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Take the guesswork out of international growth by using SEO techniques to identify prime markets

Posted 15 June 2021

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Growing your brand internationally often brings with it an element of risk, guesswork and trial and error before discovering the true potential of your target markets. What if there was a way to get a clear picture of how much demand there is for your products and services in untested markets before you invest a penny into marketing and translation?

Website translation and localisation remains one of the fastest ways to penetrate a new market, and combined with an effective SEO, PPC & Social strategy, accurate traffic can be rapidly and sustainably attained to multiply your business’s international revenues.

More often than not, however, international growth strategies fail to effectively leverage freely available real-world data during the decision-making process when selecting new markets to focus on, resulting in wasted time and budget that could be allocated to much more promising projects.

A data-driven approach to decision making

Keyword research has been the backbone of SEO ever since search engines started indexing websites. The process of evaluating monthly organic search volumes of potential keywords is essential as it establishes which terms are worth implementing on-site, topics for your content strategy and which websites you should be targeting as part of your link-building outreach.

Without thorough keyword research from the outset of your project, there is a large chance of missing out on the most profitable search terms and thereby minimising the effectiveness of your search engine optimisation.

On a larger scale, keyword research also provides valuable insights on search volumes for untested markets. The case is clear here for engaging with your SEO team (whether internal or external) before you make the decision to commit to expanding in one particular direction.

Through the process of keyword research, you can identify which markets have a clear business case for driving a respectable return on investment.

Discovering untraditional growth markets

Ordinarily, UK businesses often look to France, Germany and Spain when scaling up their operations, partly due to the size of their economies and their geographical location. A more nuanced approach based on search data though might find that markets such as Poland and Russia offer better opportunities due to high levels of search intent and low levels of competition.


Carrying out keyword research in your target market’s language is essential. Simply translating your UK keywords will not give the best results, however, as some of the top keywords only exist in the target language. Instead of translating your keywords, make sure you work with native-speaker SEO experts who have local knowledge of the area you are targeting.

Ruling out unviable markets before investment is made

Search trends are an excellent way to gather a snapshot of the markets you are considering, and in many cases, they provide the information you need to establish the viability of a new market. It is especially relevant for countries with low populations, or niche industry sectors that gather very few if any searches online in some markets. This really illustrates the importance of conducting keyword research before any further commitments are made.

Optimising content for each individual market

Having researched your potential markets based on keyword research also enables your team to optimise your content for your new audiences during the translation or transcreation process. This goal-led approach is far more effective than traditional translation models in which the focus is on translating the source text, as it helps you drive success in your target markets.

Other factors to consider

Naturally, there are several other factors to consider before moving into new markets, such as the availability of distribution networks and costs, currency exchange rates, taxes and regulations. These should be studied to establish an estimated average sale or transaction value to appropriate a projected ROI.

Additionally, it must not be assumed that because organic search is a successful marketing channel for your business in the UK that it will produce similar or better results overseas. Each market should be viewed in isolation when creating a marketing strategy – for example, brands trading in China tend to focus on paid ads and social media.


To find out how ALM can help you build a goal-led data-driven localisation strategy, contact us today!


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