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Headless WordPress And More With Ivan Popov

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Headless WordPress And More With Ivan Popov

While attending WordCamp Porto, I had an opportunity to attend Ivan Popov’s presentation on Headless WordPress. It is one of the obscure areas for SEO, and I want to share a few insights with SEJ readers.

Headless WordPress brings the opportunity to feed many channels from your WordPress install.

One can push data from WordPress into:

  • Mobile app.
  • Website.
  • Third-party apps.
Image source: Slide from Ivan Popov’s presentation at WordCamp 2022

It makes WordPress more than just a CMS; it integrates into the whole ecosystem of web and mobile apps where users can still take advantage of using the WordPress admin panel.

It also brings developers from modern technologies such as React.js or Node.js into a WordPress world and makes it attractive to the younger generation of developers who prefer to learn modern programming languages.

But, the main question for SEOs still is, “What does it mean for SEO?”

In order to learn more, I have done a short interview with Ivan Popov, CEO of Vipe Studio and a speaker at WordCamp Europe 2022.

Headless WordPress is one of the obscure areas for SEOs. A lot of SEOs don’t understand why it is used for or what it should be used for. When should Headless WordPress be used and when should it not be used?

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Ivan Popov: “I believe the Headless real value is coming when we are having a high traffic website, a really visited one, for example. We are just not talking about hundreds of visits we are talking about millions of users.

They need real power and they need real value counts because it’s not the technology that is suitable just for starting business. It is more of the expensive ones that I really advise to be used only if your website is getting enough value and it is big enough.”

 Ivan Popov’s presentation on Headless WordPressThe average hourly rate of React developers is higher than WordPress. Image source: Slide from Ivan Popov’s presentation at WordCamp 2022

“Also, the SEO problem can be resolved. It can be fully SEO-ready, but it is not just like WordPress where you can simply install a plugin and make it work.

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Here, you need developers to do the job – even the simplest task requires developers to do it.

As long as you can invest in your technical team, every SEO problem you may face is resolvable – fully resolvable.”

If you have a simple business website, like a company website or a simple shop, you should not worry about using Headless. You mentioned that it’s suitable for high-traffic websites. How many users per day, per hour?

Ivan Popov: “We are speaking about heavily visited websites. Like for example, if they have a thousand visitors every second, or ten thousand readers right now online reading the news, so we’re really speaking about highly visited websites.

Headless does not rely on caching, which is essential when it comes to highly dynamic websites which have personalized content, job postings, or listings websites with hundreds of thousands of webpages.

Caching risks the user to not always receive a fresh copy of the webpage, while Headless will always provide the live data.”

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Did you see any indexing issues Headless websites may suffer from? Any SEO issues from Headless?

Ivan Popov: “Not only have I haven’t seen any issues, but I have seen benefits because Headless WordPress websites, for example, provide perfect green (Core Web Vital) scores from page speed tester tools and also the web dev tools testers.

And because of those green results and good grades, the websites are actually benefiting with SEO rather than having issues.”

So, you didn’t see any indexing issues, such as pages dropping from indexing?

Ivan Popov: “No, as long as everything is setup correctly, there is not an issue that can occur.”

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So, it comes down to basic best SEO practices that should be implemented with Headless WordPress. If implemented, will the website get ranked normally?

Ivan Popov: “Absolutely. The thing here is that it is not like plugins that are just plug-in and play.

You need the technicians that need to do everything manually. But as long as it’s set up correctly, there is nothing that you can lose the rankings from.”

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For those who want to learn Headless WordPress, what kind of educational materials do you recommend?

Ivan Popov: “Because everything is open-sourced, you can just try to learn this like you traditionally approach new technology. Just read as much material as you can. There are a lot of free materials as well.

Everything is open-sourced. There is a community. So, everything is just starting. Starting a project – the first project is the hardest – but then try to do as complicated things as possible, and you will learn naturally just like approaching any new technology.”

In your presentation, you mentioned that Headless WordPress based on NextJS is more SEO friendly than ReactJS. Can you please expand on that more in what kind of issues one might run into when using ReactJS and what kind of opportunities are given NextJS as you name it a more SEO-friendly framework?

Ivan Popov: “For example, if we are using a setup with ReactJS and reading the data from the REST API, then we rely on real time communication between the REST API on WordPress and the ReactJS website.

That’s why, at some point, this communication can interfere or something can be fetched, which is not super reliable when it comes to SEO because SEO relies that Google has quick access to meta, SEO titles, description titles – things like these.

Those are the issues that can result, but for example if you are using next website with, let’s say, graph communicator, then we have everything server side pre-rendered, and then we have no issues at all.”

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Basically Google is able to index meta descriptions as a part of HTML and not at the rendering phase. Rendering sometimes may take big computing resources and Google may drop off from indexing during rendering. 

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Ivan Popov: “Yes, correct.”

In case of ecommerce, when would you recommend Headless? For eocmmerce stores with a certain number of products, customers, etc. in order to consider switching to Headless. 

