Any company’s goal is to increase the amount of relevant traffic to their website. Expanding your business into different countries is one way to achieve this, but it must be done with care.

How can your new client base find you if you don’t feature highly enough on search engine results? Well, sadly, they will struggle. But with the help of a multilingual link building campaign, you can see your ranking soar along with your site’s traffic. The question is, how do you know where to start building links across Europe? Let’s take a look…

Pinpoint your target region

First of all, make sure you know exactly where you are targeting. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t approach the whole of Europe all at once. Look at your company and decide which country it makes sense to start with. Let’s say a colleague speaks French, or maybe you have always holidayed close to Nice. In that case, it makes sense to start with France.

Consider the population of the country. Targeting a country with a higher population is likely to generate more sales. The chart below shows the 15 countries in Europe with the highest populations.

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Pool your resources and start carrying out research into this market, rather than going all-out and taking on too much.

Research your keywords

Now that you have established a focus country or region, it is important to carry out thorough keyword research. You almost certainly have a very definite idea of your focus keywords in English, so you simply need to translate them into the language of your chosen country, right? Wrong. This is a common mistake among companies branching out internationally. The search terms used in, say, Spain, may well be very different to those used in the UK or US and have different connotations or even meanings.

Some languages prioritise the English version of a search term, particularly common in scientific or technical fields, or in topics relating to modern phenomena. Carrying out a direct translation of the English may well prove to be counterproductive, which is why it is important to hire a specialist company with expertise in the market of the country you are targeting.

Similarly, don’t rely on your high school French. Languages change and evolve, and so do their spellings, so make sure you are up-to-date or you will stick out like a sore thumb to native speakers in your sought-after country.

Targeting the right keywords is important in a link-building campaign because these keywords should be included in the content linking back to your site – whether in the title of an article, in the anchor text, or in the body of the content itself. Note, it’s important to use a mix of anchor texts (sometimes simply using the naked URL, and on other occasions using a generic term like ‘click here’), making sure you have the right keywords as anchor texts for links to your website will improve your Google ranking in your focus country.

Use guest posts

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The importance of guest posts cannot be underestimated when it comes to European link building. Guest posts can serve numerous purposes, including boosting your SEO and your visibility in SERPs, but can also be used to drive sales if the post will be read by many of your target customers. Make sure you know which goal you are chasing with each guest post that you write or commission.

Don’t be tempted to skimp on the quality of your content, either. An engaging article with a unique angle can last years into the future. It will be read, absorbed, enjoyed and shared far more than a spammy, low-quality piece of writing which has only been written to incorporate a backlink.

Crucial to the success of your use of guest posts, is where you choose to place them. While there are often blogs which will accept a guest post, remember that not all sites are equal. This aspect of expanding into a non-native country can be a challenge; understanding whether one blogging site is more appropriate than another requires nuance and an in-depth knowledge of that country’s market. That’s why it may be of benefit to hire a multilingual company with expertise in European SEO to ensure you are not wasting your time creating guest posts for low-value sites.

Localise your content

When branching out into other countries and markets, it can be tempting to adopt exactly the same strategy as you used in your native country. However, it is always worth bearing in mind that each country has its own expectations and ways of doing things. In the same way that keywords can vary enormously, so too can cultural norms and expectations. Often, we write content that has an assumed understanding of that nation’s background.

In the UK, for example, most of us would get the reference if we mentioned Private Eye or Blue Peter. Chances are, though, only a handful of Germans would have a clue what you were talking about. If you mentioned Titanic magazine on the other hand, the reference to satire would be understood.

Keep your company blog updated

While most companies have a blog section on their website, many are not updated regularly. Taking the time to post topical and engaging content on your own website’s blog is a fruitful way of actively promoting your own site, engaging with your existing and future customers and instigating shares which lead directly to your site. Keep your blog posts as relevant as possible without making them spammy. That way, if it is engaging enough, it comes with no time-limit. Quality content can keep on producing traffic back to your site well into the future.

Writing in-depth blogs that include statistics or how to guides are likely to generate links from other articles themselves, meaning some of your link building will be done for you.

Consider submitting to directories

Finding a high-quality international directory can also form an important component of building links in Europe. Since Google’s recent updates, it is important to make sure you select a directory with high domain authority. Choosing one which specialises in listings in your particular field also comes with benefits and can generate sales from building awareness of your brand, too. Directory submissions generate natural links back to your site, but ensure you submit unique content to each.

Not sure which directory to approach? Simply start with any that appear in the first few pages of the search results on Google for an important keyword.

European link building might seem daunting at first. Branching out into a new country and market requires careful research to avoid the pitfalls. Follow our simple tips and guidance and you will see your brand soar in no time at all! Good luck!