International SEO is nothing but optimizing a website to target people across countries. People from different countries, speaking different languages, may show interest in your website.
With global SEO, search engines identify the locations you want to target. You can use international SEO to help you in many ways. You can use it to expand your audience base based on the languages.
Multilingual SEO: This type of SEO drives organic traffic from multiple languages. If you cater to the Americans with an English and a Spanish website, you need multilingual SEO.
Multiregional SEO: This type of SEO targets people from several regions.
Multiregional SEO: This type of SEO targets people in different countries speaking the same language. E.g., Targetting the US, the UK, and Brazil with an English website.
Like other SEO strategies, international SEO drives organic traffic to your website.
When you have a local business, why not expand it?
You can tap the international customers.
In some cases, your site may already be attracting foreign visitors.
In that case, optimizing your site would provide them with a better user experience. Hence, you must rope in international SEO strategies.
Also, optimize your website for people of other countries speaking different languages. The main advantage of international SEO is that it improves the website’s reach.
Users outside your country will start visiting your website. They will learn about your products and services. It will increase your brand awareness. In the long run, it will give you more leads and conversions.
Now, when you have an effective international SEO in place, you get to track your performance. It makes it easy for you to identify the areas you need to prioritize.
International SEO helps you analyze the global market.
You will understand the specific requirements of the international markets.
You will get to know the needs of your foreign users. Get to familiarize yourself with their lifestyle. It will help you to launch new websites dedicated to them.
Without global SEO, you cannot get bang for your buck. You will fail to impress the search engines, and all your time and effort will be in vain.
Compared to regional SEO, international SEO is a bit complex.
You need to consider several elements to implement them successfully. However, the first step involves identifying your audience.
Before you form your strategy, you need to know where to start. It is the basic requirement for setting your target and priority.
You need to find out your website’s potential for the various international markets. To start, identify your present international organic search result. It includes your visibility, traffic, and conversion rates.
Now, there can be two reasons for targeting international SEO.
You need to identify the countries where your website is faring well. Also, the languages that are bringing organic traffic.
Analyze the traffic you are gaining, apart from your host country.
Identify keywords, pages, and links that have attracted people in those markets. However, a particular keyword may not perform well in the global markets. Also, check the conversion volume arriving from each of those markets.
Are you wondering how to do all these?
Use Google Analytics. Just select the "Geo reports" coming under the "Audience" section.
You get to identify your top international market, both country, and language-wise. Apart from this, you get to understand the trend and behavior of your intended audiences.
After identifying the top markets, you need to focus on finding the right set of keywords. To create a list of relevant keywords, you need to consider several factors.
Research the keywords and phrases your audiences use to find you. Collect data on these keywords’ organic search volume. Also, check the ranking of those keywords that have helped you to reach these markets.
Use tools like Ahref, Google Keyword Planner, and SimilarWeb. It will help you to identify the target keywords.
Give high priority to keyword research. It is crucial if you want to focus on multilingual SEO. Using the wrong keyword can affect your entire business.
Translating the English keywords to other languages is not the solution.
Every country and sect of people have their preferences. Therefore, you need to understand how native people select keywords while performing searches. You need to do similar research when you want to focus on multiregional SEO.
Your audiences in Britain and the US can search for the same product in English. However, they can use different keywords.
Like, Britain audiences search for sunglasses, while the US audiences search for shades.
Therefore, you need to understand how the local market operates.
Finding native speakers from each of the markets can guide you a lot. You find out more about local customer behavior. It will help you to do localized keyword research for the individual markets.
You need to know your opponents before you start your game. Competition research provides information about our rivals’ performance. You get to know about their SEO, PPC ads, and content marketing strategies.
You identify keywords they are prioritizing, their source of traffic, strength, and weaknesses. Not to forget how they source their backlinks and from where.
More the information you have, the better your chances to outsmart them. While doing competitor research, do not restrict yourself to Google.
Find out how they are using other search engines that are popular in your target markets.
Studying competitors has multiple benefits. You earn knowledge of how the market is functioning, opportunities, and threats. Now, you can plan your approach accordingly.
Language and culture play a big role in developing your strategies for success.
Does it mean that you need to create your website in different languages?
Well, there are fewer languages than countries.
Cover the most popular languages in the world. It is a great way to increase your audience base. For example, your website in Spanish will target all the Spanish people across the globe.
