• Dan White

USING GOOGLE ADS TO TEST INTERNATIONAL SEO


It’s a quick one from me today following on from my last article about analysing international business potential with SEO.

In it I went through a process you can use to assess the demand and competition out there when it comes to ranking your products in the organic SERP’s in different territories around the world. Now, assuming you are planning on pressing ahead with international expansion there’s one other major consideration. Even if you do rank in the organic SERP’s - will your products actually sell?

International SEO is notoriously complicated and even if your technical configuration is correct the time, effort and energy to rank pages in another language is major. So why not test things beforehand?

INTERNATIONAL PPC

In any international SEO projects in the future I’m going to be recommending clients set up and run test PPC campaigns in Google Ads.

Why? Because you can pretty much immediately* tap into traffic to start assessing it’s performance on your website.

*There’s naturally caveats here. I’m fully aware that you can’t just flick the PPC switch and that the keyword research, ad creative and technical setup takes time. It also takes time to refine your messaging, landing pages and bid adjustments in order to achieve a good flow of quality traffic. However, achieving this can be counted in weeks whereas SEO is counted in months - if not years.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM INTERNATIONAL ADS

Within a relatively short space of time of running Google Ads you’ll be able to see:

  • What messaging works with international customers

  • How your international customers are using your website

  • Where your international customers are falling off

  • What products your international customers are buying

All of this gives you valuable insights for how different areas across your complete marketing funnel could be adjusted while you’re making the efforts to rank organically. You may find that:

  • Messaging that works with UK customers doesn’t convince people in other countries to click or convert

  • International customers may be more or less interested in different features and benefits you’ve listed (or not listed) in your website copy

  • Your international checkout options or currency conversion features may not be working - or are deterring people from making a purchase

  • Certain product ranges may be vastly more or less popular compared to UK markets depending on the how the price and product sits alongside competitors in foreign markets

THE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL PPC ON INTERNATIONAL SEO

If you know from your international SEO business research what the demand is for key products in the English speaking market of a foreign territory then you can always start by running English Ads and then expand outwards hiring a translator to surface your Ads to speakers of other languages.

You may even find from doing this that a market is so poor there’s little point aiming to rank organically. By contrast you may realise that the demand is so strong that you want to double down on tapping into a yet untapped market. Whether it’s good or bad you control the spend so you can switch up or switch off your advertising depending on whether or not it’s working for you.

Then if everything is working well, crack on with your international SEO efforts and open up new markets. If you’re not quite done with planning then I’d also recommend reading about how you can use Google Keyword Planner to assess sales potential here to understand the full ROI of your efforts.