Ivan Popov: “When using it for ecommerce, we should be really careful. It is scaling for large shops not for any shop but for a large shop. We are basically building everything from scratch.

When it comes to woo ecommerce, we have plugins for payment types and shipping providers. If you are switching to Headless, our developers need to code those integrations.

So, now our developers need to code integrations for payment providers and integrations for shipping providers.

So, we will still benefit because our webstore is becoming super fast and getting served globally to millions of customers, but on the other side, the investment is a lot bigger because you need to invest in coding every single functionality your website is involved in.”

In the case of ecommerce, is it better to consider other platforms instead of Headless?

Ivan Popov: “I cannot say this because I’m a die hard WordPress fan, but you need to make sure the investment is worth it.”

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Conclusion

Headless WordPress is a complex tech, and using it should be justified by business goals.

It is completely redundant and waste of budget to use Headless WordPress when you have basic website or blog.

It should be considered as an option when you need cross-platform capabilities or a highly dynamic website with hundred thousands of pages, no matter you use Headless or not always use Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool to see how Google does crawl your webpages.


Featured Image: Primakov/Shutterstock

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SEO

SEO Tips For Expanding Into German-Speaking Markets

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SEO Tips For Expanding Into German-Speaking Markets

So, you’re ready to expand into the land of wheat beer, sausage, and potatoes?

I’ve got good news for you!

With a large and affluent consumer base, Germany is an attractive market for many businesses.

But there’s one little catch: you need localization.

What’s localization, you ask?

Well, it has a lot to do with adapting your messaging to meet local cultural standards.

And while that first and foremost includes the language, it also covers traditions, humor, market expectations, and more.

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Regardless of whether you’re looking to expand into Germany or another country, you must understand your audience’s unique needs and how to reach them before you can successfully market your business to them.

So, before you go and start directly translating your English content strategy into German, you should know that adapting to German SEO is far more than just a translation job.

German consumers have different search habits, preferences, and intent than English speakers.

Simply translating your existing content strategy is only about 10% of a true German market expansion.

To succeed in German-speaking markets with SEO, you must create a German SEO strategy from scratch.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Why A German Market Expansion Is Worthwhile

Even though localization requires additional effort, Germany is one primary market that’s absolutely worth it to invest in. Here’s why:

  • The German-speaking DACH region (Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) is a thriving consumer market. Thanks to each country’s large GDP per capita, they enjoy a high standard of living – which means consumers have more money to spend on new products.
  • The DACH region has a 93% average internet penetration, which means there are 94 million internet users in the market. In a nutshell: comprehensive internet access + high standard of living = more money for your brand.
  • In Germany, 91% of internet users rely on Google for their search needs. This makes SEO in particular a powerful tool for reaching German consumers.

Important note: When expanding your business into the German market, it is essential to work with native speakers to build your SEO strategy, because that’s your direct line for understanding local messaging requirements.

Developing your SEO strategy based on your target market’s needs helps you create quality content that resonates with your audience.

It may even give you a first-mover advantage, especially if your business is in a new and niche industry.

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How To Craft A Winning German SEO Strategy In 6 Steps

Learning how to hang with the Germans at Oktoberfest may seem intimidating and challenging at first.

But with a few key steps, you can create a German SEO strategy that can immensely impact pipeline growth in this burgeoning market.

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The 6 Steps For Building A Winning SEO Strategy In The German Market

Localize your business strategy Prep your site structure Find your German competitors
Do German keyword research Localize your keyword map Localize your content

1. Localize Your Business Strategy

Let me give you a concrete example of a real business that was recently looking for help expanding in the DACH region.

Due to the U.S. and U.K. being their primary markets, international markets come second place in terms of investment but are still required to bring in high levels of new business.

After looking through their website for about 30 seconds, I noticed a major problem:

Although their website is translated to German (emphasis on the translated, not localized), their chatbot was only offered in English.

I tried typing in German in the chatbot. No reply.

It kept trying to force me to book a call with a person in the U.S.

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I then wrote, “Does this person speak German?” in the German language, but again no reply.

Now imagine this scenario for the potential German customers of this business.

They’ve come to the website from Germany, read through the website in German, and now, do you think they feel comfortable booking a call with an English-speaking salesperson in the US?

I can most wholeheartedly tell you it’s a big “no.”

That’s why it’s not enough to just translate your existing content into German.

You also need German-speaking salespeople and customer service representatives who can interact with buyers in their language.

It’s crucial to localize your entire business strategy, otherwise, your target audience will continue choosing your competitors who do offer the buying experience they expect.

2. Prep Your Site Structure

Now that we’ve gotten the business stuff out of the way, let’s move on to SEO.

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Before creating any content, you first need to check that your website is set up for multiple languages, which is most often done with the URL structure.

There are two options for this:

  • Option 1: example.com/de (the subfolder approach).
  • Option 2: de.example.com (the subdomain approach).

Whenever you have the option within your CMS (content management system) and technical infrastructure, always opt for the subfolder approach.

