In my last two articles for Lifehack, I looked at why small ecommerce businesses should embrace the foreign language internet, and the tricks companies need to look out for when selling overseas on foreign online marketplaces.

This time, I’d like to delve into the five simple strategies you need to employ on an ongoing basis to make sure that your foreign language ecommerce website is performing in the search engines.

Let’s say that you’ve done your research online using a tool like Google’s Global Market Finder, and you’ve identified an overseas market where your product or service might have a customer base.

You’ve had your website content professionally translated and localized, your website set-up has been optimized for its new markets (navigation, design, etc) , you’ve researched the top performing keywords for your product in the target language and used them to optimize your content, and you’ve launched your new site on a subdomain off your main site, or better yet, its own country-code Top Level Domain.

Now how do you get your site to appear in the high traffic top three results on Google (or the local equivalent) for your chosen keywords? Here’s how:

Link-building

The number one way to climb the search results for your chosen keywords is to build links to your website using your keywords as the anchor text. The key here is that quality is more important than quantity – a few links from editorial websites with high Alexa rankings will be far more valuable than a bunch of links from low value directories or unrelated blogs.

The best way to build links is to engage native speaking PR and copywriting experts, who understand how to contact the editors of relevant industry websites in the local internet to pitch expert content, and can then write that content and optimize it with your keywords.

Ongoing Keyword Research

Keywords are not static – search trends are constantly changing across all languages. So while you may be doing well for your main keywords for which you’ve been building links, you also need to have your search specialists monitoring the performance of your top keywords and identifying new ‘long-tail’ keywords in the target language which are generating significant traffic.

New Optimized Content

But what do you do with these new keywords once you’ve found them? It’s not always feasible to add a new static page to your website for every new keyword opportunity, bulking it up until your site becomes a misshapen Frankenstein monster with pages tacked on all over, like the New York subway of websites.

This is where a blog on your foreign language website will come in handy – not only does it keep your content ticking over and fresh, but you can also use posts to address new keyword opportunities.

Paid Search

Paid Search is the best way to get to the top of the search results immediately, and to test the performance of your chosen keywords, with a guaranteed return on investment (since you only pay per click). Your multilingual search specialists should use your paid search campaigns to monitor the performance of your top keywords, as well as testing out new opportunities.

Social Media

Last, but certainly not least, is social media – and while it’s near impossible to calculate social media marketing’s ROI, online businesses simply can’t afford to ignore social media in the 21st century. You should set-up profiles on the popular social networks in your target country (Facebook and Twitter are good bets, but local champions such as Qzone in China and Orkut in Brazil are also important) and keep your profiles updated regularly (several times a week at least) with useful, engaging, correctly translated content. Videos, competitions and other interactive content is particularly good!

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