Multilingual & Multinational Link Building at SMX Toronto 2013

The Search Marketing Expo (SMX) 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on March 20 and 21 was a successful event collocated with other events at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre including eMetrics Summit and the Predictive Analytics World. I was fortunate to speak at SMX side by side with the main stars of International SEO, Andy Atkins-Kruger, Group CEO of WebCertain and Ian McAnerin, CEO of McAnerin International.

Benj Arriola at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Toronto 2013
Benj Arriola at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Toronto 2013

International SEO ideally needs International Links

There are many factors that search engines are looking at when evaluating a link such as anchor text, PageRank, relevancy, adjacent links, surrounding text, popularity, traffic, etc. For a website to rank well in specific countries in a specific language, it is ideal to gain links from websites that are also from the same country and in the same language. This maximizes the relevancy of the link for the targeted country and language.

In the eyes of Google, it could be looking at a variety of metrics to get a good idea what geographic area the website is targeting.

International SEO Link Metrics
There are a number of backlink metrics Google could be identifying. The ones highlighted above are some that give specific geographic location information.

The Penguin Update Made Link Building Harder

I talked about the Penguin Update in depth during the 2012 Online Marketing Summit, and IMI team members Yichen Liu mentioned 5 ways to avoid getting affected negatively by the Penguin update and Melissa Braden compiled thoughts of other SEO industry leaders on the Penguin update. Today link building is really content marketing, which can be loosely referred as link baiting, viral marketing, or link baiting. Link building today is more about influencing others to link to you which decrease the level of control you have over building links.

Entire Backlink Market

Now that link building is more about influencing where you have less control over a link, targeting a specific country or language decreases the amount of websites you can influence adding into the additional difficulty.

Targeted International Links Subset of Total Links

Thus if you want to target a specific country and/or language, you have to make sure you are influencing the right people from the right countries to maximize these links for international SEO.

Content Creation and Content Promotion

Creating the right content for the right target country and language requires you to have a local speaker of the language that knows not only the language but the culture and country situation. This way, you can avoid having issues of your content not connecting properly with your target audience. As for the content promotion, it is all about reaching out to the right people in the right geographic areas.

Reaching out to bloggers, building relationships and also looking for guest blogging opportunities can be done with the aid of prospecting software like Buzzstream. As for using paid social media advertising, many of the social media sites already give lots of geo-targeting capability. I recommend using the following for targeted content marketing:

  • Facebook Ads
  • Facebook Promoted Post
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Promoted Tweets
  • StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
  • Reddit Ads

Case Study of a Client in the Construction Business

An infographic was created for this client and promoted within social channels and through blogger outreach. Looking at the analytics of the page of the specific infographic alone can clearly see when the infographic was launched and at this current time, most of the links are from the US.

Client case study on international link building

This client is specifically targeting the US, but since linking building is more of influencing others to link to you; you can’t avoid it if it gets links from other places. For this specific infographic, it also has links from websites targeting Germany, Italy and Singapore, but the majority of the links are from the US.

A few months later, the infographic was translated into Spanish. This time, we reached out to bloggers and used social promotion in the targeted area, Latin America. Below, you can see the changes in links we achieved from this.

Client case study on international link building

The infographic was translated into Spanish to target the Latin American market and possibly gain links from websites also targeting the same area. It was a success where majority of the links to the specific infographic were coming from Mexico rather than the US.

Below is the entire presentation I presented at SMX Toronto:

Photo Credit: Thanks Ryan Cruz for taking the photo at SMX Toronto and sharing it with me.

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