International SEO Guide: All You Need To Know
The SEO paradigm is changing and what used to be a one-size-fits-all practice is now being tailored to specific countries and regions. The new landscape of SEO has given birth to a new term: International SEO or International Search Engine Optimization.
Many business owners are confused about how to properly optimize their website for a global audience. In this article, we will dispel some of the myths about international search engine optimization (SEO) and give you the SEO tools you need to take your website to the next level.
Along with understanding the concept, we will explore the benefits of international SEO services and how it can help your business reach new heights. We will also provide some SEO tips on how to get started with optimizing your website for a global market.
So, whether you are just starting to think about expanding your reach or you have been trying to crack the code for a while, this article is for you.
What Is International SEO or International Search Engine Optimization?
International SEO or International Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website so that it can be easily found by users in different countries. This is done by targeting specific keywords for each country and creating country-specific content.
It is important to note that international SEO is not the same as local SEO. Local SEO is focused on optimizing your website for a specific city or region, whereas international Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is focused on optimizing your website for a global audience.
What does international SEO Service do for enterprise websites?
There are many benefits of optimizing your website for a global market. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it will help you reach a large no. of audience to increase web traffic.
If you are only targeting a local market, you are severely limiting your potential customer base. By expanding your reach to other countries, you will be able to connect with new customers who were previously out of your reach.
Another benefit of an international SEO service is that it can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. When people see that you are actively trying to reach a global market, they will be more likely to trust your brand.
This is because it shows that you are invested in your customers and that you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that they can find your products and services.
Additionally, international Search Engine Optimization can help you improve your search engine rankings. This is because Google and other search engines take into account the location of your website when they are determining your ranking.
If you are targeting a specific country or region, it is more likely that your website will appear higher in the search results for people in that area.
Finally, international Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you differentiate your brand from your competitors. If you are the only company in your industry trying to reach a global market, you will instantly stand out from the crowd.
Do You Need to Go International Search Engine Optimization?
Not every business needs to go international with its SEO efforts. The decision of whether or not to expand your reach should be based on your goals and your target market.
If you are a small business with a limited budget, it might not make sense to try to reach a global market. In this case, it would be better to focus your efforts on a smaller area.
However, if you are a large company with the resources to invest in international Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it could be a great way to expand your business and reach new customers.
Additionally, if you are targeting a specific country or region, it is important to make sure that there is actually a market for your products or services in that area.
There is no point in trying to reach a market that doesn’t exist. To determine whether or not there is a market for your products or services, you can research the demographics of the country or region that you are targeting.
This information will give you an idea of the size of the potential market and whether or not there is a demand for your product.
Differences Between International SEO & Regular SEO
The main difference between international SEO services and regular SEO is the focus on target keywords.
When you are optimizing your website for a global market, you need to target specific keywords for each country. This is because people in different countries speak different languages and use different search engines.
For example, someone in the United States is more likely to use Google than someone in China. And someone in China is more likely to search for your product in Mandarin than someone in the United States.
Another difference between international SEO and regular SEO is the focus on backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites to your domain.
They are an important ranking factor for search engines, so it is important to make sure that you have a strong backlink profile. When you are optimizing your website for a global market, you need to focus on building backlinks strategy from websites in your target countries.
This can be a challenge, but there are some ways to do it, such as guest blogging and directory submission.
Finally, another difference between international SEO and regular SEO is the focus on local citations. A local citation is any mention of your business on the internet, even if there is not a link to your website.
For example, if your business is listed in a directory or on a map, that is a local citation. Local citations are important for local SEO, but they are also important for international SEO.
This is because they help search engines know more about your business and its location. You can build local citations by submitting your business to online directories and listing it on maps.
Factors affecting international SEO
There are various factors that affect the performance of international SEO for your business and here are some important ones:
1. Customer reviews:
Customer reviews play a very important role in the success of international SEO. This is because they show potential customers that your business is reputable and trustworthy. Customer reviews can be left on your website, on social media, or on review sites like Yelp and Google Places. It is important to encourage your customers to leave reviews, and to respond to both positive and negative reviews.
