5 Useful Tools for Conducting International Keyword Research

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Have you ever wondered how search engine results change from country to country? If your company is multinational, it is important for you to know how your site ranks for relevant keyword terms in different countries. If your company is seeking to expand into new geographic markets, international keyword research can provide invaluable insight into local country demand and trends.

The best way to conduct this research (or at least the most interesting) is to travel to your target country. But that’s not always practicable. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to give you access to the world of search from your own computer.

Here are five tools that provide highly useful information into what is happening around the world:

Google Adwords Keywords Tool

Using the advanced option of Google’s Keyword Tool, you can select keywords by country and language. Enter an initial keyword, select a language and/or target countries, and Google will return a list of keyword ideas with the associated monthly volume for each.

For a second source of international keyword research, also consider using Trellian’s Keyword Discovery tool which includes data from many European countries.

Google Insights for Search

Use Google Insights for Search to explore trends in keyword search demand over time. This is a great tool for identifying areas of growing demand for which new market opportunities may exist. There are options to search the hottest trends by country and industry. You can also start with one or more search terms and the tool will provide a list of the hottest related keywords in the country of choice.

Translation Software

If you don’t speak foreign languages, and don’t have the budget for translation services, you could start your research by translating your English language keywords using software such as Google Translator. After translating, use the keyword research tools to further expand your list and obtain search volumes.

But be warned. Google Translator is a very useful tool but is far from fool-proof. I wouldn’t use it if I were aiming to impress a native speaker!

Proxy Server

Search engine results are often tailored to a user’s location. Location is determined by IP address.  To understand how results differ from country to country, you can use a proxy server to search using an international IP address.  This can be very useful for competitive analysis. Try this site for a selection of international proxy servers: http://www.proxy4free.com.

Rank Checking Software

To understand how well your site is ranking in multiple countries, try using a rank checking software that has international capabilities. Rank Tracker by Link-Assistant.com provides ranking results for the 3 major search engines in practically every country you can think of. You can also use it to keep tabs on the rankings of your competitors.

Have fun researching the world of search. There are many untapped opportunities out there just waiting to be discovered.

Alec Campbell
Alec works with companies to increase their global brand awareness and sales through higher visibility in international search engine results. He has been glued to... Read Full Bio
Alec Campbell
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  • Annie Cushing

    Great post. Could you possibly expand on how you'd use different international proxy servers for competitive research?

    • Hi Annie. Thanks for the comment. Google occasionally changes the order of results based upon the user’s location which is determined by the user’s IP address. If the user is searching using a country-specific version of Google (e.g. google.com.br), then the organic results do not change based on the user’s location as it assumed they are in Brazil. Organic results on Google.com do change with user location.

      PPC results are always somewhat different on a country-by-country basis because advertisers can choose the locations where they want their ads to appear. This is also controlled through the user IP address.

      So what does this mean you may now be asking? If you’re establishing an international search initiative that is targeting customers in say Brazil or the UK, and you want to understand the competition, then you need a Brazilan or British IP address to see just what a Brazilian or British users sees when conducting searches.

      Whew – that was a long-winded response but hope it was worth it! – Alec

      • Annie Cushing

        Thanks so much, Alec. That clears it up for me. 🙂

  • Excellent Article. The tools you have mentioned here are very essential in keyword research.

  • Automatic Translators are generally very hit and miss. It's one of those things you can't put too much faith in.

    • I complete agree Andy but for someone who is doing initial research (possibly to see what untapped opportunities exist in a emerging market), it can be highly useful. I would never trust them for content translation or serious keyword research though.

    • Keywords research from translations does not work 100%…….i was transferring English meaning of boats from German sites and was trying to find keywords, those combinations are not successful if you do not have some knowledge of that language

      • Pompom

        You should check websites that rank well for some keywords in the target language. That1s the trick.

  • try not to use two different languages on the same page, because google find it is hard to rank on their SE, especially for the <H> tags as well as meta date

  • Nice post thanks for sharing its really amazing in keyword research the impact or lanuage and even ip address is definatly makes it alos easier and some times difficult.