International SEO: How to Do It?
With the growth in international communication, there are a lot of possibilities in the world of SEO and the internet. It also paves the way for International SEO if you wish to target a greater audience.
If your business functions beyond a country and regional restrictions, it is one way to optimize search content for other regions.
This article discusses why you need International SEO and the best practices to do it.
What is International SEO?
Using international SEO you can grow the organic presence of your website and brand in international platforms.
These international markets have tons of users thus increasing your brand awareness and reach.
This can be a difficult process because each country has its own unique audience and SEO strategy.
Businesses will navigate the differences present worldwide such as languages and try to increase their presence organically.
Usually this content applies to local markets including developing a website structure that is easy for search engines to find and direct to the right webpages.
For that you will need pages for all regions and their languages. You will also need to ensure that the customers for that region get information specific to that region, such as cost in their currency and shipping times in their time zone.
Therefore, your website structure plays a crucial part in ensuring your website is received well internationally.
Should You Go International?
This depends on your business model.
If you have no wish to expand beyond your local capacity and marketplace then there is no need to spend your time and resources on international SEO.
Conversely, the global e-commerce market is expanding at a whopping 18.7 percent per year. Thus, if your business and products have the appeal to cater to a larger global audience, this could be your chance at expansion.
If you are unsure about it, ask yourself some important questions.
Do you think you have an international audience?
This refers to the audience you currently have.
All you need to do is to check the audience at the SEO tool you use such as Microsoft Clarity or Google Analytics.
If you get good traffic from international locations then that means there is potential and demand for growth.
Do your competitors perform International SEO?
Check what the search results show for your target keywords in different countries. Do that using a VPN.
If your competitors appears with a strong profile then that means it is a legitimate option to explore for tour business too.
What language is your user’s browsers set to?
Analytics will also help you find out what language your users use in their browsers.
If it is different from the one you are using, it is a viable option to explore SEO in those regions.
Consider Your skill set
Once you are done with setting the SEO technicalities, you should consider your skillset, selling capabilities and expertise.
In the end, that is going to last you longer.
Check what the audience searches
Note the keywords the audience of a particular region searches.
Do your keywords have enough volume equaling to demand and less keyword difficulty to make you stand out?
Analyzing International vs Local SEO
It is obvious that the difference between the two is in their scale.
International SEO targets an audience that belongs to diverse markets and a wider geographic area. It does not necessarily have to be global and worldwide but it does expand beyond the home country of the business.
Local SEO on the other hand only focuses on a narrower area, its target keywords and audience.
Further expanding on that, we have four main differences between the two.
For an international reach, the content needs to be more diverse and also more in quantity than reaching a local audience through local SEO.
Clearly the competition you were facing for keywords as well as customers is going to increase many folds.
Each international location will have their own local businesses and besides that, you may also end up competing with multinational corporations.
The scale has increased many times. The costs will too.
The compete against so many businesses and corporations you will have to scale the efforts hence, the costs will significantly increase from when you were doing local SEO.
The target market you are trying to capture certainly expands in International SEO.
Therefore, there is a need for proper research in order to make sure that your brand does align with the customer expectations of a wider area. In local SEO, you may not need as much research.
Now that you know the differences between the two, let’s find out how you can implement international SEO.
How to Do International SEO?
In order to begin international SEO, you need to first research your market thoroughly.
After you are done focusing on your target market and target audience, you can step into knowing how your site should function.
More on that below.
Carrying out Keyword Research
Customers in each target market can have different priorities when it comes to purchase and businesses.
Therefore, by conducting a keyword research and keeping other SEO practices for the regions you are targeting in mind will help expand its SEO Potential.
Usually for marketers, relying on strategic keywords is their main strategy.
That is for 71 percent of marketers.
Though, you will need to look into user intent, check the barriers to any international sales and note the existing cultural difference in phrasing and vocabulary.
For that, let’s look into what you should be doing for content and language.
Language and Content Tailoring
English is a safe bet for many countries but it is not the primary language in some countries either.
You at least want the site to appear in the primary language of the users you are targeting.
Moreover, when Google also shows results in people’s native languages and what it’s set to, you will lose out on rankings if the site’s language does not match yours.
Don’t rely on machine translations as they are not up to task.
Make sure everything from the navigation bar to the footer is in the language.
You will also need to optimize it by adding an hreflang tag which is a language tag telling search engines that the page is available in other languages.
Your content should also be optimized according to the target region and its local language so that all content aligns with local expectations.
Moreover, make content according to user intent in each region.
Domain Structures and URLs
You have some options to choose the domain and URL structure you want to use for the website.
It should be relevant to all of your audiences in the regions.
- Go for a generic top level domain i.e. gTLD with .com, .org, .gov, thus that does not restrict you on a specific region but can reduce total traffic
- Choosing a sub domain of an existing domain that also combine ccTLD or GTLD for instance www.ae.markfiniti.com giving the benefit of a country code and generic domain
- Having a different ccTLD i.e. a country code top level domain for e.g. changing www.markfiniti.com to www.markfiniti.ae. Do that for all of the regions you are targeting giving them their own specific domain
- Having content on an existing domain that targets a language with gTLD and language parameters. Therefore, the domain name does not change but there is an additional language parameter. This is a convenient way but not the best for search engines
- Going for subdirectories of the initial domain while changing the country code location for instance, www.markfiniti.com/ae
Don’t spread your wings too much, prioritize countries that you know you have the biggest customer base in.
The countries that offer you the most value and have the greatest potential for expansion should be the ones you target.
Consider if you have the necessary tools, resources and people to help you o expand.
You may also consider outsourcing the task to an international SEO agency to help you with expanding the business globally.
Don’t Redirect Users Automatically
Do not set to automatically redirect users on your website based on their IP address.
You may want to give them the best experience by matching their expectations but let them decide in what language and region they would like to navigate the website.
Make country-specific content
Your keyword research should be country specific.
The content should also be relevant to the users in that region rather then duplicating content you wrote for another country.
This also includes translating the existing content carefully and going for a “transcreation” approach to target the content according to the region’s nuances and culture.
Besides content, give the user whatever they will need in their language.
Make a seamless experience for the user while filling forms, accessing multimedia or purchasing items.
Also, answer their queries in their native language.
Keep a backlinking plan for the country you are targeting.
You will have to communicate with local publishers to get backlinks from authoritative sites and avoid any toxic backlinks.
Summing It Up
International SEO may look daunting and if you need any help, you can contact our experts at Markfiniti to expand your business across different regions.
However, once it is set in place, you have a huge opportunity to grow at hand.
Therefore, take the leap of faith and start expanding your business.