I recently wrote a blog detailing the initial steps for conducting an SEO website audit, How to Analyze Your Website: Part 1. The second installment of this series will explore design components of your website to analyze and optimize for visibility and search engine ranking.
Make it Mobile
Major search engines, like Bing and Google, can easily differentiate if your website is mobile responsive or not. After Google's "Mobilegeddon" update earlier this year, if your website is not optimized for mobile devices your SERPs will take a hit.
According to a We Are Social report on digital, social and mobile trends in 2015, mobile devices' and tablets' share of global website page views is 73%.
A mobile responsive website has HTML that will automatically adjust depending on the size of the device it's shown on. The web server sends the HTML page and the device figures out how to best display it.
Another method is to create dynamic web pages. Dynamic web pages will look different depending on who is viewing them. Mobile users accessing the site will see content that is optimized for mobile devices.
You can also have separate URLs for desktop users and mobiles users. The web server directs the device to the most appropriate version.
Page Components That Don't Help or Hurt
Optimizing your website is all about providing compelling and unique content to the search engines for them to index so your target audiences can organically find you.
Despite all the progress that has been made in indexing various media types, from an SEO perspective, content really means text. So there are some page components that won't help you much with the search results, in particular, images, flash animations, and PDF files.
But it doesn't mean that these things hurt your site either. Adding a Flash animation to a well-optimized site will boost the user experience and make your page more visibly appealing. So even though it won't necessarily boost your rankings, there are still benefits to adding these elements to your web pages.
Be sure to include optimized keywords in the alt text of images and the Meta descriptions for any non-text components of your site.
Creating an SEO friendly English website is the first step in gaining visibility. But, in order to reach and attract your global audiences you must create SEO friendly localized versions of your website for all of your targeted languages and locales.
After you define which languages and locales you want to target and what domain structure you will use for your global websites, localizing your keyword lists is a great place to start. Your source language keyword list can be translated, localized and optimized for your target audience by your professional translation partner's SEO and language experts. You will then be able to use those localized keywords to create new content and develop on page and on site SEO, like title modifications, image alt tag modifcations, and Meta descriptions.
Which search engines your audiences use is also a factor to be aware of. For example, Baidu and Yandex are the major search engines in China and Russia, respectively. When creating your robot.txt file and your sitemap be sure to keep in mind which search engines will be crawling your site and how their processes may differ.
The colors and images should also be different for each language version of your website. Keep in mind that some images and colors may be innapropriate to some cultures. For example, in China the color red represents good luck and celebration but in South Africa red is the color of mourning. Also, it is a best practice to use the name of the language or country your website is targeting if you have a drop down menu or icons to switch between the versions of your website, it is culturally inappropriate to use flags to represent your target language sites.
In the second part of my SEO audit series I detailed the design elements of your website that impact your rankings and visibility. Mobile responsive websites will be favored by search engine especially as mobile use continues to grow across all parts of the globe. Visuals like images and Flash animations may not have much of an impact from an SEO perspective, but they will add value to the user experience of your website and make your content more visually appealing. Localizing your website will attract your global audiences and reach international markets.
Conducting SEO audits of your website will help you analyze your content, update your technical aspects of your site and evolve your global marketing strategies.
Further Resources on International Search Engine Marketing (SEM) including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and Social Media Localization
Global Digital Marketing for multilingual websites or for content destined for specific locales (country + language + geography) is more than just translating keywords. Today companies should work with a combination of owned, earned and bought digital media in order to drive traffic to their localized or translated websites. Localization of any media requires in-country native speaking professionals to copy write and localize content in order to engage potential customers. Whether you work with a traditional digital marketing agency, or you are one, GPI's global digital marketing team can serve as an extension of your in-house digital marketing department to help you deliver your message around the world.
For more information on specific topics related to global digital marketing, you may wish to review some of our previous blogs:
- Best Practices for International PPC Campaigns
- Global SEO Top Factors
- Top Tips for Successful Multilingual SEO
- Why are Multilingual Keywords important for your international websites?
Please feel free to contact GPI at email@example.com with any questions about our language and technology services. Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in our future blogs. You may request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects as well.
About the Author
Global SEO Specialist. Farah is a native Arabic speaker born and residing in Cairo, Egypt. She received her degree in Commerce and English from Ain-Shams University studying marketing, management, economics and accounting. Her experience includes working in various specialties in global digital marketing with specific training in Link Building, Website Traffic Analysis, On-page Optimization and Off-page Optimization as well as standard Social Media Marketing. She is skilled in a variety of tools including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Light Room and SEO tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SeoMoz, Opensite Explorer, Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. She enjoys playing sports such as swimming and basketball and loves to read in her spare time.More Content by Farah Fathy