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Which Is Right For You?

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Which Is Right For You?

When you run a business globally, your website is one of the most powerful tools to reach and communicate with your target audience.

If you are conducting business offline in various countries, you already know how different the audience is from country to country.

Each country also has different business-related policies and rules. With a website, you also need to consider these and online regulations.

From an international SEO viewpoint, there are some critical aspects that the site owners must always keep in mind, including geotargeting, different search engines, and differences between each local audience.

There are additional factors to consider when deciding to have a global site or separate local sites – a place for each targeting country or language – including maintenance costs and the availability of local teams to maintain the sites.

In this article, I will explain four areas that greatly determine whether a global or local site is better for you.

Data & Privacy-Related Laws & Regulations

It is impossible to list all laws and regulations to do business in different countries around the globe. But two of the most important sets of laws and regulations for website owners to pay attention to are:

As mentioned above, each region, country, or state can set its own, and it can be a broad policy, guidance, law, or any other type of regulation.

Some are applied to all websites, while others are applied to websites for specific scopes, such as government and public sectors.

In the European Union (EU)

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is probably the most talked about privacy and data protection regulation.

It regulates the processing by an individual, a company, or an organization of personal data relating to individuals in the EU.

In California

The State of California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and many companies expect other states to follow suit and enact similar privacy laws shortly.

Some sites have already responded by showing the cookie consent message to everyone regardless of the access location.

In Japan

The Act on the Protection of Personal Information was first set up in 2005 in Japan, drastically amended in 2016, and has been in full force since 2017. It mandates Japanese websites to post a privacy policy and other requirements.

Ecommerce sites must also post the information specified in the Commercial Transactions Law.

Even if the website is managed in the U.S., your Japanese website must meet these regulations, especially if you have a physical presence in Japan.

Apple Inc. U.S. Website Footer
Apple Inc. U.K. Website FooterApple Inc. U.K. Website Footer
Apple Inc. Japanese Website FooterApple Inc. Japanese Website Footer
Apple Inc. Chinese Website FooterScreenshot of Apple Inc. Chinese Website Footer, September 2022

The above images are from the footer on Apple’s websites in the U.S., U.K., Japan, and China.

In addition to a standard privacy policy, the U.K. site has a page about using cookies about GDPR.

The Chinese website indicates the website registration number below the footer links as required by Chinese regulations.

Accessibility-Related Laws & Regulations

Last month, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made headlines when a federal lawsuit against Taco Bell was filed. While it was against the restaurant, this got many website owners’ attention.

Currently, there are IT accessibility laws and policies for U.S. federal agencies and several guidelines and standards to be considered in general, including the Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines.

ADA applies to both public and private sectors, including websites. In terms of website accessibility, many points will improve overall user experiences for not just people with disabilities but all website users.

For many countries and regions, including Canada, China, the EU, Japan, and the U.K., accessibility to web content is often a mandatory policy.

W3C has an excellent overview and country-specific information on web accessibility laws and policies.

Like the data and privacy laws and regulations, each country has different requirements for accessibility.

It’s a growing task for website owners to keep up with these rapidly changing requirements, especially for global site owners. Failure to adhere to them can be costly financially and negatively impact brand image.

Local Trends & Competitors

I work closely with websites targeting the Asian market, so I can usually tell if the site is a local company site or a global company’s local site from the design and content.

The difference is not caused by the design skill but by how much they understand the local market and the target audience.

The easiest way to show this difference is to compare the website’s design. The layout, color scheme, and images are also other telltale signs of where the site was created.

For eCommerce sites, how people expect to pay for the orders differs from country to country. The exchange and return policy are another difference among countries.

While these differences don’t impact the entire site, they can cause customers to abandon the shopping cart.

The differences in the local interests are reflected in website content, too. Often, global sites’ content is determined by the HQ country, while local competitor websites have content designed to satisfy the specific interests of the local audiences.

The inability to satisfy the local searcher’s intent can cause a considerable business opportunity loss to the global website.

As Google improves the algorithms to present the best content for each searcher, poorly localized content that is not particularly written for local audiences won’t be competitive in the search results.

Google US Search Results for mug cupScreenshot from Google U.S. search results for [mug cup], September 2022
Google Japan Search Results for mug cupScreenshot from Google Japan search results for [mug cup], September 2022

(Product images reflecting the local interests: U.S. and Japan “mug cup” Google search results)

One Global Website vs. Multiple Local Websites

If you have global sites under one domain using the same webpage templates for all country websites, create a list of must-meet regulation points from all concerned countries, and implement them regardless of the target country.

While it seems like an enormous task, if you have a smaller team or don’t have a team in each country, this is the best option for you to cover all bases.

In this case, having someone responsible for reviewing and keeping up with laws and regulations would be helpful as these are updated from time to time.

