In the world of SEO, it is becoming essential that we take into account the global scene. There are people out there looking for your product or service---but you’ve got to know how to find them or how to help them find you. Keeping up with the international statistics, trends, and information can and should dramatically change your SEO and business plans.
So, before you go global, there are three main areas to pay attention to: social networking, search engines, and analytics.
Just because Facebook, Digg, Twitter, and all the other "popular" social networking and bookmarking sites are big here in the states doesn't make them a sure bet everywhere else in the world. I've had the chance to see this first hand. I have a lot of friends in Brazil, and no matter how much I try to convince them that Facebook is the best way to stay connected, they refuse to leave Orkut. A friend of mine has connections in Russia and says they cling to livejournal.com because the founders are Russian. Each site may have different reasons for gaining and retaining loyal users, and changing them to fit your SEO needs won't work. Instead, change your SEO ways to fit them! Do a little research and you'll find out how to best target your audience.
There are dozens upon dozens of social networking sites out there and popularity varies by country and culture. Make sure you target your social networks according to where you are trying to target your product or service. Here is a great outlay of social networks by country.
Staying on top of the global trends is essential when it comes to search engines. When it comes to SEO, some principles are basic and hold true to all search engines. However, with some specific aspects of SEO, knowing the search engine inside and out can make a huge difference. Google works differently than Yahoo. People in countries abroad may choose not to use Google for everything they do. In China, the leading search engine is Baidu. In Japan, it's Yahoo. And in Russia, the search leader is Yandex. Knowing what search engine people around the world use can help you properly focus your optimization efforts for the specific country.
We all know that information gained from web analytics can lead to on-site and off-site changes that will reap big rewards. Pay attention to what is going on with search traffic from different regions of the world. Decide what changes to make with the information you've gained from your analytic tools. Take into account the different avenues that visitors are using to get to your site and what countries they are coming from. Find out what they are doing when they get to your site. Find out why they aren't behaving the way you want them to. A strict observation of your web analytics by country is sure to reveal opportunities for international growth.