Translation & Localization Blog

Tag: International SEO

How Adobe Achieved Double-Digit CTR Increase via International SEO

adobe_seoAfter learning about all the best tools for international SEO, you may ask yourself, “Is it really worth the extra time and effort to make it work?”

In determining its worth, let’s look at a real-life example of successful international SEO marketing.

With more than half of its revenue earned outside the U.S., Adobe Global SEO team has to manage 30+ domains, subdomains, & microsites, 1.8M pages, 10M keywords, 14K ad copy rotations and 1000+ landing pages everyday. It’s safe to say that Adobe’s online marketing effort is among the most sophisticated across different industries.

In 2013, their SEO team were able to achieve double-digit increases in their sites’ impression and click-through rate in SERPs. And for some of their international sites, average visits and revenue were increased by 485%(!) and +133% respectively. How did they bring such a significant improvement to a giant enterprise like Adobe?

Fortunately, Dave Lloyd, Senior Manager of Global Search Marketing at Adobe Systems, explained how they work behind the scenes in great details at Share13, a premier digital marketing event organized by BrightEdge, an enterprise SEO platform.

We’ve summarised some of the key points in his presentation here.

Localization Matters

In order to be successful in international SEO, Dave believes that people have to understand the importance of localization, especially for those who think that localization is equal to translation.

Oftentimes, a translation that is linguistically correct may not express the right meaning in your target audience’s culture and context.

Therefore, thoughtful marketers should pay attention to relevancy when doing in-country keyword research. They have to make sure the chosen keywords are the ones that users are actually searching for. When the keyword’s meaning is accurate and makes sense, it will greatly improve the click-through rate in local search result.

“The premise is understanding why customers are coming to your site – what unique tasks are global and mobile users trying to accomplish? Once core markets are understood, it’s critical to define your team & company’s unique value to deliver to those markets.” – Dave Lloyd

Below is Adobe’s keyword ranking improvement in three months due to localization in Japan and Korea.


SEO Localization Process

The practice of optimizing your website for search has a lot of moving parts, so good planning and alignment processes are essential for an effective international SEO campaign. To kickstart a SEO project, Dave suggests marketers to follow this general process:

  1. In-country keyword research
  2. Each keyword mapped to preferred landing page
  3. Content localized using keywords (content, video, images, links)
  4. Reviewed by Editorial & SEO & added to Sitemaps
  5. Localized & optimized content goes live

After understanding the core ideas behind this process, companies can innovate it based on their own needs. Below is Adobe’s internal localization process, see if you can learn a thing or two from this world-class company.


Href Alt Lang in XML Sitemaps

Historically, Google’s search algorithm values large multinational sites more than smaller single country sites. As a result, localized sites are often outranked by the US or predominant language version sites. For example, many US sites have higher rankings than Australia sites, even if users did the search in Australia.

To tackle this challenge, webmasters should add HrefLang annotations to their XML Sitemaps, like the image below, indicating to Google which country a specific page is targeting.

Image source: Search Engine Land

By following these practices, Adobe improved its international sites’ rankings in Germany, France and Spain significantly.


Global Title Tags and Meta Desc

Finally, some marketers may forget that there are difference in character limits for title tags and meta descriptions in languages using single-byte characters (e.g. English and Spanish) and double-byte characters (e.g. Japanese and Chinese).

Google typically displays the first 60 characters (with spaces) of a title tag and 160 characters (with spaces) of a meta description. For double-byte characters, the limit is half that.

With that in mind, we have to make sure our main in-country keywords and clear call-to-action showing up within the limits in different languages.

Check out Adobe’s SEO enhancement in Italy and Russia as well.


Want to learn more? Check out Dave’s actual slides below or follow him on Twitter to keep up with the latest trend in international SEO.

8 Tools to Kickstart Your International SEO Mobile


Do you know that Google recently estimated that global mobile searches could exceed desktop search volume by the end of 2014?

If you still consider mobile as a secondary international distribution channel, it is NOW the time to take it more seriously because it can significantly increase leads and revenue for your company.

Well, some of you may argue that most of this growth mainly comes from developing regions, Asian countries (e.g. India, Japan, Korea…etc) and young people who prefer to use mobile devices rather than desktops. These groups of people may not be in your target demographic, age range, or geographic groups at this moment. But that doesn’t mean mobile opportunity should be ignored entirely as traffic from mobile devices only continues to climb.

So how to prepare your business for this inevitable trend?

