Let us bring your brand to the next level, start SPACING!



    Our expertise and passion for online marketing set us apart from other agencies. Stay inspired & don’t miss anything more.

    Keyword Research For International SEO

    international seo keyword research

    Table of Contents

    Are you already familiar with conducting keyword research for your website? If so, you probably know how essential this process is for optimizing your online presence and attracting the right audience.

    But if you’re planning to expand your business to international markets, standard keyword research is not enough. This is where international keyword research comes into play.

    Conducting international keyword research goes a step further than the traditional process. It’s not just a matter of translating existing keywords into another language.

    A carefully executed international keyword research forms the foundation of your international search engine optimization strategy. It helps you not only to reach the right audience in different countries but also to understand how different cultures and languages can influence your keyword strategy.

    How does foreign keyword research differ from domestic research?

    When you conduct keyword research for a niche in the Netherlands, you base the strategy on the language and search habits of your target audience within the Netherlands. You might think that expanding to an international market is just a matter of translating your keywords into the relevant language.

    However, effective international keyword research goes beyond just translating. It takes into account the unique ways people search for and use information on the internet in different countries. Keywords that are popular in the Netherlands may be less relevant in another country or even have a completely different meaning.

    Therefore, it’s important to understand the key differences of foreign keyword research so that you can effectively adapt and optimize your SEO strategy for an international audience.

    Language (Localization)

    A simple translation of your keywords is often not sufficient to meet the needs of local users. This is because each country has its own language nuances, dialects, and sometimes even unique expressions that influence search behavior.

    For example, a word used in the Netherlands may have a very different meaning in Belgium, despite both countries speaking Dutch. Therefore, localization – the process of adapting your content and keywords to local customs and language use – is essential.

    When localizing keywords, you need to consider various factors, such as local dialects and jargon, and even the way local markets describe specific products or services.

    This means that you sometimes need to deviate from direct translations and look for terms that actually resonate with the local audience. Thus, keywords that are popular in one country may have less search volume or relevance in another country, or even carry negative connotations.

    Cultural Differences

    Cultural differences and nuances have a significant impact on the search behavior of users in different countries. What is considered normal search behavior in one country may be unusual or irrelevant in another country.

    These differences can range from general areas of interest to specific ways in which products or services are searched for and valued. Knowledge of local search intentions and understanding how cultural aspects influence search queries is therefore essential.

    For instance, certain search queries may peak in popularity during holidays or local events. Such insights can help you strategically plan your content and keywords around these events.

    Additionally, the way people consume information and value different types of content can vary greatly. Understanding these cultural nuances can help you communicate more effectively with your audience and increase the relevance of your website in different markets.

    Search Engine Usage

    The market share of search engines can vary greatly by country, which has a significant impact on your international SEO strategy. While Google is dominant in many countries, there are regions where local search engines are preferred.

    In China, for example, Baidu is the leading search engine, while in Russia, Yandex is a major player. This means that you need to not only adapt your keywords to the language and culture of the country you are targeting but also to the specific algorithms and optimization rules of the dominant search engines in those markets.

    Adapting your strategy to different search engines requires research into their unique algorithms, user behavior, and preferences. This may mean that you need to apply different SEO techniques or structure your content differently to perform better on these platforms.

    Local Market Trends

    Understanding local market trends is crucial for successfully conducting an international keyword research. Seasonal searches, local events, and specific consumer preferences can all significantly influence search behavior.

    For example, during a keyword research for the American market, you might discover that there is a peak in searches for ‘turkey recipes’ around Thanksgiving. However, this trend is likely not relevant in countries where Thanksgiving is not celebrated.

    Also consider seasonal products or services; what is popular in one country during the summer months might be more relevant in another country during the winter. Analyzing these trends requires access to local market data and the ability to translate this information into effective SEO strategies.

    Monitoring local market trends not only helps you find relevant keywords but also allows you to tailor your content calendar and marketing campaigns to local demand. This ensures a more targeted and effective approach to international markets, maximizing your chances of success in different regions.

    How do you conduct an international keyword research?

    Conducting international keyword research essentially follows the same basic principles as a domestic inquiry but requires additional steps and considerations to be successful.

    The first step is always to understand your own market and identify core keywords that are relevant to your business. These keywords form the basis of your international keyword research.

