We recently published a webinar special, looking into the challenges with International SEO and how that impacts areas such as website structure, content and brand strategy.

Today we’re zeroing in on one of the topics discussed as part of the webinar: Establishing the optimum social media strategy to assist with international SEO

Jump straight this question in the webinar video below:

'It requires that local knowledge to leverage the right channels in the right way' @mfleischner Click To Tweet


DAVID BAIN: So building this personality, it almost relates to social media. Lukasz, I know that you’re a fan of a few different social networks, and you’re very curious, I think, about the impact that social can have on…not directly in web rankings, but the influence it can probably have on authority of websites then, as a result, web rankings over the long-term as well. In relation to social media, do you think that’s it’s also good to have separate social media accounts for each country website? Or do you think you’re better off having just one main social account, and it’s acceptable to be speaking in lots of different languages in that one main social account?

LUKASZ ZELEZNY: Again, this is a very good question. The problem is the number of resources you need. Right now, managing a fan page of the company is like a full-time job. It’s a full-time job. So KLM I’m always giving as an example. They have about 30 people or more that are dealing with their Twitter. So the question is, what resources you have. If not much, maybe one fan page is enough, and then communication is going in English. If you start mixing it, that look super-weird.

On one fan page, there is a message in English, Chinese, Japanese, and so on and so on. If you have more resources, maybe localised pages for specific. I would say, make these pages match the CCTLD. If you have a company name, .jp for Japan, make the same Facebook page so it matches. Again, for LinkedIn, it’s giving fantastic opportunity because the same profile you can translate for many languages. Again touching these questions, and this topic about tone of voice.

So Twitter, most of the people are using English because Twitter… In Poland, for example, having a Polish version of Twitter wouldn’t be that beneficial because Twitter is not yet that popular in Poland. If you have Japanese version of the website, maybe it’s worth considering, because as far as I remember – and I’m always saying this in conferences – Japanese love Twitter because they’re using two or three letter words. So 140 letters is like an essay. So it’s very, very popular in Japan.

Again, there is no straightforward answer, I’m very sorry. But there is an answer based on research, and the resources you need, and the popularity of the platform. Let’s say Chinese; if you’re targeting Chinese, maybe it’s good to have a profile on Weibo, for example. So I would go first with research, and then I would decide if I’m localising social media fully, partly, or I’m not localising.

DAVID BAIN: Michael F., do you think there’s any indication to think that having local social media profiles, from the country that you’re targeting, will assist with driving more relevant local traffic to the site. Probably yes, first of all, but also demonstrating to search engines that your webpages are definitively for those countries, and therefore making search engines more comfortable that it should be ranking those pages in those local search engines.

MICHAEL FLEISCHNER: Yeah. I think, David, actually there are two points that I want to address, and maybe give some thoughts on. The first is, as we were kind of talking about, I like where Lukasz and Michael are going with the tone, because I think it’s so important.

I actually disagree a little bit, in the sense that I feel that having a local asset on the ground, who understands your business as well as the local digital space, is the way to go. I understand that there are some resource constraints. Look, we deal with companies are small shops. They’re trying to expand into those markets because maybe they’ve started selling their products or services through eBay or Amazon, or some other international platforms, but they really don’t have the local resources.

So I understand the challenges there, but I think one of the reasons why it is so important is largely because of this nuance, that in Japan, the way they interact with Twitter is very different than it is in the UK, or the States, or Poland, for that matter. I think having that insight is really vital because I believer personally, just based on the work that I’ve done, that the Google algorithm is not the same across every country. I think yes, many of the criteria are exactly the same. You have to create a positive user experience, and they’re evaluating that with their 200-plus factors, but I think it is evolving in certain countries, and it’s not exactly the same.

So, to answer your question, I feel that the social media influence does vary from country to country. Here in the US, I just saw something. I’m sorry. I just saw something recently about the impact that Twitter’s having on website authority, and impacting ranking, so on and so forth. That’s relatively new in the US. We’ve always known the impact of Twitter, but now there are actual studies showing that this is in fact a legitimate influencer on rankings.

So I don’t know if there’s really a simple answer to the question other than to say that the social media channels are important, but I would say maybe the engagement in a relative sense is all that more important. Meaning that, if in a particular country, Twitter is the dominant social media channel, I’m sure Google is picking up on that. It’s not just about having a channel, or having a profile, it’s about the quality of the content, the level of engagement, and the utilisation of that channel that really has the impact. So it’s kind of a circuitous answer to your question, but I think it does require that local knowledge to leverage the right channels in the right way.

Remember to watch the full international SEO webinar recording here.