International Social Media and SEO

Many businesses fail to recognise the value in marketing to an international audience. When designing your website and planning your social media strategy it is worth looking at expanding your reach beyond the UK. The main benefit is the reduced competition when advertising overseas, particularly in areas where the internet user base is rapidly growing, such as India.

International Social Media

Internet users across the world have embraced social media sites and with new web users, there are new marketing opportunities.

From the social media map above the first thing that strikes you is how widespread Facebook has become, a hugely popular social networking site with well over 500 million users. No wonder it was recently valued at over £32.2 billion.

What is also very apparent is that 3 of the largest geographical locations, Russia, China and Brazil, each have their own social networking site that is more popular than Facebook. You may be familiar with Google’s Orkut, which has over 100 million users, 48% of which are from Brazil and 39% from India. Two sites that you may be less familiar with are V Kontakte and QZone (QQ). V Kontakte is very popular in Russia but has failed to expand beyond the borders; however, it boasts over 130 million accounts (though many thought to be spam accounts). QQ is China’s version to Facebook and is, by all accounts, massive! In September 2010 the active QQ users accounts for QQ IM amounted to 636.6 million.

So next time you are creating or revising your social media strategy don’t forget to look at incorporating a more global strategy. Sites such as Internet World Stats and will help provide you with the stats you need to back up your business plan.

International SEO

International SEO is a concept that has become more and more important in the last few years. With the rise of web users in Asia, Europe and South America, it is no longer enough to simple optimise your site for local searches. The purpose of ISEO (International SEO) is to increase the chance of your website ranking highly in search results across a multitude of different search engines with different languages, terms and phrases. Below are a few points to consider when revising your SEO strategy;


Using automated translations is often far cheaper than hiring a translator, however, when your brand is entering into a new market in a foreign speaking country it is vital to ensure your dialect blends in. Machines often make little errors in localisation that can have big consequences. When using social media sites that require quick responses the need for accuracy is even greater, it is also worth noting that a tweet in English may take up 140 characters but when translated into Arabic, it may be a lot longer. Try to get the best of both worlds by combining human translators with useful, time-saving software.


One of the biggest challenges to finding your target audience, in the international market, is anticipating how phrases differentiate across the world and even within different regions in a country. For example in America a person may be searching to buy a rubbish bin and could use the term “garbage”, “trash”, “can”, “basket” etc. depending on their region.

If you plan to incorporate ISEO in you next site to target people from a particular country/region then do some research on the common terms used for your products.

Register a Local Domain

A great tip when trying to market in other search engines, such as Baidu (largest Chinese search engine), is to register a local domain such as .cn or or

Google is has possibly the most advanced search engine algorithm available, international search engines are still a few years behind as seen in Baidu’s algorithm where metadata and higher ad spend are still important ranking factors.

International marketing can pose many difficulties but with the UK marketplace becoming increasingly competitive it is always worthwhile to take some time to see if there are other locations to expand into.

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