When I just started my marketing career I read tons of information about the term “localization”. The more I read the more questions I had. Questions like what does it mean? Why it’s so important, what you actually should do when planning to localize your product / service? and what exactly do you benefit from it?
To help answer all those questions, GeoSurf analyzed, sorted, screenshotted and published this highly informative content only to get things straight when it comes to localization.
It’s important to state that All data and screenshots gathered in a 2 weeks period but every comparison you see was made on the same day and within 1 hour, providing true insights as they occur on different SERPs around the globe.
A fancy word describing the act of checking what your competitors doing, finding new markets with new opportunities and adjusting your strategy accordingly on every possible geographical location (Geo).
In more depth, search engine localization refers to the practice of utilizing new local markets around the world, creating specific content to those different localities to your business benefit. This practice should result in more users (quantity and quality) to your website and more conversions (i.e. more money which is always good).
Localization can be broken down by many aspects and I’ll cover only country-level localization and city-level localization on the conceptual level.
Let’s learn by example shall we?
In the example above, I entered Google and typed in “moz” as the search query (02/04/2018). I used GeoSurf’s residential proxies to transfer my physical location to Austria, US and eventually UK. What immediately jumps out of the screenshots is the fact UK and Austria’s Google SERPs are identical when it comes to the knowledge graph.
Did you notice how Alexa and Search Engine Land aren’t active participants in US SERPs? Why is this happening anyway? I’m sure that Screaming Frog and WordStream can enjoy European traffic as well – but they prefer to ignore that, or do they?
The next screenshot shows the main part of the same exact SERPs. SE Ranking and SEMrush are bidding on the keyword “moz” and the first even included “MOZ-alternative” in their AdWords campaign:
This is exactly “Search Engine Localization”. You see, whenever you perform a query on Google, it wants to provide you with the most relevant data. Localized data is just a part of what “relevant” is.
The interesting part starts when we search an un-branded query. Let’s do just that with “SEO”.
With the above query, we see major differences in SERPs.
First off, the amount of paid results in UK is way greater than the amount of paid results in US and Austria combined. Perhaps the time differences can explain this issue because no way someone will pass the US market, especially in the SEO industry.
Second, even though MOZ still dominates the markets overall, smaller businesses have an opportunity especially in Austria and UK since Wikipedia articles can be outranked if you’re super relevant to the semantic meaning of the provided query (LSI of “SEO”).
Semantic meaning or Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is Google’s own ranking system that categorizes search terms by mutual semantic meaning. For example, “indian pasta recipes” will be closely related to the query “how to prepare pasta at home” and Google will choose to rank the same websites in pretty much the same order on both queries. Check it out yourself and tell us what you found.
Third, let’s look only at the “People also ask” box. Can you spot the major semantic difference? Hint: ‘I’ vs. ‘You’.
In UK, where people used to talk in English all their life, when they search for SEO relevant queries they do it with ‘you’ as opposed to the more dominant (and selling!) writing style we see all across the internet of ‘I’.
‘How do I do SEO for my website’ is semantically equal to the phrase ‘What SEO can do for your business’ because both queries, 1 for each geo-location, will return similar results about optimizing your website or business, which are the same in this industry, with SEO techniques.
OK, we’ve got it going on. Semantic differences helps me (you or everybody) localize their products online – what’s next?
Same as translating a book or watching a foreign movie with English subtitles – business owners with a basic website and an aspiring international product can translate their service to different languages.
In general, you could say that localizing a product by country is basically dividing your product or web service into pieces that each piece is fully customized for a specific market in a specific country. The customization is done by translating your website, semantically proof your content to fit the market and spy on your competition to gain insights on this market specifications in order to get ranked above them eventually.
But language is easy right? Let’s dive deeper and break down the US market by City level. I queried Google for ‘Pizza’:
We immediately see different results as we expected. For Google, the Pizza places that are most relevant for the user are the Pizzas right next to him / her. It’s logical when we deal with a physical business that can’t grow to other cities without actually building another Pizza place in another city.
With digital businesses it’s different.
First, the people who run a local digital business keeps forgetting they can localise their business to lots of other relevant cities or even countries. Second, it’s cost nothing (or close to nothing) to expand your digital business to other geographical locations so.. Why not?
In the SEO industry, most experts working toward full localization of their business. That said, I want to focus on a longer or more specified search term – also called ‘long-tail keyword’.
In the same exact cities (Brooklyn, Buffalo and Rochester) we conducted a Google search with ‘what is seo and how it works’ as the long-tail KW. This is what we found:
|KW||City||# of results (difficulty)|
|What is SEO and how it works||Brooklyn||2,220,000|
Did you notice that the first result (and result #0) belongs to Shopify? How come an E-commerce website outrank other, well established, SEO agencies? Is it well optimized content for the specific query? Links?
Maybe all together and just MAYBE…. SEO agencies don’t convert on this term while E-commerce sellers do. Which mean SEOers don’t have anything to do with this term so it’s not worth ranking.
Besides the fact it’s ultra-hard to rank on Rochester’s SERPs with a whopping 82M results (!!) alejandrorioja.com domain successfully manage to seize 2 out of 3 localized SERPs on the 4th position. Alejandrorioja got outranked in Brooklyn by lyfemarketing.com.
Why it happened can be always reverse-engineered and be of assistant when trying to mimic the exact same marketing efforts or even outrank them.
When dealing with city-level localization the semantic meaning and competitors analysis are way more important in most cases but you have to remember – some countries around the world have more than 1 national language and sometimes the strategies used at the country-level can help your city-level localization.
The point is – you can have full control over Google SERPs when it comes to queries relevant to your business. First you analyse, then you make conclusions which are the base for all future strategies. This is why a good proxy, one without IP leakage from real residential IPs is of the essence.
Make marketing decisions that counts! Get GeoSurf Real Residential IPs Proxy Network today.