Targeting languages will help you to create and translate the content easier. However, you need to be cautious while translating and tagging.
Make sure that none of these goes wrong. Else, you may end up in trouble with indexation and user experience.
The first and foremost rule of translating is never trusting the machine to do the job. You need a person experienced in both languages to give you the best result.
For tagging, you need to know the formats used by several search engines. Also, ensure that tagging does not increase the page-loading time.
Target multiple countries with one language. While doing it, consider their linguistic and cultural variations.
Offer on summer clothes may not apply for visitors from both Australia and England at the same time. Also, their region and culture influence the keywords they use and prefer. You need to study that too.
You can ditch all these worries if you focus on a single country. But this strategy has its challenges. You restrict your visitors to a single nation. Besides, you must optimize your content for each country. And for that, you must identify the buying behavior of the people.
URL optimization is necessary as search engines consider this before ranking you locally. Therefore, making the right choice is a crucial part of your SEO campaign. It is irrespective of the fact whether you are targeting a language or a region.
You have three URL structure options when you want to go international. They are:
One example is www.sample.uk or www.sample.co.uk. These domains point out to Google about the country or the audiences the website is targeting.
For large brands, maintaining separate websites for separate countries is easy. But for the local businesses, it is quite expensive.
Subdomains involve a generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)—for example, www.uk.sample.com. Just like ccTLDs, it requires the creation of a separate website for each country. They are easy to maintain as compared to ccTLDs. But you need a different SEO strategy to target it.
Of the three, subdirectories are the easiest to set up and maintain. All you need to do is create a subfolder within the root domain. After that, you place the content for foreign languages or countries in it.
If you want to target the UK, the structure will be www.sample.com/uk/.
Another benefit is that it is easy to optimize the website while securing a better rank.
You can track these websites individually in Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Hreflang tags are one of the many geo-targeting tools. Its purpose is to strengthen the local signals of your content. As a result, the search engines will find you easily. People often consider it as a powerful way to set your target based on your location or language.
Website owners having content in multiple languages use hreflang tags. These tags help Google identify the language of your content.
Hence, audiences get the correct content in terms of language.
For example, Let’s assume you have your website in English, French and Spanish languages.
A French speaker searching for your content will see the content in French.
You use this tag when you translate your content. Add this tag to subdomains or subdirectories. Nowadays, search engines use advanced AI. They can detect your page’s language without the help of these tags.
Hreflang tags will prevent your pages in many languages from competing with each other.
There are three different ways to execute the hreflang attribute.
The hreflang tag can consist of two components:
1) The language code (mandatory)
2) A country code (optional)
These tags hardly have any use when you use ccTLDs. The reason being Google gets a signal from the country code used in the domain. Nevertheless, people prefer them to strengthen the location signal.
Do you want to target diversified international visitors? Then, you cannot use the same piece of content.
You need to localize and optimize the content. It will help you to rank better in the search results.
How to do it?
Consider the individual interests of your audience. Based on the interest, strategize your content.
In international SEO, you can group content into two categories. You can do it based on its relevance.
Now, there are several things that many people across the world share. For example, their love for food, ways to lead a healthy life, and having a perfect wedding. However, when you take a closer look, you will find the differences.
People love food but not the same cuisine or variety. Similarly, some believe that dieting leads to a healthy life.
Others believe in exercising or a combination of both. Now, there are various forms of dieting and exercise. Not all forms are popular among all. Likewise, wedding cultures vary across the world.
If you want to target every audience, you may list the ways of dieting and their impact. You are spreading information to all the people in general.
For audiences of a specific country, you share diet plans having regional food items. You can also consider people’s preferences.
A balance between cost and effectiveness is vital. It will help you to make international SEO successful. Many suggest hiring local staff to localize the content.
Ensure they know the content optimization rules too. Otherwise, high-quality localized content may fall flat.
Before optimizing the content, include long-tail keywords in FAQs and blog posts. Besides, you explain your product and services creatively and engagingly.
You may also use several content optimization tools to get the best results.
Localize your content. Thereby, you get a chance to earn several quality backlinks. Link building will help you to attain a better Google ranking. It will promote your brand on the web.
The more the number of quality links, the stronger the signal you give to Google. And it is not tough to get those links when you target a specific market’s unique aspects. However, always be genuine. Also, stay away from cliches and stereotypes.
