AMA with Lidia Infante

Author: Areej AbuAli

Date: 04/08/2021

Welcome to a new

Ask Me Anything
edition where we share with the world our community Ask Me Anything initiative that takes place on our Slack group!

Introducing

Lidia Infante
!
Lidia is the Senior International SEO Lead at Rise At Seven, driving organic growth internationally for global companies. Born and raised in Barcelona she’s been helping businesses in e-commerce, media and B2B reach their audiences on search across European markets, the US and Australia.

On July 28th, we spent an hour with Lidia asking her everything about International SEO and Digital PR 💪🏽

Part 1: International SEO

1. What is your preferred structure for international SEO, - subdomains or subdirectories? And if it depends, what does it depend on?

It depends on your market. Let me give you some bullet points on this:

  • Is your site new or existing? If it’s an existing site and it’s ranking well I’d leave it as-is regardless of what configuration you’re using.

  • If your market is competitive in terms of YMYL, EAT and links, subdirectories is your best choice.

  • If your company relies very heavily on the French market or you can see that ccTLDs have higher CTRs in your target markets, that will be your best option.

For this, I personally really like this Moz guide on International SEO.

2. A client has set IP-based redirection for its subdirectories. I heard Google doesn't recommend that. This client is already doing well and I don't see any issue with this IP-based redirection (so far). What would be your take on this? Is it a safe berth to get rid of this?

IP redirect absolutely suck from a CRO point of view and make the brand look really deaf to the needs of the user. It’s not about SEO, it’s about converting. I’ll elaborate.

When you click on a snippet on search/social/anywhere you do so with a set of expectations. If I see the snippet in English and I’ve clicked on it, I obviously speak the language and I’m expecting an article in English. This creates a lot of friction and takes away choice from the user. Plus, you have many fringe cases where a device might be in one language and the location in another one. Someone might be travelling. Taking choice away from the user is just a bad idea.

3. If you're working on an international site with sub-directories website.com/en-gb/ (targeting 15+ countries), what would you typically recommend doing with the domains root page e.g. website.com? Knowing that all target countries are served by their own sub-directories?

It depends on what you already have there. H&M for example uses their .com as a territory/language selector. If you have a US offering, it might be smart to put it on the .com instead of a /en-US/ subdirectory, with a territory selector pop-up if a foreign IP is identified. Especially if it’s your main market.

4. Do you have any advice for a beginner on targetting different English language speaking countries? I'm wondering if I should be making different homepages and landing pages for UK, US etc or if that's going to look like duplicate content as there would only be minor differences in the text or is it a case of deciding on either en-uk or en-us markets and then sticking to that?

That’s what in international SEO you call localisation. It depends on your resources and the scale of the project, as well as your specific target market. The more territory subfolders you add, the more maintenance work you’ll have to do on your site. If it’s not really relevant to your product or target market, don’t localise your site. Just use the English version of your main market, be it US, UK, AU, etc.

5. What's your opinion on automatic translation. Take a case: The client has a resource/time crunch to work on translating English to multiple languages. Until it gets done, is it okay to use Google/AI translator copies?

I would say it's a bad idea from a brand and user experience point of view. If a business is not willing to invest in getting content localised to the markets they're targetting it's because they don't see enough value in them. In that case, rather than half-ass other territories it would be best to focus on the one they really care about.

Part 2: Digital PR

1. Can you recommend some good digital PR resources and tools for all levels?

There are different aspects to a PR campaign that use tools.

  • Outreach - I like using Buzzstream

  • Seeding lists - There are different platforms depending on your target market. Plus, don’t forget to use Twitter and Linkedin.

  • Ideation - I really really really recommend using Buzzsumo. It will help you understand what stories are getting covered and by who.

  • Reporting and measuring results - You can do this partly with Buzzsumo, but also with your more traditional 360º SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, SEMrush or Sistrix.

2. How do you go about launching/structuring a Digital PR campaign?

  • Get a brief from your client or get a very clear goal if you’re in-house.

