In my previous article, I raised the issue that proper keyword research must take into account countries. The reason for that was that the demand for keywords can vary between countries. I gave examples of that fact using the Overture keyword tool.
To support my argument (that we need to be aware of countries when doing keyword research), I gave 2 reasons:
1. it will help us determine which countr(y/ies) to target, and
2. it will help us know what countr(y/ies) our visitors are most likely to come from.
I would like, in this article, to expand on these 2 reasons. I would also like to add further reasons why any keyword research must be country based.
1. When doing keyword research, we need to understand the limitations of our research. This is necessary in order to remove any assumptions we make about our findings. For example, if you find that the demand for a keyword is very high in the US, you cannot assume that the demand for that same keyword will also be vey high in other countries. You will only know for sure how much demand there is worldwide by doing country specific keyword research. Such research can be done using a tool such as the Overture keyword tool,
2. It will tell you where your visitors are most likely to come from. This in turn will tell you what features you need to add to your web site. For example, if you are targeting a keyword that is in demand in the US only, then obviously most of your visitors will come from the US. This then means that you need to design your web site primarily for US visitors. You will hence need to:
- use US spelling such as “color" and not “colour",
- if you sell products, then list your prices in US$,
- if you live in the US, then add a fax number so your visitors can place orders by fax,
- if you live in the US, you could organise a US free call number for your visitors to ring you should they need to,
- if you live in the US and you ship your orders, then you could include shipping costs. You could also include how long it will take for them to receive their order,
- if you don't live in the US, then you will need to make it possible for your visitors to pay you in US$,
- if you don't live in the US and you ship your orders, then you could include shipping costs. And you could include how long it will take for them to receive their order,
- and so on . . .
If on the other hand, you are wanting to target several non-English speaking countries, then:
- you may need to add a translation service to your site so that your visitors can read your site in their language,
- you may need to add a currency exchange service so that your visitors can convert your prices into their currency,
- you may need to make it possible for your visitors to pay you in their own currency,
- you may need to add other ways for your visitors to pay you apart from credit cards. You could offer international cheques/checks, money orders, direct bank transfers, . . . I once had a customer who wanted to pay me in Euros from Italy and needed my address to do so. The easier you make it for people to place an order, the greater the chances someone will place an order!
- if you ship your orders, then you could add the shipping costs to each of the countries you are targeting. And include how long it will take for them to receive their order,
- and so on . . . May be you can think of other things you will need to add to your site to accommodate your international visitors.
3. It will help you target the right keywords for the country you want to target. For example, if you want to target Canada, then you will need to use keywords that are in high demand in Canada only. There is absolutely no point doing keyword research in the UK if you are wanting to target Canada as the keyword demand between the 2 countries may vary greatly.
4. It will help you develop a keyword strategy so that you can target several countries at the same time. This can be achieved in several ways depending on the keywords’ demand and supply.
- you could use keywords that are in common demand in the several countries. For example, if you sell “widgets" with your site and you find that there is a healthy demand for “black widgets" in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. Then you could target that keyword with your site as that keyword will help you target 4 countries in one go,
- you could use keywords in demand in each country, as long as they complement each other and are highly relevant for your site. For example, using the widget idea, if you found that “colored widgets" are in demand in the US, “white widgets" are in demand in the UK, “black widgets" in Canada, and “coloured widgets" in Australia. Then, you would just target all these keywords with your site which would not be hard to do as all these keywords can easily be targeted together.
Given the right circumstances, you could even use both strategies at the same time.
As I mentioned in my first article, the Overture keyword tool enables you to research the demand for keywords in some 19 countries around the world. To see the countries that Overture supports, go to www.overture.com and have a look at the top right corner of the page. By clicking on any one of the countries listed, you will have access to the Overture keyword tool for the country you selected, and this will enable you to research the keyword demand in that country.
As you may know, keyword demand is only one half of the equation. Keyword demand needs to be looked at together with its supply numbers. One of the ways of determining keyword supply is to use Google. This means that to you need to know how to use Google to research the supply of keywords in your country of interest. This is a bit harder to explain and beyond the scope of this article.
I hope that this second article has convinced you about the need to be country aware when doing your keyword research. The success of your web site may depend on it.
Serge M Botans
Serge M Botans is the CEO of Meta Keywords Advice , a web site that provides advice on keywords. Free evaluation available. He is also the inventor of CID, which is an altenative to KEI.