People are not interested to see brands trying to please them by saying what they want to hear.
To earn links for your localized website, you can depend on your main website. The chances are high that you have gained several international links for it.
Analyze the backlink profile and find out the sources.
Inform them about the newer version of your site. It will be more relevant to the users. Now, as they get high-quality content, you get backlinks.
You can also research your local competitor to earn more links. They are a great source of quality links. Scan their backlink profile and take the links. Google will not penalize you for stealing their links.
Apart from this, you can find bloggers having experience in your industry. Ask them to cover as many relevant topics as possible.
Now, if you hire a local team to optimize your content, you have the upper hand. That team will help you with blogger outreach. Besides, they will have better access to local trustworthy and authoritative links.
It is essential to identify the markets that have potential takers of your products. Study global buying trends. It will help you find out the places where your products have the highest demand.
Tools like Google Analytics can be of great help. Also, consider the ethics and culture of the people you want to target. For example, if you sell alcohol, you need to stay away from the nations which have banned alcohol.
You need to choose the domain strategy that will give your business the maximum benefit.
Analyze the pros and cons of the three strategies: ccTLDs, subdirectories, and subdomains.
Remember, you always do not need a local domain name to better rank in a specific country.
Use hreflang tags when the location of users does not matter to you, but language does.
Analyze your competitors. You should know what you are getting into before jumping in. Besides, competition among English search results is higher than in other languages.
Localizing content involves modifying it according to the intended customers. It involves considering the historical and cultural context of the location. It will make your website friendly and easy to use.
You also need to localize the website design depending on the people’s preferences.
Localizing efforts may also involve rephrasing phrases and slogans and modifying imagery representations.
Context plays an important role when you translate keywords into the target language.
A popular keyword may fail to attract customers after translation. It calls for a better understanding of the target language.
Unless you know the language, identifying the correct keywords can be difficult. One of the ways out is hiring a local agency to do the job.
Without doing the homework, it is very difficult to strike the right chord with the audience. There are a lot of things to consider, from URL structure to the target market.
Blindly expanding the site will do no good to you. Find out the potential of your industry in the international markets you want to target. Also, check whether you have access to the resources necessary for the expansion.
Once you fix the target, learn as much as you can about its people. Learn about their language, dialect, custom, and everything in between.
A keyword may not have the same base of audiences in two different countries.
By doing broad research, you can find people’s preferences. Now, try to create several unique contents using all this information. Also, analyze your competitors to find out what worked for them and how.
You can target the international market in two ways: through country or language. Now, if you target a country, you target the people living in a specific location. However, it does not mean translating content to the language spoken in that country.
You may be targeting the users who already speak your language.
What would make the difference is the dialect, their conventions, and preferences?
You need to consider all these elements when you decide to dedicate a website to a country. Ensure country-specific websites are a necessity for your business.
When users’ location is not a factor, you can target the language to expand your reach. You can launch your website in languages based on international users who are visiting your website.
A detailed analysis will give you the necessary information. By doing so, you target a wide section of people. However, study their language and take the native people’s help to form a strong bond with the people.
You need to think beyond Google if you want to capture the global market.
Many of your users can be from Russia, and most of them do not rely on Google.
To reach them, you need to target the alternative search engine.
In Russia, Yandex is the leading search engine.
Besides, China has banned Google. It means that if you want to engage people from China, you have to target Baidu’s platform. Now, all these platforms are not the same.
All of them value high-quality content, but their technicalities vary. For example, indexing can be slow on Baidu and Yandex.
Baidu gives more preference to paid search results than organic results, unlike Google. Besides, Yandex uses meta keywords, which Google stopped using some time ago.
Though a .com TLD is the most popular, you need to be specific to target international customers. You need to build a website that is specifically targeting the right audiences. And the domain structure should signify this.
The best way out is by using a ccTLD. It right away tells the users and the search engines the country your website is targeting.
For example, fr. is for a French website. ccTLDs improve the reach of your website among the intended users. Now, if you have several localized versions of your site, a subdirectory helps.
All you need to do is add a localized folder to your domain. Another option is a subdomain. It is popular among the CMS tools, but users can have a hard time associating you with a specific country.
Now, each of the domain strategies has its pros and cons. Find out their effect on your business before you select one.
If you want to know more about targetting International users, get in touch with us.
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