There are many different ways to extend your SEO success to the mobile and global markets. Below are three steps to help you get started:

  1. Understand your current mobile international demand
  2. Identify your future mobile international market potential
  3. Optimize your site for mobile international opportunities

It could be difficult to achieve these tasks effectively without a SEO specialist on your team. But luckily there are some tools that can make the process way easier.

We’ve rounded up some of the most awesome tools available on the web below.

(Note: OneSky has no affiliation with these companies.)

Understand Your Current Mobile International Opportunities


1) Google Analytics

First of all, you want to check if your mobile site is already popular globally. So you can prioritize which languages you should tackle first.

By using Google Analytics‘ pre-loaded “Mobile and Tablet Traffic” segment, you can find out your current mobile traffic data by country and language. If you want to dig deeper into the data, you can further breakdown it by devices level (Section: Audience > Mobile > Devices).

Do you know if you have any landing pages that are already performing well in terms of mobile international SEO? By studying this data, you can learn a lot about your audience’s needs and discover the source of the mobile traffic. It is located in the Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages section.


2) Google Webmaster Tools

Next you should check your current mobile search visibility. In Google Webmaster Tools, by using the new mobile filter, you can see mobile search query data right down to the individual click or impression. You can also select the location filter to find out the user behavior in different countries.

If you want to analyze your SEO effort over time, toggle the “With Change” option to see which keywords provide best opportunities for low-hanging fruit, e.g. ranking on the top of 2nd page in SERP now.


3) SEMRush

Have you ever wondered which organic keywords were driving the most traffic to your competitors? If you wanted to do that, SEMRush is the perfect tool for the job.

It’s a keyword spy and competitor research tool that has databases for more than 20 countries, including United States, Germany, France, Spain…etc. Although it doesn’t have mobile specific data yet, you could still benefit by identifying what international markets you are falling behind your competitors.


Identify Your Future Mobile International Opportunities


4) Keyword Planner

After you’ve figured out your current situation in mobile international SEO, you need to discover new ideas and opportunities to increase your visibility in search results.

Keyword Planner allows you to check potential mobile search traffic for keywords that are relevant to your business. You can even drill down your search volume to a specific geographic location for country-wide statistics.

If you want to see if people are searching certain keywords on mobile devices, simply run the new “Mobile trends” chart to get a deeper insight into mobile trends data.


5) Google Trends

In order to be successful in SEO, regardless of location, language or devices, delivering the right content to your audiences everywhere is your gateway to success.

Therefore, mobile international SEO success ultimately requires localization excellence.

You want to makes sure the keywords you are targeting are appropriate in the language, geography and culture of your target audience because mistranslations sometimes can lead to disasters.

Besides getting advice from localization experts, you can first find out which terms are most used in certain countries. This can be verified by studying the search volume and usage trend in Google Trends.


Optimize for Mobile International SEO


6) Screaming Frog SEO Spider

After conducting all the previous research, you can start optimizing your global sites for the mobile opportunity.

You want to check how Mobile search bots crawl your site and see if they’re being served correctly, e.g. some of your pages may be redirected to the desktop version or another pages by mistakes.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider can crawl your international sites using your desired mobile bot, such as Googlebot-Mobile User-Agents, by using the “Spider User Agent Configuration” option.


Image source: State of Digital

7) PageSpeed Insights

Google uses a multitude of factors to determine how to rank search engine results and one of the elements is website speed. To avoid a negative impact on search ranking, make sure your international sites are optimized for mobile effectively.

PageSpeed Insights gives you a mobile scorecard based on your current progress and suggests areas for improvement. Following Google’s suggestions here should give you a good start.


8) SEO Global For Google Search + Chrome DevTools + Moz SEO Toolbar

At the end of the day, how your site appears on mobile SERP is the most important. So you want to make a final check on how your target audience see your site in mobile search results in different countries.

In order to do that, you will need a few tools here.

SEO Global For Google Search is a Chrome extension that allows you to see how Google search results appear in different countries, regions and cities. This is excellent for our purposes.


Then you want to install MozBar which provides easy access to the most important SEO metrics while you surf the web. It’s a good way to do competitor research as well.


At last, you can use Chrome’s built-in DevTools to realistically emulate the mobile environment so you can inspect the mobile search result from your desktop screen.

In Chrome browser, navigate to Menu > Tools > Developer tools to enable the DevTools window. And enabling the emulation view is as easy as selecting the target mobile device in the developer tools settings menu.


A Final Note

Remember that we are living in a multi-device world now. The usage of mobile search is only going to increase. It’s better to be prepared for this challenge sooner rather than later.

Follow our blog, and you’ll soon be an expert in international SEO as well!



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Thumbnail image source: Flickr