Most companies tend to optimise their SEO with one location in mind, often believing that this will serve their content from all four corners of the world. The landscape of SEO is not quite that simple however. In fact three geographical levels need to be considered in order to effectively optimise a website for the 21st century: global, regional, and local.

Internationalisation is the process of adapting your ecommerce site to meet the requirements of the target market, for example language, currency, and regional differences. Creating a new localised version of your site is only the first step in developing your SEO strategy. In order to truly maximise your SEO on a global scale, additional factors need to be taken into consideration.

Localising your content

Companies need to ensure that their content is localised in terms of language and isn’t just a word-for-word translation of their original site.  .  Not only do you need to enrich a massive amount of products and data, navigation and the user-experience also need to be designed specifically with the local language in mind.

According to IBM, 68.38 per cent is the average shopping cart abandonment rate, demonstrating that the majority of online shoppers will not complete a purchase due to poor site construction, slow loading pages, and confusing navigation. For retailers this means that there is only a small window to engage and lock in their consumers’ attention. If your content isn’t readily available for them to digest, not only will you lose their attention, but often their loyalty as well.

Understand the region

Businesses need to also understand the region, it’s not good enough to create a localised website and believe that will suffice. Understanding the culture of the region, traditions, and trends will have a vast impact on the success of your site.

Today’s increasingly demanding shopper expects your website to offer a brilliant user-experience as well as understand and meet their needs. Not taking the time to know regional preferences and culture is a costly mistake, as this will often define your SEO strategy and positioning. For example in China, Singles Day (11/11) is one of the largest eCommerce days. The Chinese eCommerce company, Alibaba, reported that customers on its retail sites spent $2 billion in the first hour of Singles Day this year, demonstrating that knowing cultural preferences is crucial to business success and customer loyalty.

Know your keywords

Targeted keywords will help to define your company’s focus, although using the wrong keywords for your targeted region will diminish your SEO investment. Keywords such as ‘party dresses’ and ‘Christmas jumpers’ may have large search volume in the UK, however may not hold as much resonance in other countries, such as France or Germany for example.

Take a cue from leading retailers such as Topshop and BooHoo, who have tailored their eCommerce site for different regions, trends, languages, and currencies. For example, the customer has the ability to select their country, language and currency regardless of their geographical location. In addition to this both retailers have also tailored the goods available according to the selected country, which enables the consumer to have a personalised shopping experience.



Global businesses need to tailor each aspect of their strategy in order to be successful, but most struggle and are looking for help with ways to understand the local language of the customer in each individual market to prioritise their nav, PIM, hierarchy and UX. This is where SEO automation software that gathers and distils all the data and critical insights for you is invaluable. A large travel company we work with recently found an additional 1million keywords for an international region when they used OneHydra.

Expanding into a new and unfamiliar territory is a daunting task in itself, and if you neglect your SEO this task will become as possible as sticking to New Year resolutions beyond 10th January (i.e. not very).

Warren Cowan

Warren Cowan


Warren Cowan, CEO, OneHydra.