Improving the international SEO for a
worldwide brand with multiple sites and domains
Services: International SEO
The business problem
Running an international retail brand across multiple countries and regions usually involves having several sites and more than one domain? Right.
This enables you to reach new audiences in specific countries speaking different languages? Right.
Google understands that these domains are for the same brand though? Wrong. And this is where many brands struggle and find themselves cannibalising their efforts in SEO terms.
Osprey – the creator of innovative outdoor backpacks – had two .com domains to cater for both US and EU markets, which have 56 international sites. Google saw these two domains as competing sites and showed the wrong country folders from each domain, which was significantly impacting on the user experience and sales in both markets.
Our challenge was to fix the issues that preventing Google from connecting the two domains, and create a strategy that would improve the user experience and optimise the sites for international SEO.
How we solved it
Google is clever or is it? Even the clever algorithms find it hard to segment regional websites and serve the right results all the time and cater for the needs of local audience. It’s our job to make the connection between regional sites obvious to Google.
We have that knowledge and skills in-house, so we worked with the developers to devise a strategy across Osprey US and Osprey EU to align their priorities, objectives, and development timelines and even time zones.
When syncing up the hreflangs between the two domains and separate databases, we were able to spot and fix the issues that were confusing Google. Things like having EAN numbers used in multiple countries can cause a headache for Google. Our strategy was to standardise the product IDs and use numbers as type of unique ID so that we can future proof the site and avoid the hreflangs going out of sync.
Streamlining SEO internationally can reap benefits for a brand. Without checking, it can confuse Google and quickly impact sales and visibility. We resurrected Osprey’s international positioning, and as a result, the Google UK ranking increased and we gained new positions on 486 keywords that were being outranked by the US site!
“It’s fairly common for brands to struggle with international SEO. Combining SEO efforts for multiple domains across multiple countries and regions can be a headache. Google needs to understand what you’re putting out. Get it right, like Osprey did, and you’ll reap the SEO results.”