Home » International SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Other Countries

International SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Other Countries

by | Jan 24, 2022 | SEO

Do you serve customers from more than one country? Do any of your customer segments speak different languages? Do you wish to expand your business’s web presence on a global scale? If the answer is “yes”, then international SEO should definitely be on your radar.

In the digital realm – borders don’t matter. So, you want your digital business world to get bigger and not end up in a small corner of it. It’s a big world out there. There’s room for everyone.

Are you ready to cross digital borders? Bags ready, tickets booked, the business projected abroad… But, what about your SEO? Is it ready to take off and travel to great lengths, too?

Take your SEO luggage with you and venture abroad – optimize your website for other countries and reach a global audience.

With International SEO in place, the world is your oyster and the sky is your limit!

What Is International SEO?

Multilingual SEO and global SEO are synonyms for international SEO – one of the best ways to help your business reach a global market. But, what exactly is it?

It’s time to burst your bubble: international SEO is about far more than just translating website content. The truth of the matter is, international SEO goes way beyond that. But, let’s get our lingo right first and define SEO on an international level.

International SEO refers to optimizing your website and search presence in a way that allows search engines to identify the specific countries you wish to target and languages you wish to use to conduct business.

An international SEO strategy is a combination of the policies, processes, and practices that your brand uses to optimize search content for other countries. By using geo-targeting, hreflang tags, and other localization signals, you can target content to your users around the world, attract global traffic and significantly increase your sales in the international markets.

Do You Need to Go International with Your SEO Strategy?

If you know that a good share of your website visitors come from a different country than where you’re located, speak different languages, or both, then it may be time to make some changes to your website to create a better experience for all of your international visitors. Or reach them.

Search engine optimization is there to help your brand reach the first page of search results and ideally climb your way to the very top. But, what happens when you want to expand outside of local markets? With Google now seeing more than 3.5 billion searches per day, there’s a massive opportunity for brands to capture new customers.

The caveat is that existing SEO practices may not translate — and in some cases, may actually hurt your brand in other countries. The key? Optimizing your website for other countries by adding international SEO to your arsenal.

To avoid this potential pitfall, a robust international SEO strategy is your best bet. Here’s what you need to know about how international SEO works and what steps you can take to expand across the horizon.

Ready? Allons-y! Vámonos! Let’s go!

How to Reach a Global Search Audience with International SEO

Unless your products or services are specifically local, your business needs to target visitors from different countries. Going international with your SEO is how you do it.

On the surface, international SEO may seem like a totally foreign concept, but in reality, you may be more familiar with it than you know. Think of it as geo-targeting, but instead of optimizing your website to attract traffic from your city or state, you’re optimizing it for different countries and languages.

International SEO doesn’t have to be overly complicated, it just needs to be done right. Let’s take a close look at international SEO tips for your website, which you can start implementing right away.

Define Your Market and Goals

First, decide where and who you’ll target. If you’re looking to appeal to a broad audience regardless of where they live, language optimization may be the answer. If you’re looking to grow brand awareness that converts in a specific part of the world, opt for country-based SEO.

Although Google dominates the search engine market share in most countries, there are places where search engines other than Google are more popular and have their own approach to SEO, meaning it’s worth doing your targeted market research to find out what matters most for rankings, before you get started.

Think International for Your Strategy

Competitor analysis is a crucial part of every SEO strategy, whether international or local. This time, you’re expanding to unknown territories, so it’s pivotal to look into your future competitors and gauge their performance on different levels. 

Build a successful international SEO strategy by using market and competitor research to your advantage. Very often, the same content with the same keyword will be positioned in different places in different countries, so have that in mind while digging.

Build an International URL Structure

Once you have an idea of your international competitors, you need to create dedicated websites for different countries, and choose your domains wisely. This is basically a geotargeting essential, focusing on, you know it – location. Your URL structure helps Google figure out which of your pages to show searchers in different countries.

There are a few URL structures you can employ to target a particular country, like using a country code top-level domain (ccTLD), a subdomain, a subdirectory or subfolder, a gTLD with language parameters, or even using a different domain name entirely. 

The approach you choose will mostly depend on the resources you can dedicate to the creation and maintenance of it, although some are definitely more popular than others.

Don’t forget to Language-Target

You’re going multilingual. So, a URL with correctly structured and implemented hreflang tags will allow you to cross-reference pages with similar content for different audiences in order to provide people with relevant content in their language. 

This benefits websites that have similar content in multiple languages, because it differentiates similar web pages aimed at different audiences so that search engines don’t count them as duplicates and lower your rankings.

Create International SEO-Friendly Content

Each region of the world has its own language structures, expressions, vocabulary, and different informational needs. Not to mention a unique mindset and culture. That’s why content designed for your usual local audience won’t always be relevant to the target audience in other countries you want to reach. 

So, you need to conduct a localized keyword research for each market you’re ready to conquer. For every keyword, you need to find out what specific local users are searching for, and adapt your keywords to fit local search patterns. Also, machine translating your keywords won’t help, as it’s not reliable in this case. It’s important that you don’t just translate your keywords—in most cases they need to be transcreated instead, to bring out cultural intimacy.

Dream, Think and Optimize Internationally

International SEO starts with understanding how to best serve your customers around the globe and then making efforts to customize anc cater your content and search experience to their needs.

By applying best international SEO practices to your website, you can attract more traffic, grow your global presence, and serve your international customers’ needs.

Reach audiences globally. Acquire massive organic traffic. Increase your conversions and fulfill your dream of becoming an internationally recognized brand!

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