  • Be strategic and figure out what areas of your site need some Digital PR to outrank your competitors.

  • Think big. You need to find a sweet spot between what everyone is talking about and what your brand is about. Check the media, use Buzzsumo, have a Google around to see what’s being covered. Then make it bigger and make sure you have plenty of PR hooks for different press verticals.

  • Don’t lose sight of your SEO goal. Why will journalists want to link to you?

  • Don’t let the execution take away your PR hooks. Push back when you need to on data, design and content.

  • Create a seeding list of journalists that talk about what your campaign is about.

  • Outreach to them. Send the right emails using the right hooks to the right type of journalists. Lifestyle, regional, national, industry-specific, etc.

3. If outreaching content from the UK that you think might work in EU press - say France or Spain - how would you go about it differently to UK outreach - would you have the content translated for example?

If this is for a UK based brand with no international branches in those countries, keep the content in English. If you have other regions in your brand, it might be worth translating it and putting it live on those sites. Only translate your outreach emails if you have someone in your team who can reply to journalists in their language.

Now for the second part of your question. How is international outreach different to UK outreach:

  • Timezones are a thing. Take them into account. Chat with some journos to see when they pitch to their editors and how frequently they schedule their editorial calendars.

  • Digital PR is not yet big outside of the UK, so brands and media alike are slowly being introduced to it. Buying and selling links is still very common in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

  • Countries like Germany will mostly only link to you if they’re using you as a data source, to prove that they are right.

  • Get to know your target countries. Figure out how their media landscape is shaped, who owns who, what’s readership like, etc.

I talk about this literally ALL THE TIME. You can read some of what I said before on the matter in my International SEO Strategy post.

4. In your experience, anything that we should avoid when doing outreach?

The don’ts of outreach for me are:

  • Don’t send attachments. I used to be Chief Digital Editor at and publishing group and I got so many high-resolution images in my email inbox that I had to clean it every 30 minutes or I’d run out of space.

  • Follow up, but don’t be pushy.

  • Don’t send the same email to everyone, but don’t over personalise either because it seems insincere. Just make sure you’re highlighting the specific bits of your campaign that will be of interest for that specific journo.

5. What do you think is the hardest industry/vertical to do digital PR for and why?

That’s a great question. In my experience, it’s probably gambling. Gambling companies are not great for society after all and the media don’t love linking to them. Some people say finance or B2B, but these companies usually have amazing proprietary data. That’s PR gold.

6. My question is what would your recommendations be when focusing on link building and HARO for an international lawyer? Are there any cool resources to recommend so that a complete beginner can navigate this better?

Firstly, you need to assess your resources.

  • Do you have an agency budget?

  • Do you have a budget for campaigns of your own?

  • If not, can you do some classing link building techniques such as mention reclamation, posting on your client’s clients websites or asking them to link to you?

  • Do you have resources to do newsjacking instead? For this, you need data, fast sign-off from your client and outreach time.

7. What can you do with reactive/newsjacking to up your chances of success in getting a link without being pushy and offputting to journalists?

When doing reactive/newsjacking you want to actually be quite proactive. Each vertical has news-worthy “events” that you can predict. If journos are going to be writing about it, you can use your own client’s data to enrich their article.

You’re trying to be helpful and offer up a source for journos. They will be grateful to have your input if you keep it timely and relevant.

8. Any tips on the actual outreach? How to find journalists/bloggers, what to include in an email?

There are many resources out there on this. I believe Louise Parker has created some interesting content around this. I can give you some of my top tips.

  • Know what PR hooks you're going to use for each type of publication before outreaching.

  • Test a bunch.

  • Go out to 250 journalists per campaign at first and then iterate with what you've learned on this first wave

  • Find journalists by googling about what you'll be writing about. Most editorial groups use a similar structure for all their emails, so you can easily guess the journos email of one publication as long as you have another one. Then validate those emails using the different tools available on the market.

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Thanks Lidia for a truly insightful AMA and thanks to everyone for asking questions. You can learn more about Lidia through her website and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.