Our 7 secret ingredients for smashing SEO in Vietnam

Get found on Google in the right place at the right time. Curious how we do it?

As a content marketing agency, SEO (aka Search Engine Optimization) has always been an essential part of our work.

Localizing your SEO is an essential first step for any international business establishing itself here in Vietnam. Here are the seven best SEO practices that we’ve been applying recently.

1. Set up your local listing

When you search for a brand name on Google, you’ll often find something like this on the right-hand side of the results page, or at the top of a mobile search.

Here’s what we got when we search for our client’s brand name — Ruou Son Tinh

It shows the name, address, operating hours, email, website, etc. — the most basic information about a business on Google. And it’s called a Google My Business profile (or GMB for short).

A GMB profile is similar to the “About” section of a Facebook page. It’s useful for:

  • Providing information that people are looking for about your business
  • Showing your business’ location in Google Maps, which helps you show up when people nearby search for a keyword and “near me”. Eg. coffee shop near me
  • Showing your business on Google search results when people search for a keyword and location. Eg. burger restaurant in Ba Dinh, Ha Noi

If you haven’t set up your GMB account yet, you should do so ASAP. In Vietnam Digital 4.0 classes — one of Google’s initiatives here in Vietnam, it’s suggested that a GMB account will increase your website’s domain authority. This is a key criterion for improving your search ranking.

To continue improving trust with the Google algorithm, you should also be sure to do the following:

  • Update your business category
  • Ask customers to rate & write reviews about your business. Better reviews mean more new customers (duh!)
  • Update your information, photo, and NAP (Regular Name, Address and Phone) regularly
  • Engage with customers through FAQ, messages and booking form

Yahoo and Bing also provide local listings, however, most Vietnamese consumers default to Google, so prioritize your SEO efforts accordingly.

2. Update your listing in industry directories

Even with bulletproof SEO, it will still take time to improve your ranking on Google search. Meanwhile, industry directories are often already near, or at, the top of the results list. Hedge your bets by getting your company info onto these directories ASAP.

Search for industry directories, and check to see where, if anywhere, your competitors are getting themselves listed. Follow up by making sure your company is listed there as well.

This will provide additional backlinks to your site. Just like GMBs, backlinks improve trust with the Google algorithm and help build up your domain authority, both of which directly inform your search ranking.

Check out some examples of our former client Chops Vietnam’s listings:

From the TripAdvisor…
… to local TopList.vn’s “Top 10 best burger places in Hanoi“

3. Perform Vietnamese keyword research

One of the first things you want to do before producing content is to conduct keyword research. And here in Vietnam, that means either researching Vietnamese keywords or English keywords in Vietnam.

If that last statement threw you off, you may need a quick keyword refresher.

Google gives different search results based on location, meaning there’s a whole English language SEO microcosm unique to Vietnam.

This localized keyword arena presents all kinds of opportunities for winning highly competitive search terms.

So which tool should you be using for localized keyword research?

We’d recommend the following to start with:

All of the tools above provide keyword data for Vietnamese keywords in different regions, as well as foreign languages keywords here in Vietnam.

4. Localizing your content

An international fitness-sport company once approached us wanting to expand their marketing efforts in Vietnam. Much to our surprise, they ran Facebook ads in English without any translation. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to localize their content.

Vietnam is reported to have low English proficiency. That means Vietnamese prefer to read the text in their mother tongue, especially when it comes to ads. Naturally, that means that localizing your content is extremely important.

A word of caution, however. It’s never a good idea to have your content translated word-by-word. To appeal to Vietnamese audiences, we recommend that you employ professional copywriters who are fluent in both languages. If you need a hand, just drop us a message.

5. Optimize your site for multiple languages (if needed)

If you intend to target both Vietnamese and English speaking audiences in Vietnam, multilanguage optimization is a no brainer for SEO.

Depending on your CMS (content management system), there can be various ways for you to apply this. If your CMS already has a multilingual solution (like Wix or HubSpot CMS), then the whole process should be pretty easy.

In case your CMS doesn’t provide that option (as with Squarespace), you might need to use the hreflang code to tell search engines that you have the same content in different languages.

For example, if you have content in both English & Vietnamese, you can implement them using two hreflang attributes like this:

  • vi, targeting at Vietnamese speakers
  • en-vi, targeting at English speakers in Vietnam

Check out Yoast SEO’s ultimate guide on hreflang for further details.

6. Building content topic clusters

Google’s search engine has begun using artificial intelligence to rank content. Ever since topic modelling has become the go-to method for proving your expertise on a particular subject.

If you want to rank for a certain keyword, you should build content around one central topic with an expansive “pillar page” article. You should then surround this pillar page with a number of smaller, more focused blog posts known as “topic clusters,” linking back to the central pillar page.

Google’s algorithm will detect the semantic relationship between these blogs and reward your page with improved domain authority accordingly.

This topic cluster model, first pioneered by HubSpot, is fast becoming the norm for content marketers globally. With this model, your website’s blog mapping should eventually look something like this:

Image Source: HubSpot

We’ve been applying a topic cluster model for our clients in Vietnam and Southeast Asia more broadly, and have generated some pretty encouraging results.

7. Update external links

Last but not least, securing a number of local backlinks driving traffic back to your site will work wonders for improving your website’s domain authority.

Here are a few tried and true ways to increase backlinks to your webpages:

  • Book PR articles with related local newspapers
  • Provide testimonials to local suppliers
  • Link back to your web pages from personal social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Medium, etc.)

There’s a myth in Vietnam that you should do massive backlinking from various sites (ie. black-hat & grey-hat tactics). We’d recommend you not to do this.

As a matter of fact, link quality is much more important than quantity. So stick to the white-hat path and your site should be alright.

That’s not all…

There are loads of other ways to improve your standing with Google in addition to the 7 best practices above. To determine how you’re doing with your local SEO, and what you should be looking forward to next, try placing your business on this nifty infographic by Pickaweb:

Image Source: Pickaweb

At the end of the day, if you want your business sound, there’s no better solution than creating quality content. So if you want to have a chat about creating content for your localized SEO strategy, drop us an email. We’d be more than happy to share our experience!

Originally published at https://wecreatecontent.asia on January 13, 2021.

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A content marketing agency for business growth. Based in Vietnam with clients all over the world.

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We Create Content

We Create Content

A content marketing agency for business growth. Based in Vietnam with clients all over the world.

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