2. Mobile responsiveness:
Mobile responsiveness is also a very important factor in the success of international SEO. This is because more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. As a result, it is important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. You can do this by using a responsive design or by creating a separate mobile website.
Localization is another important factor in the success of international SEO. This is the process of tailoring your website to a specific country or region. It involves translating your content into the local language, using local currency, and using the local search engine. Localization can be a challenge, but it is important to consider if you want to optimize your website for a global market.
4. Keyword research:
As we mentioned earlier, keyword research is a very important part of international SEO. You need to target specific keywords for each country that you are targeting. You can take help from SEO tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to perform keyword research.
5. Google My Business account:
If you want to optimize your website for a local market, you need to create a Google My Business account. This is a free listing that allows you to list your business on Google Maps and Google Search. You can also use your GMB account to manage your online reviews.
6. International link building:
Backlinks are an important ranking factor for search engines, so it is important to focus on building backlinks from websites in your target countries. This can be a challenge, but there are some ways to do it, such as guest blogging and directory submission.
7. Local citations:
Local citations are important for both local SEO and international SEO and they let search engines understand your business and its location. You can build local citations by submitting your business to online directories and listing it on maps.
As you can see, there are various factors that affect the performance of international SEO for your business. If you want to optimize your website for a global market, you need to consider all of these factors.
Tips to develop an International SEO Strategy:
Now that we have covered the basics of international SEO, let’s take a look at some tips to develop an international SEO strategy:
1. Decide who and where to target:
The first step is to decide who and where you want to target and this will depend on your business goals and objectives. If you want to expand your business into new markets, you need to research your target audience and their needs. Once you know who you want to target, you need to decide which countries you want to target.
2. Research your keywords:
Once you know who and where you want to target, you need to research your keywords. You need to find keywords that are relevant to your business and that have a high search volume in your target countries. You can use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to research keywords.
3. Create country-specific content:
Once you have your keywords, you need to create country-specific content. This means creating content in the local language and targeting your keywords. You can also consider localization, which is the process of tailoring your content to a specific country or region. It’s better to hire local writers from different locations for this task to get the best results.
Also Read: What Is On-Page SEO?
4. Pick the right international domain structure:
There are various domain structures that you can use for your websites, such as country-specific domains (ccTLDs), subdomains, and subdirectories. You need to pick the right domain structure for your website based on your business goals and objectives. It plays a significant role in the success of your international SEO strategy.
5. Use hreflang tags:
If you have a multilingual website, you need to use hreflang tags to tell search engines which language your content is in. This is a very important step, as it helps search engines index your content correctly. Moreover, it helps search engines deliver the right content to the right users.
6. Monitor your results:
Once you have implemented your international SEO strategy, you need to monitor your results. You can use advanced tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your progress. These tools will help you understand how your website is performing in different countries and what needs to be improved.
As you can see, there are various factors to consider when developing an international SEO strategy. If you want to optimize your website for a global market, you need to take all of these factors into account.
How to expand your business internationally?
If you are planning to expand your business internationally, there are multiple things that you need to consider. For those who don’t know international SEO practices are drastically different from local and standard SEO. To ensure that your business thrives on multiple international destinations and generates more sales, you need to perform certain optimizations. or you can take help from an SEO Company.
In this article, we will have a look at what are the instrumental things that you need to keep in mind while doing international SEO. Once you optimize your site with these guidelines, it will become easier for your brand to compete with foreign local companies and grow your sales.
1. Potential market research
It happens with a lot of business owners that they jump into international SEO tips shared and start working on their website without researching the potential market. This is an important step that everyone should follow to get the maximum value out of their SEO services effort.
If you want to know which countries are bringing you the maximum number of users and traffic apart from your native company, Google Analytics can help. Go to your Analytics dashboard and then go to the location tab under the Geo section.