You may want to consider creating a separate website for each target country if you have:

  • A good number of team members in each local country manage the website.
  • Enough budget to support it.

Even if you separate the sites by regions with similar laws and regulations or user and cultural trends, it would give you more flexibility, be better compliant, and be appropriately designed for local audiences.

For example, instead of setting up multiple country and language sites within the EU under one domain set up for the EU market, it is probably easier to manage the website design and content for a specific audience in each country in the EU.

Central and South American countries may be another target market that works with one domain with multiple country sites.

Considering the multiple characteristics of the Chinese market – from Baidu’s capability and algorithms to connection speed, website registration policy, and cybersecurity law (a.k.a. “Great Firewall of China”), it may make sense to create a separate Chinese website for many companies that consider China as one of their important markets.

When you have a particular website, you can host it in the country to help improve the download speed.

It is easier to obtain ccTLD with the website registered with the Chinese government and provide the content designed specifically for the Chinese audience.

Final Thoughts

Having a separate website for each target country offers many more options and the flexibility to comply with local laws and policies and reflect local interests in the content and website design.

These are also great for geotargeting in SEO, which is one of the biggest concerns for many global website owners. However, it comes with an increased overhead cost.

It is not impossible to meet the local laws and policies with one global domain website.

As Apple and other global corporations do, you can provide unique local content even with different website designs.

Using the same domain doesn’t mean having the same design or using the same CMS. It is possible to have the localized content on the same CMS and add local-only unique content using a different CMS on the same domain site.

When deploying global or local sites, meeting local regulations and accommodating local audiences’ interests are essential.

Once you set up websites, track the performance data from each local site and content and make adjustments as needed.

Suppose the data indicates that having a global site limits the business potential due to different local interests and requirements or that having local sites is too costly. In that case, you need to reconsider the options.

More Resources:


Featured Image: AOME1812/Shutterstock



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How do you hire an SEO manager?

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How do you hire an SEO manager

30-second summary:

  • Business leaders struggle to hire SEO managers, and often wonder if they need one
  • SEO visibility is key to business success and is hard to increase your customer base and sales
  • SEO is a great contributor to brand growth and essentially needs the right mindset
  • This is a checklist to help you hire the right fit for your business

If you’re looking to improve your website’s search engine ranking, you may be wondering how to go about hiring an SEO manager. It can be a daunting task, but with the right information, it can be more straightforward than you think.

In this article, we will discuss some of the things you should consider when hiring an SEO manager. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make sure your team works well together and gets the most out of your SEO manager.

Why hire an SEO manager?

Without an SEO manager, it’s often difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving your website’s search engine visibility. And without valuable organic traffic, it’s hard to increase your customer base and sales. SEO can be a big contributor to brand growth.

An SEO manager can help you identify the best strategies for improving your website’s search presence. They will also be able to monitor overall performance, spot potential improvement opportunities, and create effective tactics to get the best results from your website’s content.

This includes conducting keyword research and creating SEO content, optimizing existing website pages, analyzing traffic sources, managing link-building campaigns, monitoring search engine performance, and regularly reporting on the progress of organic traffic. An SEO manager will ensure that your business sees SEO progress much more quickly.

What responsibilities does an SEO manager have?

The primary responsibility of an SEO manager is to ensure that your website ranks as high as possible in search engine results (not just Google, but Bing, and Amazon too).

If you’re not on the first page of Google for your most important keywords, you’re missing huge sales opportunities. This is particularly true for ecommerce SEO, where a poorly-performing website and SEO strategy can literally be the difference between a thriving business and bankruptcy.

It is crucial to hire an SEO manager who understands all aspects of SEO, including technical SEO, content-related tasks, analytics tracking, website performance, and link building.

They should have the ability to assess the current health of a website, developing plans to improve ranking in organic search results. The successful candidate should also be able to track and analyze performance metrics, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates.

What characteristics make a good SEO manager?

When looking for an SEO manager, you’ll want to find someone who is knowledgeable in the field, has good communication skills, is a self-starter, and can work independently.

Personality traits are key too. The person should be creative, persistent, and have a passion for problem-solving. They should also have good organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks.

It is important that the SEO manager you hire is a team player, and can take direction from upper management. Having the ability to build relationships with stakeholders and clients is also essential.

The importance of project management

Project management skills are essential for an SEO manager as they will need to coordinate activities between multiple teams and departments, manage timelines and budgets, and report on project progress.

Without good project management skills, an SEO manager will struggle to get results and could cause delays in achieving desired outcomes.

How can you ensure that your team gels well?

The key to creating a successful SEO team is finding people with complementary skills who work well together. This involves looking for individuals who have experience in different aspects of digital marketing, such as content writing, web design, and analytics.

