The 2016 conference of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) offered a diverse lineup of offerings for attendees to choose from. Chris Raulf's well-attended session "International Search Engine Optimization" was packed with practical advice on international search engine optimization (ISEO) for individuals, companies, and their clients.
Raulf has an extensive background in localization and internationalization, and is the founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a top-tier boutique online marketing agency located in Colorado. His GALA 2016 session included "an introduction to the five pillars of SEO, an overview of the ISEO process, the international and multilingual keyword research process, technical considerations of the ISEO process, and tools and technologies to support the ISEO process."
Raulf, who regularly leads SEO training workshops and boot camps, stressed that his presentation would just give an overview of this complex and multi-faceted topic, but that the audience would still leave with some actionable takeaways, which they certainly did.
To illustrate the critical importance of ranking high on Google search results, Raulf asked participants what the best place would be to hide a dead body. His answer: page two of Google search results. The reason? No one ever looks there!
Raulf then made a strong case for businesses to offer high-quality multilingual ISEO. He pointed out three key incentives: the ability to upsell to existing clients, a rapidly growing market, and excellent money to be made. But he cautioned that, while it might seem obvious, no one should offer SEO without first mastering SEO.
According to Raulf, SEO success hinges on passion, knowledge, resources, and time. He stressed the critical importance of utilizing both high-quality content and SEO best practices. "It's all about high-quality content," said Raulf, "so if you can infuse your high-quality content with SEO best practices, that is a winning combination."
The five pillars
After sharing some real-life examples of the growth that is possible with well-executed SEO, Raulf delved into the inner workings of Google's ranking process. He assured everyone that rather than being rocket science, it was actually extremely easy to understand.
Raulf then outlined what he referred to as the five pillars of SEO methodology, providing many helpful examples along the way. These pillars comprise a website's technical health, such as overall functionality and user experience; on-page search engine optimization, which could include keyword research, adding meta tags, or re-optimizing content; off-page search engine optimization, or anything done outside of the website to alert search engines to a site's relevant keywords and phrases; and social media marketing, with an emphasis on high-quality blogging.
Raulf also gave the audience a heads-up that beginning in May 2016, websites that are not optimized for mobile devices will be downgraded in Google searches.
Raulf then moved the discussion from SEO to ISEO and demonstrated some of the current tools for multilingual keyword research, such as Google Global Market Finder and Google Keyword Planner. Emphasizing the importance of research and maintenance, he also provided a number of resources for further reading, as well as a checklist for routine SEO maintenance practices.
As Raulf stated at the beginning of his session, his 90-minute presentation could only scratch the surface of all there is to know about SEO and ISEO; likewise, his informative and content-rich presentation covered much more than can be conveyed here. Fortunately, the recording and downloads for Raulf's session are both available and definitely worth checking out.
Chris Raulf's entire 90-minute session "International Search Engine Optimization," including a generous 60-page download of all of the slides used in his presentation, is available on the GALA website. Access to the conference video is free for registered attendees and $60 for non-attendees.