This helps transfer DA (domain authority) from your main .com domain to your German website, which means you’ll be able to rank for German keywords faster.

Once your site structure is set up, it’s also crucial to use href lang tags on your pages.

This way, you can assign a page to each market. By doing this, you’re more likely to appear in search results for German users looking for content in their language.

3. Find Your German Competitors

When it comes to competitors, localization is a major factor yet again.

While you may already know which websites you’re competing with in your native market, it’s important to understand that they will likely not be your organic search traffic competitors when you enter the German market.

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Let’s say you’re a marketing automation software company that wants to expand into Germany.

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SEOquake is a helpful plugin for comparing SERPs (search engine results page) in different languages and countries.

The main keyword you’d want to rank for in English markets might be “marketing automation tool.”

Here’s what SEOquake shows me as the English SERPs for the U.S.:

Screenshot from search for [marketing automation tool], Google, June 2022

Now take a look at what I get when I search for [marketing automatisierung tool], the German equivalent for that English term, in Germany:

German SERPs for “marketing automatisierung tool” using SEOquakeScreenshot from search for [marketing automatisierung tool], Google, June 2022

This difference is precisely where your opportunity for German market expansion lies.

When you localize keywords and your content to compete against local SERPs, you position your SEO strategy to generate leads and sales with localized high purchase intent keywords.

Just rinse and repeat this strategy for your main keywords and you’ll start to see trends about who your top German search competitors are.

But make sure that you follow up with these readers by offering them a buying experience that’s entirely in German.

4. Do German Keyword Research

Once you have a list of your German competitors, it’s time to do keyword research.

Keywords are the heart of your expansion strategy because that’s where you connect content to the high purchase intent keywords I mentioned above.

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To help you do your keyword research, try the following steps:

Step 1: Set your keyword research tool (here shown with Semrush) to the German market.

Example of Semrush’s keyword overview tool for German keyword researchScreenshot from Semrush, June 2022

Step 2: Using Semrush’s keyword magic tool, type in a German keyword.

I always recommend starting with a vague head keyword, because then you can view the whole related keyword cluster in a list.

Example of Semrush’s keyword magic tool for German keyword researchScreenshot from Semrush, June 2022

Step 3: Then select longtail, search intent match keywords here that have search volume and could potentially fit into your strategy based on the content you’d like to create.

Step 4: The best way to determine where and how certain keywords fit into your content is to check their SERPs by using SEOquake as I showed in the previous section.

One caveat: Semrush can be a bit limited for German SERPs data, so if you’re planning to heavily expand into Germany using SEO, it might be worthwhile to purchase an SEO tool with a more robust German database, such as Sistrix.

The key thing to remember during the keyword localization process is that you shouldn’t just translate keywords from your brand’s first language to German.

While just translating content easily leads to content that’s never even read, the process I described ensures that your content production resources focus on localized keywords that have the opportunity to rank and impact your leads and sales in Germany.

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5. Localize Your Keyword Map

After the initial keyword research is done, it’s time to build your keyword map.

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This means crafting German keyword clusters by search intent and ensuring that your German keyword map reflects your target audience’s needs across the sales funnel.

Here’s an example of how my team and I typically lay this out in Google Sheets:

keyword map using google sheetsScreenshot from author, June 2022

 

Doing this also allows you to determine which content from the original English-language website can be transcreated (translated and localized with specific keywords), and which new pages should be created in German.

Some pages in English won’t even need to be transcreated to German if your keyword research shows it’s not relevant to the German market – which is a primary reason why localization is much more laser-focused than pure translation.

6. Localize Your Content

The final step to developing your German SEO strategy is to localize your content.

For each content piece you plan to develop for your German audience, do the following:

Do your research.

Understand what Germans are searching for online, what kinds of content they engage with, and the messaging style they’re used to. One quick example is that German is often much more formal than U.S. and U.K. English.

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Repurpose your top-performing existing content.

If you have existing English content that’s doing well, consider transcreating it into German if the topic is also relevant to the German market.

Make sure to optimize it for local German keywords that have search volume and match search intent to give it the best possible chance of generating leads and sales.

Write new German-specific content.

Creating new and original content is especially important if you’re targeting Germany as a foreign market because there will be elements in Germany that don’t exist in the U.S. and U.K. markets.

When you show the German audience that you understand them by investing in content that’s specifically relevant to them, that’s a significant trust builder that brings them much closer to purchase.

Track your progress.

Track your SEO strategy’s performance in the German-speaking markets using a tool like Semrush (shown in the image below).

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Use the data to find your top content opportunities in this market and continuously update and improve your content plan.

Example of Semrush’s keyword position tracking tool for German keywordsScreenshot from Semrush, June 2022

Efficiently Expand Into The German Market With SEO Using A Proven Process

Expanding your business into new markets can be a daunting task, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding one.

When you break through to new frontiers, you open up a world of opportunities for your business.

So, don’t be afraid to venture into German-speaking markets – with the right SEO strategy in place, you can see amazing success.

More resources:


Featured Image: Stanislaw Mikulski/Shutterstock

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