Start by choosing a domain name
The biggest mistake you can make as a starting company in Germany is using the wrong domain. You simply cannot increase the visibility of your website in Germany with a Dutch domain. After all, Google looks at the relevance of the website. By using a German domain name, you send out the signal that your company is active in this country and is also relevant to the reader.
With a German domain name we really mean a .de domain and not a .eu/de or .nl/de domain. Yet many entrepreneurs choose this. However, your website then contains a structure that is less easy to read for Google, which means you will achieve results much less quickly.
Are you internationally active in multiple countries? Then you can also choose to use a .com/de domain. However, this is subject to the condition that you also have a multilingual website. Not only do you pay attention to the English language, but also to German or other languages that are spoken in the countries where you're active. This takes a lot of work, so it is also necessary to make choices and to cut back on your customer base where necessary. If, for example, you are currently targeting the German, English and Italian markets, but you notice that there is a particularly high demand for your products in Germany, it is sometimes better to focus on this country alone. That way, you save valuable time and money. Moreover, drawing up an effective marketing and link building strategy becomes a lot less complex this way.
Search term research in Germany: the differences at a glance!
It is important to realise that keywords rank very differently in Germany than in the Netherlands. Of course, you will be using German keywords, but it is not so obvious that you can translate popular search terms in Dutch into German and score just as high on them. In fact, some keywords have very little volume in Germany, while they do score well in the Netherlands.
If we look at the differences in search terms between Germany and the Netherlands, one thing immediately stands out. The Germans make smarter use of keywords. Whereas we Dutch often try to score with very competitive keywords, this is much less the case in Germany. In that respect, Germany is already much further advanced in the field of SEO than the Netherlands. They often use separate pages that rank for multiple words. It is therefore good to take a close look at the SEO techniques of the competition. What do you notice when you look at these pages with your marketing eyes?
Of course, you do not have to do such a search term research all by yourself. You can do it with handy tools, such as the Google keyword planner, but it is sometimes more convenient to outsource it to someone who really knows how to do it and has the right software to determine it easily. This way, you know exactly which keywords you can score on and which you can best apply to your link building campaign.
Only use German texts
Many Dutch entrepreneurs believe that they can easily become visible abroad by simply using the English language. The chance that you will be successful in other countries than England and America is very small. The German algorithm has little interest in English texts. It prefers websites written entirely in German. Therefore, make sure that you optimise your website entirely in German. This way, you ensure that potential customers can understand it and that Google can also understand it better.
Don't worry if you don't speak the language too well yourself. There are plenty of international copywriters who can provide quality web texts in German. Make sure that they not only pay attention to writing correct texts, but that they also apply the necessary SEO techniques. That way, you will get the fastest results from your German website.
Make contact with other German entrepreneurs
Contacts with other entrepreneurs are worth their weight in gold when you are link building. For example, it can be nice if you are in contact with a popular blog or local newspaper in Germany. These are good places where you can suggest whether they can give a reference to your website. Building up contacts abroad is very important. However, finding these contacts is a bit more difficult. That is why it is good to do thorough research into websites and blogs that are relevant to your business.
Remember that it is not the number of links that matters, but their quality. It is better to have ten quality links than a hundred links on irrelevant pages. Therefore, don't fall for cheap advertisements where you can buy links. These are often placed randomly on websites, which means they are quickly seen as spam by Google. Something that will give you a lower position in the search engine. Of course you should try to avoid this at all costs.
Therefore, do not take shortcuts, but be patient. Make contacts with other German entrepreneurs, discover which keywords you can use, invest time in writing good German articles and do research into the buying behaviour of German consumers. There are no effective shortcuts in the world of Internet marketing. At least not in the long run.
Use internal links
Internal links are also very useful in Germany. Not only do they make your website more manageable, but they also give it a better position in Google. Moreover, it is something you can easily do yourself. Therefore, refer to other pages on your website. Make sure that the reference is actually relevant to the written text. For example, on the contact page it makes little sense to refer to the homepage, because it is not relevant for the reader. However, you can refer to the contact page on the homepage, so the reader is easily directed to the right page. So think carefully about how you use internal links and whether it really adds something to the reader's experience.
Do research on your German competitors
Be aware that in Germany you will have to start all over again. The fact that your brand name is very well-known in the Netherlands does not mean that this is also the case in Germany. So you start all over again. Moreover, SEO techniques in Germany may be slightly different than in our country. That is why it is good not only to research how you can compete with other big names, but also to look at those competitors. Research who they are and how they were able to bring in more traffic. What makes them different from you that got them on the first page of Google? Be critical and make use of the things you notice, so you can also apply them to improve the position of your website.