You don’t want to hire a team of people who are all experts in the same field, as this will limit your team’s ability to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas.

It is also important to ensure that your SEO manager has good interpersonal skills. Having an open-door policy where everyone can easily communicate with each other is essential. This will help build trust between team members and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Having an open dialogue between all team members will also be crucial. This will ensure their feedback and input on how best to optimize the content or improve strategies.

Ideas for welcoming and onboarding your new hire

This could include creating an onboarding checklist, setting up regular meetings, assigning tasks to the team members, and scheduling time for team-building activities. Do make sure your SEO manager has face time with key leads from across the business to get a strong understanding of the business and its needs. This pays off in the long run.

Hiring in-house vs SEO outsourcing

When it comes to deciding if you should hire an in-house SEO manager, outsource the work to an SEO agency, or simply get a freelancer – you need to gauge the pros and cons.

Hiring in-house may be more expensive but can provide a greater level of control and allows for closer collaboration with the team. You totally own your processes and have granular input on everything.

On the other hand, outsourcing to an agency or freelance professional may be more cost-effective and can provide specialized skills that are not available in-house. Many SEO providers will offer types of monthly SEO packages, which make costs predictable and controllable. And depending on the terms of a contract, you likely have the freedom to cancel whenever you like. This can be much less hassle than employing someone ­– a poorly-performing employee, which can be more troublesome to resolve.

  Hiring in-house Hiring an SEO agency or freelancer
Pros • Greater control and collaboration

• Easier to monitor progress

• Assign tasks quickly

• Affordable

• Access to specialized skills

• High level of expertise and experience

Cons • Can be more expensive

• Limited experience level

• Can be difficult to find the right candidate

 

• Lack of control over the process

• Communication can be more difficult

• Accountability can be less clear

Interview questions to ask your potential SEO manager

When interviewing a potential SEO manager, you should ask some specific questions to make sure they are the right fit. These can include questions about their experience with SEO, how they stay up-to-date on algorithm changes, and what strategies they would use to improve your website’s ranking.

Example starter questions

  • What experience do you have with SEO?
  • How do you stay up to date on algorithm changes?
  • What strategies would you use to improve our website’s ranking?
  • How would you optimize our content for search engine visibility?
  • What kind of link-building tactics do you employ?
  • What do you consider to be the most important SEO trends?

Common mistakes to avoid when hiring a new candidate

When hiring an SEO manager, there are some common mistakes you should avoid:

Not understanding the responsibilities of an SEO Manager

It is vital you have a clear idea of what the job entails and that the candidate has the relevant skills for the position.

Not considering the team’s current culture

When bringing someone new onto your team it is important to consider how they will fit in with existing colleagues.

Not asking enough questions during interviews

Make sure you ask any potential candidates about their experience and qualifications, as well as their ability to work with the team and manage client relationships.

Not setting clear goals for the role

Setting clear expectations will ensure that everyone is on the same page from the outset and that any targets are achievable.

Not agreeing on a budget

Before you start your search, make sure to set a realistic budget for this role. This will help you determine how much you can afford to pay, and what kind of person is best suited to the job.

Not conducting background checks

Background checks are important when hiring an SEO manager as they will provide insight into their past experience and any qualifications they may have. It’s also a good way to make sure that there are no discrepancies in their resume.

FAQ

Q: How do I find an SEO manager?

A: You can look for SEO managers on job boards, or hire a freelancer or agency. Make sure to ask them questions about their experience and qualifications, as well as their ability to work with the team and manage client relationships.

Q: What should I look for in an SEO manager?

A: A good SEO manager should have experience with SEO, and up-to-date knowledge of algorithm changes and strategies to improve a website’s ranking. They should also be able to optimize content for search engine visibility, employ link-building tactics and keep track of the latest SEO trends.

Q: How much does it cost to hire an SEO manager?

A: The cost of hiring an SEO manager will depend on the level of experience, skills, and services required. Generally, in-house managers can be more expensive than agencies or freelance professionals. It’s important to set a realistic budget before you start your search.

Q: Is it a good idea to hire an SEO manager overseas to work remotely?

A: This depends on the situation. Hiring a remote SEO manager can be beneficial if they are highly experienced and able to deliver results, however, communication and accountability can be more challenging with remote workers. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before making your final decision. There may also be legal or compliance issues when employing internationally.

Closing thoughts

Finding the right SEO manager is an important step in ensuring your website’s success. Make sure to ask potential candidates plenty of questions and take into account their skills, experience, and ability to fit into the team culture before making a decision. Consider both the benefits and disadvantages of hiring an in-house employee or outsourcing to an agency or freelancer, and don’t forget to set a budget. With the right candidate on board, you’ll be well on your way to achieving long-term SEO success.


Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

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