Search engine optimization is a vital part of any brand’s strategy to reach the top positions in search results, it involves optimizing a brand’s website to rank higher in the search results.
With more than 3.5 billion searches a day, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to expand their reach outside of their local markets. However, implementing effective search engine optimization may not translate to other countries because many of the techniques and practices that were previously used to improve search engine visibility did not work in other countries.
A robust international strategy is a must to avoid potential pitfalls. This article will walk you through what it is, how it works, and the steps to implement it successfully.
What is international SEO?
By targeting the most important countries and languages, international SEO helps search engines identify which countries and languages are most important to your business.
An international SEO strategy is a combination of the various elements of your brand’s operations that are designed to help search engines identify where your business is located and what languages it supports.
Thus, a successful international SEO strategy is built on the combination of geographical and language data to help drive reliable ROI.
Do you need to go international?
If you know that a large portion of your website’s visitors is from a different country, then it’s time to make some changes to improve the experience for them.
Although international search engine optimization is a foreign concept, it’s very common to get used to it. Instead of targeting specific regions or countries, it’s about optimizing your website for different languages and multiple countries.
Sometimes, it’s possible to only target a certain language or a specific country. For instance, if you’re planning on creating an online clothing store that sells shirts in Spanish, then you might only target the Spanish language.
If you’re planning on creating a website that’s completely internationalized, then there are a few steps that you need to take to get started.
International SEO vs Local SEO
The biggest difference between international and local SEO is the scale.
While local SEO is focused on targeting specific audiences, international search is more likely to reach diverse geographic regions.
Four key differences between international SEO and local SEO:
Content: To ensure that your site reaches international audiences, you will need to produce more content than you would for local SEO.
Cost: Due to the scope and scale of international search, it can be costly to implement an international strategy.
Capture: With an international search, you’re more likely to reach a wider market and gain a deeper understanding of your target demographic.
Competition: For international businesses, the competition for customers and keywords is greater. They’ll be competing against multinational corporations.
How to develop a successful international SEO strategy?
1- Determine who and where you will target
First, determine the target market for your product. Then, focus on the market that has the biggest potential to buy it.
For instance, if you’re planning on launching a product in Brazil, you might target the country’s biggest market first and then narrow down your target audience to a certain subgroup with the potential to buy it.
2- Decide if you will hire an agency
Do you want to handle international SEO on your own or outsource it to an agency? While there are advantages to both, international SEO is a bit more complex and requires a deep understanding of local customs and marketing preferences so considering an agency might be a good fit for your goals.
3- Conduct keyword research, and international keyword research.
Although some keywords may work for you in the US, others may not work for you in other countries. This is because the volume of traffic that you get from these countries is different from the traffic that you get from the US or it may be linked to how your target market refers to your business.
4- Choose the right domain structure
The international domain structure makes it easier for search engines to find your website. There are various options that you can choose from. Some of them include:
A generic Top-Level Domain is one of the most common types of domain extensions. It can be generally defined as a domain that has three or more characters Most commonly, it can be used for .com, .gov, and .org.
Although it won’t restrict search results, a generic top-level domain may still lead to a reduction in total traffic if users prefer sites that include their country code.
Country code top-level domains are two-letter domains that are assigned to specific countries. Creating a unique domain for each country will help improve international SEO.
For instance, if you’re in the US and want to promote your products and services in other countries, you can create a .us or .ca site.
You can also create subdomains for your site that combine the features of both ccTLDs and gTLDs, like: ca.abcdefgh.com
Or even you can create subdirectories like: abcdefgh.com/ca/
5- Optimize your content based on the region and language
Make sure that all of your content is optimized for the local language of the country where it’s going to be displayed. This includes checking all of the country’s top-level domains and the content assets of your site.
International SEO best practices
Regardless of your international SEO strategy, the same best practices apply. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these.
1- Answer questions in the native language of the target region.
One of the most critical factors that you need to consider when it comes to international marketing is making sure that your customers are speaking the same language.
2- Translate your content
Instead of translating, what you’re looking for is to recreate the same content in a way that’s authentic to your target market. This is also known as transcreation or is commonly referred to as content localization.
3- Don’t forget the user experience in your strategy
International SEO is about more than just optimizing for specific keywords. It also involves ensuring that your site’s entire user experience is seamlessly integrated.
What affects international SEO?
The responsive design of your website on mobiles is very important when it comes to ranking in the search rankings. Having a good content delivery network (CDN) is also beneficial for optimizing your site for mobile.
Google my business account:
Your Google My Business account can help boost your search engine rankings by providing a starting point for Google to find relevant geographic and language metadata.
A good customer review on a local review site or your website can help boost your SEO efforts and increase visibility. It can also help you connect with your primary keyword.
Getting more links from international sources is also important to boost your SEO efforts. It’s also a good idea to write content for local blogs and connect with influential individuals.
The right strategy for SEO is very important because it can help establish your brand’s identity and differentiate it from the crowd. It can also help boost your brand’s visibility and attract more customers while ensuring that your website is optimized for specific regions and countries.
However, it’s also essential to consider international factors when it comes to SEO, as they can help boost consumer engagement and improve search engine results.