The optimization of websites is old news. However, the process of international search engine optimization for your website means that search engines like Google know which countries you are targeting. International SEO also means that you use multiple languages for your business.
When you have an online eCommerce store or services page, you will know where you get the most website visitors. However, if that number is high with international visitors who speak a different language, it is time to change your international SEO strategy. It will result in a different experience for your visitors who will keep coming back for more.
It may seem like a foreign concept or something brand new when looking at this for the first time. However, you may already be familiar with it. International SEO is like geotargeting, but you will be optimizing your website for different languages and countries instead of locations. So, you can attract a foreign audience to your website.
If your business objective is to create a website that is built for worldwide SEO, you need to focus on three things to achieve this target:
These three are the basic ingredients with which you can target countries and languages to improve global SEO. Of course, depending on your product or service, you may skip on one or two of the approaches mentioned above.
For example, if you have a t-shirt business that is popular for its Spanish slogans, you will need to optimize your website for language targeting. However, since Spanish is the common language for Spain and Mexico, you will not need to target one specific country.
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International SEO can be done in several ways. However, SEO which is done for local visitors differs from SEO for international visitors. Here are the best international SEO practices for excellent results.
Employing URL structures to target a specific country through websites alone is a great way to get started with your international SEO strategy. These include using country code top-level domains like ccTLD. You will also need to have subdomains and a subdirectory. Moreover, using gTLD with language parameters is great.
ccTLD uses two-letter codes at the end of each domain URL instead of using .com like in most websites. This code makes a domain URL specific for every country. Australia is .au while Canada is .ca and so on. This code tells the users and Google which territory a website belongs to or where it was registered.
You can target your entire website in a different language or target a few web pages alone. It can be done by showing search engines which languages you have set up on your website. This targeting can be done using hreflang or simple language meta tags.
You will need to ensure that your entire website is in the region's primary language that you are targeting. Using Google translations or auto-web translators is still a no-go area since they are not as good as actual translators.
Automatically redirecting a visitor to the regional language is not a good practice. The best route is to ask them and then redirect them to the preferred language. For example, you will not know if the user based in Italy is Italian. It could be a tourist or an international student who prefers using the website in English.
It is a good option to tailor your website content to meet the target audience's culture and language. Each piece of content should be suitable for your target audience. Things like currency, language, and time zones should be localized. Additionally, do not forget the contact information or the addresses of the local point of contact.
The localized content strengthens your international SEO strategy by sending signals to both search engines and the users that they have come to the right spot. Cultural differences are another important thing to keep in mind while designing and creating content for your international website. For example, the colors and layouts that are used should fit with local norms. Additionally, the style of humor you use in your content should not be offensive in any way.
The following features will signal search engines that you are targeting an international country. These are:
To effectively develop an international SEO strategy in 2021, you need to answer a few questions. These questions are important regardless of whether you are doing international SEO yourself or with the help of SEO consultants. These questions are:
Let's go through them one by one.
An international SEO process starts with the research, so you know your current position and your potential reach in the global market. The research will tell you where you need to focus and make changes to reap the maximum benefits of international SEO.
To begin with, you need to ascertain the current international organic search visibility. Additionally, you should also know your website traffic and the conversion rate. All of this can be done using Google Analytics to identify which countries and languages are your audiences. The statistics will tell you if there is a potential market that you may not have noticed for your product.
After you know the demand for your product in the international market, the next step is to build a strategy that targets the chosen audience. This targeting can be done by carefully selecting keywords that rank high for your related industry and product or service.
Do not forget to assess our competitors both in the local and the international markets. It will also give you answers on how to target the chosen region effectively.
The previous research on keywords will open doors to many other opportunities. But, first, it would be best to see which keywords or web pages attract the highest search visibility and traffic. Then, it can give you a clear idea about your long-term aims for international SEO.
The CTRs and conversion rates can help you determine if you need to target your audience for language or country. The Geo reports available under the audience section of Google Analytics can answer these questions for you.
See if you already have good organic search visibility that indicates a positive trend and a good conversion rate. If yes, you can prioritize these markets to generate revenue and cash on the organic search potential. Enhance and prioritize restructuring web pages that have high website traffic.
You can start by running tests on those web pages rather than starting from scratch. If your organic traffic is low or the conversion rates have a downward trend, you should not ignore them. It only means that you will need to put in extra effort and deploy more resources to reach the desired visibility.
Once you have the answers to all the previous questions, the next step is a little more keyword research. Integrating the hreflang tags in your content with local keywords will ensure that your content is available in other languages. Additionally, it will also save you from having duplicate content on your website. Search engines attract web pages that are localized for users from across the world.
Creating an international SEO strategy is a complicated process that takes time. However, to get started, you need to start with the three most important strategies. These are:
Your URL structure should be planned for the long term. For example, country code top-level domains are ideal for reaching an international audience. These help improve search engine rankings.
Localization needs significant effort because this is the only way to reach your international audience. If you have a specific country that generates high revenue for you, SEO project outsourcing to that particular country is a great idea.
Localization of keywords is not enough. You must also consider tailoring your website content to align with the culture of that specific country. Again, consider taking the advice of international SEO professionals before finalizing your international SEO strategy.
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