In the location tab, you will see the list of top countries that are generating the highest traffic for your site. Here you will get a pretty good idea about where you need to focus more and which countries are not worthy of your time. If you have set up some goals in Google Analytics then it’s a smart decision to check which countries have fulfilled the maximum number of goals.
This will help you with the interest level of the audience of that country. For example,
if you are having traffic of 30% from Canada with zero goals achieved and you have the traffic of 25% from the US with 12 goal conversions, then focusing on the US makes more sense.
2. International NAP helps your SEO
While optimizing your site for any other country apart from your native one, it’s important to have accurate details across all the touchpoints. This small thing not only helps you in improving SEO but also build trust faster among a new audience.
Especially, if you are an eCommerce business, then it becomes more pivotal for your brand to check if the new version of the site is showing local addresses. Make sure the NAP details which include, the brand name, address, and phone number are accurate.
It’s highly recommended that you should have a local phone number and address of the target country as it will help you in performing well in local SEO as well. There are several services that let you rent a postal address, phone numbers, and warehouses so that you can operate seamlessly.
Some countries have GDPR compliances and some may not countries don’t require that. So, you also need to check what are the mandatory compliances that you need to follow. If you are not aware of the compliances thing, then it’s always a better option to hire a good SEO company and get these things sorted.
3. Type of website targeting
When it comes to international SEO, there are multiple types of website architecture that you need to know. Majorly, there are three types of audience targeting website architecture that are specially designed to help you with getting maximum local traction. Check out the types of website targeting and pick the right one for your brand:
a). Multiregional sites:
These are the sites that are made to target multiple regions of different countries that speak the same language. For example, a website is promoting different content in the US, Canada, and the UK but the language English is the same.
b). Multilingual sites:
You must have heard about this type of website before and it’s the most popular format that people prefer when they go for international SEO guide. In this type of sites, you target the audiences of the different countries which speak different languages. For example, the content of the site will be the same but it will be transported to target countries’ languages like France, Germany, Italy.
c). Multiregional & Multilingual sites:
This type of website architecture is the combination of the above categories in which you target users in different countries but the content is not the same. For example, you are targeting the audience in France, and the content is written in different languages like German, English for your French customers.
4. Website’s domain Structure
Another most important thing that you can’t skip is the domain structure of your site. There are multiple ways to host a new website for a new audience but picking the right one is important. Many people make the mistake of choosing the wrong domain structure and then they can’t leverage the full SEO benefits. Below are some preferred domain structures that you can pick from:
i). ccTLD: Country code top-level domain name
ccTLD among the most preferred choices of most of the business owners because this type of domain structure is fairly easy for both the business owners and customers. Amazon would be a perfect example of this architecture. As Amazon serves in multiple countries and it has millions of users, the company is using country-level domains to manage everything.
If you have a closer look at Amazon domains, below are some of the structures that you will notice apart from the main site amazon.com:
This type of domain structure brings huge SEO benefits in the long term as it helps you improve both domain authority and credibility among the users.
ii). Subdomain structure
Another popular way to organize multiple domains by hosting the additional website in the sub-directory of the main domain. Subdomains are highly convenient that is the reason why most companies opt for this. They are easier to manage and quick to build as the setup time is very low as compared to creating a new website.
But there are a few cons that you keep in mind while hosting a new website on a subdomain. The first thing is that the subdomain sites are treated as a separate entity by the search engines and hence if you have done internal linking, it might not benefit you much.
As compared to a separate domain, subdomains are considered less trustworthy by people when the brand is relatively new. A subdomain looks like ‘example.abc.com’. In this, ‘example’ is the subdomain, and abc is the main domain.
The third widely used domain structure is the directory one but it’s less used than the TLDs and subdomains. In this domain type, the website is hosted by simply creating an additional folder into the root of the main site. These are the simplest to create and manage as compared to the subdomains as just like any other page, these sites are located in the main file.
This type of domain structure is easy to maintain and the biggest advantage is that you get full advantage of your domain authority for your new site.
Companies like Adobe uses this site structure and their domains look like this:
You can pick any of the above domain structures that suits your requirements. Make sure you do more research on the domain structure before finalizing one for your international audience.
