International SEO can be difficult to navigate if you aren’t prepared, but with the correct information, you can take your company to the next level. With these easy-to-implement tips, you’ll be well on increasing your international visibility and boosting sales in no time. But before we get started, let’s ensure that you know exactly what international SEO is…
The most important thing to remember:
The first step is recognizing how you’re currently doing internationally and using benchmarks from our competitors to create a roadmap for success. Each country has its own set of regulations and laws; knowing those rules before investing time or money will save you tons of trouble down the line.
1. Do your research. You can’t just assume that what works in your home country will work elsewhere. Each market is different, so you need to take the time to learn about the cultural nuances and customs of the countries you want to target.
2. Keyword research is essential. Identify the most popular search terms in each language and make sure you use them throughout your website and content.
3. Be sure to localize your content as much as possible – by creating content relevant to your target market and using the correct language. Different cultures have different preferences regarding online shopping behaviors, so localization is vital.
4. Build links and other forms of off-site authority in the country you are targeting.
5. If you are duplicating content on multiple language pages, a default page version should be shown in the search if there are numerous page versions with only differences in language.
Which search engines should you be targeting?
When it comes to international SEO, you can’t just rely on Google. Depending on where you’re targeting, you may need to focus your efforts on other search engines entirely. So if you’re looking to reach a global audience, make sure you’re targeting the suitable search engines for each market!
For example, the most popular search engine in Russia is Yandex, while in China, it’s Baidu.
Naver: Known as the Google of Korea, this Korean search engine is also one of the top four visited websites in South Korea. It’s worth investing time into getting familiar with Naver, as it could be your gateway to Korean audiences!
How can I optimize my site?
Here are some general tips for optimizing your site for international audiences:
1. Use local domains or subdomains for each country you want to target.
2. Translate your content into the local language.
3. Use hreflang tags to indicate the language of your content to search engines.
4. Optimize your website for mobile devices.
5. Monitor your website’s international traffic and user engagement metrics.
International competitors and strategies
You can begin to identify your top competitors by looking at their backlinks. Check out what directories they’re listed in and see if you can get listed there too. You also want to look at their digital strategy- are they using PPC? What keywords are they targeting? etc. etc. You can better optimize your website for international search engines by understanding your competition. Make sure you have a strong content marketing strategy- create blog posts written in the local language of your target audience, or invest in translations for products. Focus on key phrases specific to your target country, which you can find through local search engine results. If it’s relevant and the market is growing quickly enough, then translate all of your content into the native language of the country.
Site structure for international visitors
Regarding site structure for international visitors, some brands take a unique approach. Amazon, for example, creates unique top-level domains (TLDs) for each country. This allows them to target specific countries with different versions of their site, which can be optimized for that particular market. With Google working to make all results the same across the globe, companies like Amazon are forced to compete in an increasingly global marketplace and do so by optimizing their content for the world’s most popular search engine. Unless your business is large enough, you do not need to follow this approach. For moderately sized companies, sub-directories or sub-folders branched from a primary TLD work best. This will help keep your website organized and easy to navigate.
The two options are:
Sub-domain: You can host foreign language content on your current domain but create a separate site for each language (e.g., za.yourbusiness.com or de.yourbusiness.com)
Sub-directory: Set up a subdirectory on your domain for foreign language pages (e.g., yourbusiness.com/UAE/ or yourbusiness.com/Germany/)
It is also possible to edit a URL with parameters of the form site.com?loc=, but Google discourages this practice.
Do Google Translate plugins work well?
While Google Translate plugins can be helpful, they don’t always provide the most accurate translations. This is where hreflang tags come in. Hreflang tags tell Google what language and country a page is targeting, which gives Google the strongest signal for that language and country. So if you’re looking to get your international SEO game on point, make sure to use hreflang tags! Keep in mind that all the language pages are interconnected with backlinks. On all pages, provide the option to change the language and location.
What about local listings?
Creating a sitemap helps search engines index all the pages on your site, even if they’re in different languages. To do this, create a separate sitemap for each language and include the hreflang tag on each page. Don’t forget to submit each sitemap to Google Search Console! As you have multiple duplicate pages only with language change, let Google identify the primary page with the help of canonical tags. Use robots.txt file when necessary. Watch out for duplicate content by creating unique content (and descriptions) for each page, and use 301 redirects where appropriate.
Some more Tips
So you’re expanding your business overseas? Make sure to do your research on the best practices for international SEO. Utilizing the right keywords is essential for success in any market, especially when expanding to a new country. When translating content into other languages, be mindful of keyword cannibalization – using too many words from the translated copy that have been taken from the original
language and therefore are not relevant to that particular audience.
Hardik Mody is a Digital Marketing Manager. He plans and coordinates marketing activities of ValueHits, a full-service Digital Marketing Company in Mumbai, India. With his experience and Expert knowledge in the field, he identifies potential customers and develops marketing campaigns. Also, he is efficient enough to meet the client’s requirements and well-organized in handling Multiple tasks.