A few posts ago we touched on points to consider when using the web to promote your business in other countries. Well, since internet marketing is the obvious choice for the international brand, we thought we should delve a little deeper into the nuances of international SEO.
There are, of course, a whole host of cultural factors that affect how, when and why people buy products and interact with the web in general. There are too many to mention in fact. We would always advocate further research into your countries of choice but here are a few important points to consider for any international campaign. The following are amongst the most useful, pertinent points because they impact on the way that people search the web.
- Language, Dialect and AlphabetIt stands to reason that different languages, even different dialects, signal other cultural differences. These will inevitably have an impact on the way people search. Different alphabets give rise to multiple spelling issues and opportunities.
An important point to consider. A huge population can seem like a fantastic marketing opportunity. Perhaps much of the population of India or China is searching on your keywords but what is it you’re trying to sell? Consider the affordability of your products to these nations.
- Fashion and Clothing
It is obvious to say that fashion varies from one culture to another but so can the resulting search terms. As most of us already know, a purse in the UK is something to keep change in, while a purse in the USA is a handbag. There are any number of these cultural variations, some more obscure than others.
- Significance of Colour
Colours can have immense cultural significance which should absolutely be researched and considered when entering a new market. Baby clothes may be ‘blue for boys and pink for girls’ here but is that the same everywhere, for example.
- Travel Methods
How do the people in the area you are targeting get around? Do they drive, walk, cycle, take the train etc? This will impact on the products they require but also on when and how they are able to get online.
- The Male/Female Relationship
Knowing who buys the products is of vital importance. Who makes the buying decisions? What influences them? Knowledge of domestic relationships within a culture can help you to pitch your marketing correctly.
What people need and when they need it will be affected by what they eat. How healthy is the nation? Do th need your vitamin supplements? What do they cook and what do they need to cook it with?
This sounds crazy but think about it – typically the Americans have more space and live in big houses that they will want to fill, while the British need to know that a product will fit in their living room, because the chances are they don’t have a whole lot of space to fill (it’s a small island!).
- Censorship and The Press
The type of government – whether it is democratic, communist, a dictatorship etc can have a huge impact on what people can actually view online. Aside from that, there are countries where the press run the search engines, so even media preferences or cultural dislikes for a certain thing could have an impact.
- Literacy and Education
Obviously there will be huge chunks of the web that are inaccessible to people with low levels of literacy but they still need to buy the same things and are still accessing the Internet. If you give some thought to this and make your website more accessible with images and accessibility software you are potentially opening up to a much wider market.