    After this initial step, there are several crucial differences and additional steps you must take to conduct an effective international keyword research. These steps include translating and localizing keywords, understanding local search engines and market trends, and validating the effectiveness of your keywords in different markets.

    1. Identify your target keywords

    Identifying your target keywords is the first step in any keyword research, whether it’s domestic or international.

    In this phase, you conduct a detailed investigation in your own language to understand the local market. This helps you lay a solid foundation for searching for the right keywords in other languages. Look at search volumes, the difficulty of keywords, and the search intent behind the queries.

    By thoroughly analyzing these elements, you can compile a list of relevant keywords that serve as the starting point for your international keyword research. This is a crucial step because it determines the direction in which you will develop your research and SEO strategy for different markets.

    2. Translate the keywords

    After establishing a solid base of target keywords in your own language, the next step is to translate these keywords into the language of the target market. It is important to emphasize that while this is a crucial step, it is just the beginning. Simply translating is not sufficient to conduct an effective international keyword research.

    Translating keywords ensures that you have a basic list of potential target keywords in the language of the market you want to enter. However, as we have often mentioned, it is crucial to further localize and validate these translated keywords to ensure their effectiveness in the target market.

    3. Localize the keywords

    Localizing keywords is an essential step in conducting a thorough international keyword research. After translating the base list of keywords, you need to adjust them to meet the specific needs and search behavior of users in the target market.

    Localization goes beyond simple translation; it involves taking into account cultural nuances, local expressions, and even the specific way people in different countries search for information.

    An example of the importance of localization is the keyword ‘supermarket’. In America, people often refer to ‘grocery store’, while a Brit typically uses the term ‘supermarket’. This highlights the importance of localizing keywords.

    When localizing keywords, you should therefore research how local markets describe certain products or services and what terms they use to search for them.

    This step requires in-depth market research and sometimes consulting local SEO experts or native speakers who can provide insights into the most effective way to adapt your keywords for the target market.

    4. Validate the usability of your keywords

    After translating and localizing the keywords, it is important to validate the usability of these keywords in the target market. This process helps you confirm that the chosen keywords are actually relevant to your target audience and have the potential to drive traffic to your website.

    Validating localized keywords can be done in various ways, such as using keyword research tools, analyzing competitors, and leveraging local market knowledge.

    Tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Google Keyword Planner can help you validate the usability of specific keywords. These tools provide valuable insights into search volume, competition, and the relevance of keywords in specific markets.

    By using these tools, you can specifically search for keywords in a particular language and, in some cases even a specific geographic location, to identify local keywords that perform best.

    Additionally, conducting a local competitor analysis is crucial. Look at what keywords your competitors in the target market are using and how they rank. This not only provides insight into the market but also helps you identify opportunities where you might gain an advantage.

    By validating the usability of your keywords, choosing the right subfolder or subdomain, you ensure that your SEO strategy is aligned with the actual needs and search behavior of the local market, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of your international expansion.

    How a good international keyword research contributes to the international SEO strategy

    A thorough and carefully executed international keyword research is the foundation of any successful international SEO strategy. By identifying the right keywords, translating, localizing, and validating them, you lay the groundwork for attracting the right audience in different countries.

    The insights gained from an international keyword research enable you to create targeted content that aligns with the search intentions and needs of local users. This leads to improved visibility, higher click-through rates, and ultimately more conversions.

    Moreover, an internationally oriented SEO approach helps you compete more effectively in the global market by better understanding how different markets operate and what resonates there.

    In summary, international keyword research is more than just a technical necessity; it’s a strategic tool that helps you bridge cultural boundaries and successfully position your business in various international markets.

    Want more organic traffic?

    From the way we operate to the way we structure our contracts, we’re not here to bill you for busy work, we’re here to help you land big cases.
    Mees Vermolen, Founder

    Your Website Is Losing Money!

    Find out how many leads your website SHOULD be getting through our Traffic Projection Analysis.

    Also interesting:

    Is Your Website Costing You Clients?

    Find Out How Many New Cases Your Website SHOULD Be Getting Through Our Traffic Projection Analysis.

    A data driven analysis that accurately forecasts how much traffic (and cases) your website should be getting from Google each month.
    results-compare-2 results-compare-1