translations were proofread by a second native linguist. Our skilled Project Management team not only created bespoke microsites, but also researched ideal keywords for onpage optimisation, with the additional provision of keywords to Victorian Plumbing for Analytics campaigns. Once the research had been performed, the landing pages were optimised for 2 keywords by including these in the body content, meta description, page title and H1 tag content.
Following this week’s news about Google’s penalisation of certain types of offpage SEO, ensuring your onpage SEO is top-notch has become absolutely vital. Having up-to-date, well-written content on your site, as well as optimising your pages as much as possible, are good strategies for getting your pages indexed in Google, which is why our Localisation Level packages include onpage optimisation, as well as white hat offpage optimisation. Contact us for more information.
The start of a fresh year is the perfect opportunity to gauge past successes and look forward to exciting new ones. Resolutions aren’t just for people – they also give discerning businesses the chance to establish a clean outlook and set the wheels in motion for twelve months of growth and innovation.
With this goal of planning ahead in mind, we’ve put together a shrewd list of realistic eMarketing resolutions (or reSEOlutions, if you prefer!) for 2014 which will boost your website’s performance across the board. If you stick to these 5 rules, you’ll end the year the business equivalent of slim and good-looking.