How To Implement International SEO?

Your company has grown tremendously, and now you think it’s time to go global so you can diversify your market and bring in more revenue. If so, you need to curate a well-planned international SEO strategy.

Why Should You Implement International SEO?

If you have customers from more than one country seeking your services, or customers that speak different languages, you need to consider opting for international SEO. By doing so, you can;

  • Attract a wider audience
  • Grow your global brand presence
  • Bring in more qualified leads.

How Does It Work?

Are you familiar with the concept of local SEO and “geotargeting”?

International SEO is somewhat similar. Google effectively uses its search engine to bring up relevant results whenever a user enters a search query. These search results are also specific to the user’s location and language.

With international targeting, you can optimize your website so search engines can identify the countries you are targeting and rank you in search engine results for language-specific queries.

But how do you implement international SEO strategies along with your localized SEO strategies? Let’s take a closer look at how you can optimize your website for international targeting.

Steps to Optimize Your Website for International SEO.

Analyze Your Target Market

Since you are targeting a much wider audience, you need to understand which regions can provide you with qualified leads. Then again, if you are still struggling with localized SEO, international SEO may be more complex and costly for you.

A target market analysis will help uncover where you should target your international SEO strategies. You can do this by either hiring a digital marketing expert or simply looking at Google Analytics for your website.

  • Google Analytics provides you with the number of users you have region-wise. Go to your Google Analytics Account > Audience > Geo > Language or Location. See where your website ranks for target countries so you can do targeted SEO optimization.
  • Alternatively, you can do SEO for regions you may not have visibility yet, but it will be more time-consuming and costly.
  • As a part of this analysis, you should also look for relevant keywords. While some keywords may be similar to those you used in your local SEO strategy, you also need to search up keywords to target international regions. It also helps to explore the keywords your competitors are using.

This takes us to the next step:

Do a Competitive Analysis

Before you create an effective SEO strategy, you need to identify your international competitors and do an in-depth competitive analysis. By doing so, you will not only have an idea of what strategies works in the international market but also identify where your company can benefit.

Study your competitor’s site structure and URL structure, content, and search engine optimization. An in-depth analysis will show where you have the potential to outrank your competitors on search engines.

international competitive analysis

Setup A SEO Friendly URL

To target users from specific regions, you need to set up an SEO-friendly URL. This can be done in 3 ways: a subdirectory/subfolder, a subdomain, or a country code top-level domain (ccTLD).

  • Subdirectories will allow you to host multiple languages on one generic top-level domain gTLD by adding the country two-letter ISO code to the URL. For example, business.com/es-co or business.com/es.
  • Subdomains will appear before your generic top-level domain gTLD for different sections of your website. For example, us.business.com or co.business.com.
  • Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) uses the same two-letter ISO code to specify what country/region the website operates in. For example, business.com.us or business.com.au.

Use Hreflang Tags

Hreflang is an HTML tag attribute that tells Google’s search engine the languages you are using on your site pages. Google will then tie that Hreflang tag attribute to targeted regional audiences.

Languages are usually identified according to the ISO 639 language codes and the ISO 3166 country codes. Hreflang is inserted inside the HTTP headers and HTML tags of each page or the sitemap.

Final Thoughts

Using the four steps above, you can get your international SEO strategy rolling by targeting users in specific regions/countries speaking different languages. It usually helps to hire a digital marketing expert or international SEO agency to do these steps for you; consult an expert and get the best strategy for your business.