Michael Bonfils of SEM International on methods in identifying target markets. Things often times are different than you would expect, i.e. France may sometimes be a more interesting market to target than even China…
Start off by defining potential markets and identify the relevant factors. Keyword research data, international competition, local competition, usability & content, SEO, sales & ecommerce will help determine the target markets.
High bounce rates and keyword research need to be analyzed properly since they can vary strongly based on target market and their cultures.
Multinationals have huge keyword targeting budgets hence as a small player you better get out of their way for generic keywords and go after niche terms.
Usability varies by country. French users will look for deals, Germans will look for quality, Asians will look for trust. Therefore they use little guides all over their websites. Koreans like tons of content, e.g. pages with hundreds of links on them.
Naming conventions and hosting infrastructure are important factors, too. Chinese predominantly use dial-up connections and need to go via fat firewalls. Therefore local hosting is a must.
Duplicate content issues need to be adressed by everybody. It can cause serious problems with search engines. Make sure you always have a canonical tag in place for the original content page.
Payment methods also vary by country, Chinese e.g. only trust AliPay where in the U.S. major credit and debit cards and even PayPal will do the job.
www.fita.org/webindex offers an index of international trading issues.
Balancing the score of the different market entry criteria often times changes the order of the list compared to what you would think intuitively…
@WalterSchaerer thanks for attending. I really enjoyed myself and your lovely city!— Michael Bonfils (@michaelbonfils) February 19, 2013