International SEO

World Map Graphic

Search engine optimization is one of the most popular marketing tools in the world. At least, that’s what you hear. Believe it or not, only 30% of businesses use SEO in their marketing strategies, which means you have a clearer path to the top than you ever will!


If you want to know how to rank on Google, it all starts with an understanding of how search engines work. Let’s talk about international SEO and what you need to start ranking higher around the world!

Every Site First Needs a Strong SEO Base

All other rules for basic SEO apply to international SEO. You need to optimize every aspect of SEO to establish a base optimization, then you can add international considerations from there.


USE a reliable SEO checklist that provides a sound structure for you to follow, and consider hiring a professional SEO to make sure everything is setup and optimized correctly.


Once you have the basics taken care of, you can look at the factors that influence International SEO the most.

1. The Right Website

Any SEO strategy built on a broken foundation will not reach its full potential, and your website is the foundation of your strategy. Building a scalable website that works on every device is essential. The most important features include:


  • Fast load times
  • Mobile optimization
  • Clean navigation system
  • Clean XML sitemap
  • Proper internal/external linking structure
  • Easy-to-read page layout

If you can manage this, then you’re on the right track. When you compete at the local level, you only have to compete with who’s in town. For international SEO ranking, your website needs to be as strong as possible.

2. The Right (Versatile) Content

Content is the “house” we build on top of our foundations. For international SEO, content needs to be relevant to everyone, high-quality and consistently uploaded. There is no room for “fluff” or content that serves no purpose.


Remember that Google uses location as a ranking factor to match the right people with the right content, so don’t make your content too location-specific. Well, not specific to one location at least.


For example, if I’m running an eCommerce store that ships internationally, then I’m going to have to diversify my content to stay relevant to everyone. 


Let’s say we ship 60% of our international goods to Canada, the UK, and Australia. In that case, we would make content about our products that’s more relevant to them. If we’re selling solar panels, this could be content with topics like:


  • Solar tax deductions in Canada
  • Are solar panels worth it in Australia?
  • How much do solar panels cost in the UK?

You get the point. Location-specific content is helpful, as long as you aren’t limiting yourself to one area. If you have sectioned your content into two or more sub-sites because of the importance of your international clients you would then create content specifically for them.

3. The Right Language

With respect to language, you may need to create content specific to each of the languages in your targeted countries.


Content should be created by an individual that is proficient in the language rather than relying on a content translator. Translators generally do a poor job of translating content and some site visitors could be insulted that you haven’t taken the time to create content in their language.


You can show icon links to page content written in other languages at the top of the site, and if the target country is important enough, you may need to recreate the site’s content in it’s own section of the site.

4. The Right URL Structure

URL structure and optimization is always important to SEO, and international sites have special considerations.

If you want to have separate sites for the countries you are targeting you will need to decide on whether to use a subdirectory or subdomain structure.


Using a subdirectory such as to target France for instance, will not diminish your domain authority, and it provides you with a place for all of your content targeting France.


5. The Right Backlinks

Building backlinks (links from other sites to yours) is essential to establishing your website as an authority in your field. When competing at the local level, you can get away without backlinks for years. At the international level, you need to develop a backlink strategy right away.


Content marketing and syndication is extremely important to international SEO. It can be a great source of quality backlinks and your content can be distributed to many other websites.


Don’t fall for any agency that offers thousands of “quality” backlinks in weeks or days, as the best-case scenario is that it will do nothing for your strategy, other than harm it. Backlinks have to develop slowly over time or Google will notice a red flag.


Instead, focus on building high-quality content that other sites will want to link to. There are thousands of ways to do this, and you don’t have to limit yourself.


For example, you could try developing a unique feature on your website like an online calculator. If other sites take notice and link to your site, this could help you build quality links over time. This strategy is called “linkbait”.


Other than that, take a look at your competitors’ backlinks and take note of the pages with the most link. From there, produce more relevant and up-to-date content. Then, reach out and ask those referring domains to link to your better content instead, which is a win-win.


Regardless of your strategy, start focusing on building these links immediately. It will take time, but it pays off in the long run!

6. Utilizing Local SEO Strategies for International SEO

If you have the resources, feel free to use local SEO principles in your international SEO strategy. By using Google Maps, Google Business Listing, and other directories, apply appropriate addresses to these locations. It may confuse Google at first, but if you have pages on your sites to back up your locations, then this won’t be a problem in the long term.


Warehouses, factories, stores, and others can be listed on these platforms, and adding them to your site will help solidify with Google that your business operates in these locations. From there, use location-specific keywords throughout your strategy like adding “in Washington, DC” if you have a branch in that city.


More importantly, take advantage of the phrase “near me”. Google will check users’ location when they search this and you want your location to be the first place they see. This is especially beneficial for chains or franchises, but if you have several locations, give it a shot!

7. Find the Right Help

By choosing an experienced international SEO agency, you’re setting your company up for success. A DIY site and content strategy can help you rank locally, but if you’re competing with the entire world, it’s a different story.


Also, the payoffs of a quality SEO strategy can last for years to come. You can consider this a “buy once, cry once” investment. Once you rank at the top on a high-traffic keyword, you’ll be less dependent on ads and have a steady flow of traffic for years to come!

Start Ranking Today

Now that you know what international SEO services can do for your marketing strategy, why wait? SEO takes time to develop, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards.


Our core specialty is SEO, and our results have helped to develop many successful long-term relationships with our clients, many of whom have been with us for over a decade, and we hope to add you to our long list of satisfied customers.


Contact us now for a free consultation.

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