SEO directly affects the visibility of your website in the SERPs. The more optimized your site is the more visible it will be.
These are a few points to follow while creating an international SEO strategy:
- Consider all the factors that help you to reach your global scale. Understand the basics of SEO before starting so that you do not overlook anything.
- Research to find out how a product or service is perceived in the international market. For this you may require different tools that will help you find out how the SERPs are different in the different markets. You may also require tools that provide metrics on search features such as Ahrefs or SEMRush. All this will help in knowing what you should compete for better optimization.
- Do keyword research and find the right keywords to be used in the campaign. The right keywords will help to drive traffic to your website.
Keyword research and localisation
To get an idea about the markets and their search potential you can use tools like Ahrefs, Semrush and Google Analytics. You can approach an international SEO services to optimise your website for an international audience.
You will have to do keyword research for each of the markets. You can hire local specialists to help you out with keyword research in a foreign language. You should not translate words from your native language to a foreign language.
- Choose your target countries and understand the markets you will be entering. Find out how your products will appear in the market. Find the competitors and the SERP features. Understand the performance of your website in all the markets you enter using Google Analytics, Google Search Console.
- Understand how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can affect your business. This is important if you are targeting countries around Europe and the UK.
- Different countries have their own search engines which are also popular locally and therefore you should look for strategies for them too. If your target countries have blocked Google then this strategy will help you out. Using a local hosting in the country from where you want to drive traffic can help to improve your site performance and visibility. You could also try CDN for better website performance.
- The domain structure used should signify the country or the language you are using. You can use the top-level domain (ccTLD) depending on the target country. This will help in showing that the website is aimed at them. It will help to improve the visibility in that location and search engines will see it as targeting a particular country.
Website structure and URL optimisation
You should use the right URL structure for a particular country. Use the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) or a subdomain or a subfolder or a gTLD with language parameters.
For example, ccTLD -- example.us
Subdomain -- us.example.com
Subfolder -- example.com/us
gTLD -- example.com/?lan=en-us
If you are targeting a language (used in many countries) then use the language targeting approach. If you are targetting a specific country then country targetting is the best approach.
- When you target a different country you should use their local language. Just auto translating the website in a different language will not be enough. Your website should be localized and you should also check for regional dialects used.
- Your website copy should be localized and it should display the correct time zone, currency, measurements and follow the target country’s laws and regulations. Your content should be adapted as per the new market or you may fail to build brand trust.
When you localize your content you should do a new keyword research to find the local words and phrases. These may not have equivalent words in other languages and people in the target country may be actually using them in their searches.
Content localisation and translation
Provide information that is suitable for your target audience. You should also look into cultural differences when you create content or design because different regions will look at things differently.
You can use translation tools but they should be used only as a guide to help you start. Google likes to deliver content that is relevant to the country and the language of the user.
- Use Hreflang tags in your HTML code to indicate the language and the location the page is aimed at. This will help the search engines to show the localized version of the page to the target audience. Hreflang tags can be used to denote regions too.
- You should list your pages you want the search engine to crawl in an XML sitemap. The XML sitemap can be uploaded in webmaster tools of any leading search engine. This way you can easily get visibility in any language and market.
Technical SEO for international websites
You can place the ‘hreflang’ tag in the XML sitemap and this also allows you to reduce the amount of code on each page.
- Create long content as it tends to rank higher in organic search results. Study what questions your audience have, which topics form the core of your website, what is your expertise in and where you can provide information at length. Your content should include meaningful infographics, images and videos. Use ALT tags for all your images as they will make it accessible to visually impaired users as well as search engine spiders.
- Make your website mobile-friendly by using a responsive design and ensure that the different elements load easily. Use schema markup so that the search engine can deliver more informative search results.
- When you plan your international website you should also consider user experience. The target audience in one country may react differently then another target audience. You should manage the different cultural expectations of your audiences.
Technical SEO for international websites
You can use goe-targetting to tell the search engines the region your website is intended for. It will help search engines to rank your website more accurately in that area.
You should optimise your website for speed and performance by using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights.
Local link-building and on-page optimisation
You can build links from local resources like local directories and review platforms. You should link to local content to build authority in the new markets. You should build your backlink profile for each of your markets.
You can use social media to increase awareness, engagement and conversions. You should interact with your audience on social media and encourage them to comment, share and give feedback.
Multilingual SEO and on-page optimisation
Multilingual SEO is converting your website content into many languages. You can translate your content into the language required. But you should not use tools for this but employ a human to do the translation manually.
Title tags tell the search engine and the users which topic you are covering. Your translated page should include the multilingual SEO keyword. Your meta descriptions should have the main keyword and should be short. Use an active voice and address the searcher directly.
Mobile optimisation for international audiences
You should optimise your website for mobile and use a responsive web design. You can create mobile-friendly content by using short paragraphs, keeping the introduction short and avoiding intrusive pop-ups.
International SEO analytics and measurement
You need to measure your SEO performance to improve on it. You can measure metrics like organic ranking, keyword ranking, website visibility, speed, backlinks, conversion rate and bounce rate.
Cultural considerations and user experience
Different countries differ in their choice of colour and website design. For international websites, cultural differences should be considered. You should alter your website design to make it appealing to the customers in your target country. You should use the language of the audience you are targeting. You should offer products in the currency of your target country. All this will help to improve the user experience.
Staying up-to-date with global SEO trends
Once your international website is built you should assess its performance by using SEO tools.