As the former senior SEO and ASO manager at Square and SEO intel leader for Uber, Jackie Chu was particularly poised to offer some very insightful suggestions in her recent MozCon 2021 presentation. Focused on going global and reducing internalization errors, she highlighted some important tips for marketers to follow that we’ve collected here.
Easy Internationalization Mistakes to Avoid
Jackie pointed out several internalization mistakes that can be easily avoided. One of the foremost ones she mentioned was to always make certain all of your content contains unique URLs. This might seem somewhat obvious, but she pointed out that it can be easily overlooked.
Another mistake that should be avoided is making sure your content is substantially different. Jackie also mentioned that using four-letter lang codes is an absolute no-no, except for those sites in Chinese, which is the only language that uses them.
hreflang Implementation is Never as Easy as it Seems
hreflang is the attribute that tells Google what language your site is in, as well as certain GEO specifics. Although it might seem like a simple concept, Jackie highlighted that implementation isn’t as easy as it seems. In fact, she stated that hreflang is one of the most complex SEO aspects at times because if it’s done improperly, you won’t even rank for your own keywords.
She highlighted the most important details you need to make implementation successful in her presentation and offered an example of the proper coding for Canadian English (Country + Language):
<link rel=”alternate”hreflang= “en-ca”href=“https://yoursitee.com/ca/en/”/>
Some sites, such as international SaaS sites where countries have standardized features won’t always need a country designation. However, the best way to determine if your hreflang solutions are correct is by utilizing programs like Screaming Frog, Lighthouse, and Search Console.
Lastly, but certainly not least, be certain that your hreflang have a standard URL pattern. The sets must be designed to canonicalize themselves.
Don’t Overlook Photos
When it comes to your site, you can boost your traffic globally by ensuring that it has photos rich in metadata and all of the GEO-relevant information necessary. They should reflect the country/region they’re supposed to be in to generate the best results.
Distinguish Your Content from Competitors
On your site, it’s important to always include the correct NAP (name, address, phone number), as well as relevant GEO and local data for all of your social media accounts. Additionally, be sure to differentiate metadata by highlighting your country (for example: Disney UK vs. Disney.com).
What to Include in Your URLs
There are some musts you need to include in your URLs to ensure they work properly. Always start with the country in the slug, such as yoursite.com/ca/en/. Using hyphens are also okay but it’s important to avoid underscores. Also, make sure you’re utilizing ISO codes that follow normal web parameters.
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