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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.