4 Pillars of International SEO Success

3 min read

Getting SEO right is not easy, let alone getting it right across borders. It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a line of attack and stick to it, and yet not be so rigid that you can’t adapt when you need to. Your website should be an asset and not a liability when targeting a new international audience. Just having different pages in different languages is not enough; you need to optimize each one of those pages according to the audience in that country in order to gain increased visibility and validity, including from the search engines. So, here are 4 key steps to follow to attain international SEO success.

Don’t Take Your Site’s URL Structure Lightly

Before everything else, take this into consideration. If you’re catering to an international audience, say New Zealand, for example, a lot depends on whether you want to choose a country-coded subdomain (nz.yourbrand.com), a subfolder (yourbrand.com/nz), or a different domain altogether specifically SEO-optimized for your customer base in New Zealand. If you were to go with creating a different domain, keep in mind that you’ll have to start from scratch and that your SEO data would be dispersed across various pages, making it all the more difficult to keep a track on. While picking any of the first two options would make it easier to collect and interpret data, but that would also mean creating or modifying content and SEO strategies thereon for your customer base in New Zealand. Lastly, you will have to find a way to let search engines know which version of your website is meant for which country.

Streamline Your Site’s User Experience for Country-specific Audience

Again, let’s take New Zealand as an example. Irrespective of whatever URL route you take, and even though majority of the population in New Zealand speaks English, you will have to translate your pages in Maori, too, the other language widely (not as widely spoken as English) language. If your original website follows US English, you can’t use the same pattern for New Zealand, too, as the country observes (mostly) spellings from the UK English. And that can be a major put off for some of the audience you are trying to acquire. Also, it doesn’t all end at translations. To ensure Google shows your content to the right audience, you will also have to use the hreflang attributes. This allows Google to show your page only to those users who log in from IP addresses that speak the same language you are targeting or have translated for.

Bridge the Gap between Keyword Differences among Countries

A keyword that is trending in the US may be at the bottom, or vice-versa. Going after the same keyword in a different country that had brought you huge success in the previous country is a huge, huge mistake. You need to very aware of the keyword differences between the countries you are trying to expand to. And this is where tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs come to your aid; you can do a detailed Keyword Research and Analysis according to the search volume in the country you are trying to target and device your keyword strategy accordingly. It would also do you a whole of good if you can narrow down the user intent in the target-country and club your keyword and content strategy together to create something that has good chances of gaining success over the period of time. The biggest challenge, however, for you, is going to recognising that culture and demographics have a huge role to play as people might refer to different things by different words. It is something you need to duly take into consideration before start thinking of business expansion globally.

Look to Build Country-specific Backlinks

If you are looking to expand your business internationally, it means that you’ve had major success in the capturing the market back home. And if you’re had major success in capturing the market back home, it means that you already know the value of quality backlinks. The role of having high-quality backlinks by your side when expanding your website globally is no different, except for one – the backlinks need to come from country-specific websites. So, if you are looking to capture the New Zealand market, the backlinks, too need to come from websites with .nz. This strategy makes sense not only from user’s perspective but also Google’s. It’s one way of being in the good books of the latter, so to speak.

And while we are at it, it’s important that you know we are #1 International Link-building Agency. And we have ranked over 30,000 websites and more than 50,000 keywords across niches, across countries, in multiple languages. You can get in touch with us anytime or select a package that best suits your needs. We will take it from there.

Mohit Behl
[email protected]