Do you want to put your brand in front of international audiences? If so, building an international SEO strategy may be the right solution for you. It helps you expand your company’s online presence and reach your desired foreign target market.
In this article, you will learn more about the basics and benefits of international SEO.
What Is International SEO?
International SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for global audiences. That includes a wide range of SEO practices, including technical SEO changes, country targeting preferences, content localization, and multilingual link building. They let search engines understand which countries you want to target and which languages you use when communicating with audiences.
Why You Should Invest in International SEO
International SEO is the opportunity to attract global customers and provide them with exceptional website experiences. To understand whether international SEO is the right solution for you, first conduct thorough market research. For example, say a good share of your website visitors come from international locations and speak foreign languages. That means you should tweak your website to create better experiences for them.
There are several elements of a fully internationalized website. These include country targeting, language targeting, and creating multilingual content for your desired audiences. International SEO is similar to geotargeting. But, instead of optimizing your website to attract traffic from your location or state, you are optimizing it for international countries and languages.
The Anatomy of an Internationalized Website: The Best SEO Practices to Follow
Now that you have decided to leverage international SEO, here are several practices to follow.
Research your Keywords
Keyword research is the nerve center of your international SEO strategy. It helps you identify relevant phrases used as queries by your international audiences to search for your company. You can also measure the organic search volume for these keywords per country, as well as the level of competition.
You can use many tools to simplify the process. For example, Ubersuggest lets you research keywords by country or region. Via the tool, you can also measure the metrics mentioned above.
Optimize your URL Structure
There are several URL structures you can use when creating an international site.
The first one is ccTLD, or a country-code TLD, such as .it, .ly, or .ca. These domains indicate to searchers and search engines in which country a website is registered. Some ccTLDs, such as .me or .tv, are used for international purposes, and Google treats them generically.
Second, subdomains are third-level domains that may or may not pass/receive link juice from the root domain.
Finally, subdirectories are subfolders of a root domain, where international content is published.
Keep in mind that search engines perceive these URL structures differently. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. Consider consulting a technical SEO expert to explain the differences between these structures and let you pick the one that meets your needs the best.
Whichever URL structure you choose, always make sure your website is easily navigable and crawlable. According to Advisible, a digital marketing agency from Sydney, sitemaps are vital to boost website navigability. Namely, they are strong SEO boosters since they let search engines know what your website is about. Sitemaps are also user-pleasers as they help you create a clean and easily navigable website.
Use Language Targeting to Optimize your Website
Use hreflang tags to tell search engines which languages your website uses. Those are bits of code that indicate which languages your content is currently available in. For example, if Google’s crawlers visit your English website page, you can use hreflang to show that the same content is available in, for example, Italian at the link provided.
When using language targeting, here are several tried and tested rules to follow:
- Everything on your website, from product pages to website navigation, should be in your primary language.
- Hire professional translators to localize your content rather than using machine translations.
- Do not automatically redirect users to different languages based on their location. Only recommend them to searchers.
Localize your Content so that It Resonates with International Audiences
Creating relevant content for international audiences can be challenging. Focus on providing the information that is relevant and suited to your target audiences. By using their local slang, currency, or measures, you build trust with them and show them they are in the right spot.
The process of translating the content in your native language to the language understandable by international audiences is called localization. While it is often used interchangeably with translation, in reality, these two terms are not the same.
The translation process is only a part of localization. Apart from translation, localization also includes a wide range of factors, such as linguistic, cultural, and similar contextual factors.
It is essential to consider the cultural differences when creating your design and content. Different countries perceive different styles of humor, colors, or slang differently. That is why localization is the backbone of your international content marketing strategy. You do not want to create offensive content.
Airbnb is a perfect example of website localization. The company has expanded its presence across 220 countries. To adapt to the needs of global audiences, they have created a multilingual website and application that are available in 62 languages. The content is perfectly localized to resonate with local audiences. They even translated the user-generated content on their websites, such as listing information and client reviews. That is how they foster the culture of authenticity and transparency. To engage audiences, Airbnb provides localized guides for different regions.
Over to You
The fundamentals of international SEO go far beyond translation. It requires a wide range of SEO processes that involve lots of research and analysis. For starters, you will need to target your global audiences and optimize your website strategically. By implementing the SEO tactics mentioned above, you will set a strong foundation for your international online presence.
How do you optimize your website for international audiences? Have you already used the above mentioned international SEO tactics?