Did you know that India now has 560 million internet users, and this vast country is just getting started? Because a significant percentage of the population is not yet online, there is room for tremendous growth. With rising incomes and a high rate of eCommerce growth, India represents an unrivaled opportunity for international marketers. It’s no wonder that many global brands like Amazon, Samsung, Colgate and many more are localizing for India.
6 Tips for SEO in India
If you want to succeed in competing with Indian companies and other international businesses, it’s crucial to get SEO right and rank on search results pages. Your brand won’t be visible to Indian consumers without a strategic SEO approach to your content marketing efforts.
Here are 6 best practices for getting SEO right for a target audience in India.
1. Understand India’s Google Habits
As web connectivity expands all over India, consumers are developing unique search engine habits. Here are some intriguing facts from Google’s latest report on web searches in India:
- Most Indians prefer Google over any other search engine.
- About 40% of Indian consumers won’t consider purchasing unless they can search for the product’s information in their local language.
- 86% of Indian Googlers search in their own regional language.
- In 2021, there was a 41% increase in searches like “Which brand is good?” Both online and offline buyers use search to help them make product decisions.
- 83% of consumers agreed that they would purchase from a brand that provided helpful and trustworthy information when they were exploring options.
- 65% of shoppers have gone online to purchase products they previously bought in person.
- Digital consumers in India value speed, convenience and price.
2. Be Mobile-Friendly
In India, overall mobile internet usage is well ahead of the global average, with over 600 million mobile users. By 2026, this number is estimated to reach 1 billion.
Since most people use their phones to search the web nowadays, Google recently shifted to a “mobile-first index.” This means that Google will index your mobile site first. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, this can hurt your position in search results.
This is why your brand’s websites must be optimized for mobile. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, it won’t rank well in the searches of Indian web users.
3. Optimize SEO for Google on Android OS
Google is India’s most popular search engine, with about 98% of the market share. When searching online, most Indian citizens prefer to use Google on their Android OS phones. In contrast, Apple mobile devices are not yet popular in India.
4. Use Local Languages
If Indian web searchers can’t find your keywords in their language, they won’t be able to find your site or product. That’s why it’s essential to localize your SEO in the right languages.
The vast majority of Indian internet users are looking for localized content. India has an astounding 19,500 languages, but your choices can be narrowed down to Hindi and several other languages that are most widely spoken, like Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu.
Research shows that most Indian internet users regard digital content in their native language as more trustworthy than content written in English. Also, most Indian consumers are more likely to respond to a digital ad in their local language. Going down the English-only path is nowhere near as effective as localizing your content in Hindi and several of India’s main languages.
5. Research the Target Market
The best way to proceed is to take the time to know your target market and expand into one Indian geographic location at a time. Seek in-country expertise to provide you with valuable insights about local language trends that will influence your SEO strategy.
The best place to begin is in major cities such as New Delhi and Bangalore. These locales have young, affluent internet populations that dominate eCommerce in India. The next 100 million or so users are likely to live in smaller cities like Jaipur (population 3 million) and Lucknow (population 2.8 million).
6. Say Hello to Voice Search
Indian languages are notoriously hard to type on a mobile QWERTY-style keyboard. For example, Hindi has 36 consonants and 12 vowels, making it tricky for a smartphone keyboard. In addition, many Indian languages have unique scripts, which add further complexity. All of this makes it unsurprising that voice search in India is growing at an annual rate of 270%.
The good news is that it continues to get easier to use voice search as part of your India SEO planning. Google Assistant now supports a total of nine major Indian languages. And companies like food delivery service Zomato and ride-share app Ola have created their own voice assistants for the Indian market.
Search and SEO in India: Conclusion
With more new users coming online from non-metropolitan areas, the demand for local language search is continuing to grow. Because India is a country with many languages, you need to build a multilingual SEO strategy to optimize your chances of success in the growing Indian market. It’s a challenge that’s worth the effort since India’s bustling eCommerce market offers promising revenue opportunities.