Also Read This: Complete Technical SEO Audit Checklist
5. Utilize your HTML structure to the fullest
To make the most of your international SEO, pay special attention to the HTML structure of your site and other important components like Hreflang, URL structure, x-default tag, content tags, and more. Let’s have a look at each entity in a brief to understand them better:
i). Hreflang tags
Hreflang tags help Google and other crawlers to understand that your site has some pages or sections that are in a foreign language and they are targeting a specific set of audience. It’s also an important thing to implement when it comes to international SEO. In case if you have various versions of the same language which generally happens with English, you need to use the rel=alternate tag to avoid such issues.
ii). URL structure
Managing URLs often come with certain challenges as there are multiple domains and you need to make sure every important URL is indexed in the search engine’s database. Make sure you follow all-important optimization practices to ensure URLs are readable by users and search engine bots. If you are using CMS like WordPress, you will find a lot of plugins to manage URLs.
iii). X-default tag
This is also an important tag which most people miss while performing international SEO. For those who don’t know, this X-default tag serves the audience which doesn’t match with your language or location tag. This website will be a default version which the audience will see. It could be your original website that most of the native people are interacting with.
iv). Content-language tags
However, most of the search engines don’t need these content-language tags on your site as location and language tags are enough for indexing. But if you are optimizing your site for Bing, then you need to use this site for optimizing your content. Bing search engine recommends using the ‘content-language’ meta tag on every page of the site.
v). The schema markup for your site
Google and search engines pay great attention to the site’s structure as it helps in various aspects. No matter if you are doing a standard SEO or an international SEO, having a schema markup structure on your site is important to get good SEO performance. There are several free tools available in the market that offer the creation of schema markup of your site which you can verify from Google’s free tool and use on your site.
6. Keyword research
Just like we perform keyword research for our regional websites, the process remains the same but you need to keep a few things in mind. In foreign languages, there are many words that have multiple meanings. And while having keyword research, you need to ensure that you are picking up the right keywords to gain higher traffic. We recommend using multiple SEO tools to gather your keywords just to ensure their accuracy.
Don’t translate the English keywords into other languages as you won’t get higher accuracy with them. The best way to do research is in the native language through SEO tools to make it easier and time-saving. If you can hire a foreign language writer, then it would be very much useful for you as it will save you a lot of time and effort.
7. E-A-T Guidelines
Regardless of what SEO we perform, Google’s E-A-T concept is here to stay with us and we need to keep the guidelines while optimizing the content. E-A-T is a broad concept and every industry has a different impact on their site.
You can also hire a good SEO company that can help you optimize and organize the content as per the E-A-T guidelines as it will help you in better SEO results.
8. Website’s content localization
Every country has different dialects of the same language and while creating content, you need to consider this point. You can find the popular local phrases that the locals are using to search for a particular product or service. Along with your main target keywords, you can also add these local keywords to make the content more understandable for the readers.
It’s better to hire a dedicated writer and get the content ready for your site. This will not only improve your site’s SEO but also boost your brand’s credibility. If you get some local graphics also for your international site, that would be even better. Higher detailing while creating content will for sure bring out the best SEO results.
These were the important international SEO tips that you can follow to thrive in the new market and generate more sales for your company. Just like regular SEO, international optimization will also take time and you have to keep a track of the progress your site is making in the new geography.
EZ Rankings is here to get you started with international SEO!
We are a leading international SEO company with a team of experts who have extensive experience in this field. We can help you develop an effective international SEO strategy that will help you achieve your business goals.
Building an international SEO strategy can be a challenge, but with the help of professionals like EZ Rankings, you can get the job done right. Our team first understands your business goals and objectives and then develops a customized strategy that will help you achieve your desired results. Explore our international SEO packages and personalize them according to your budget and needs.
If you want to learn more about international SEO or if you need help developing an effective international SEO strategy, feel free to contact EZ Rankings. Our team of SEO experts will be more than happy to answer all your questions and help you get started with your international SEO journey!