What does it take to rank an e-commerce site successfully in Austria?
Today’s guest blog post comes from an online marketing and SEO expert Boyan Sabev who has clients such as Bipa, RAWE, RedBull, and DocFinder under his belt. He has spent over 400.000 EUR on SEO, ranking sites for his clients, and learning in the process.
Organic search is still among the most important channels for e-commerce and arguably more efficient on a cost basis compared to paid search.
While most e-commerce platforms cover some basics when it comes to SEO, localization as part of SEO is more art than science.
In this post, we will cover the most important ranking factors of SEO in Austria, how to avoid common pitfalls, and finally what the shortest route to SEO e-commerce success in Austria really is!
First things first, if you want to rank in Austria, you absolutely have to have your site in grammatically impeccable German. Having English as an option is great for targeting expats, but you should not rely on it for selling to the native population.
Get a CCTLD (country code top-level domain), an .AT Domain name. It will make ranking in Austria about 2x easier and ranking anywhere else near impossible. But don’t worry, if you want to expand to other countries, you can always have additional domains. Whatever you do though, never try to rank with the wrong CCTLD. There are generic tlds and there are cctlds. Make sure, that your domain is either the correct cctld (.at) or generic (.com, .net, etc.). Some domains are very popular in the startup space, like .io. You should avoid that, since it’s actually a country code level domain, the io stands for the Indian Ocean.
If you are using a generic TLD, make sure to set its targeting to your target country via the search console.
Many are surprised to hear that currency is an important ranking factor in Google. But it is not only that, but it is also an important conversion factor. The fact of the matter is that most people are not used to buy outside their currency. Some eastern European countries may be used to work with the Euro, but even there the success rate is better with the local currency.
This shop decided to switch from Dollar to Euro. Its rankings in the USA tanked shortly after.
E-Commerce is all about ease of payment. The more options you can offer the client, the better your conversion rate will be. While payment may not be a direct ranking factor, it can have an indirect influence on rankings. If you don’t take the time to learn about the local payment methods and implement them, you are increasing the likelihood of a bad conversion rate, and shorter session durations, which in certain situations, can be interpreted as a bad signal by Google. You also may be losing out on relevance, as Google may count keywords such as the names of local payment gateways towards your local relevancy score, although that is not a proven fact.
Backlinks from local sources
When it comes to link building, having links from local sites will increase your local relevancy score. You can determine the local relevance of a site by examining its search visibility in a tool like SEMrush. Make sure to find the best, local links of your competition and try to get on there as well.
This site ranks well in Austria, even though it has the “wrong” TLD (.de). It is because it has earned links from well known Austrian publishers. Although it would do even better by switching to .at.
While also not a proven direct ranking factor, it may be worth having a local address on your imprint, even if it is just a shared office space. While working on a client project, I got outranked by a competitor with a German-language site. Their imprint’s address was in Kazakhstan. Its success on page one was short-lived.
Reusing product descriptions
While not specifically limited to Austria, this common pitfall is the source of many failed e-commerce projects. Reusing product descriptions across platforms is a recipe for disaster for new sites. Sites like Amazon and eBay can outrank you for your own content. Never reuse product descriptions!
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