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International SEO - What is International SEO?

International SEO - What is International SEO?

International SEO is the method of optimizing your website in order that search engines will simply determine which countries you would like to focus on and which languages you employ for business.


international search engine optimization
international search engine optimization

Do You Need to Internationalize?

If you know that a good portion of your website visitors come from a different country than your location, speak different languages, or both, it may be time to make some changes to your website so that everyone A better experience can be created for one. Your international visitors.

On the surface, international SEO may seem like a completely foreign concept, but in reality, you may be more familiar with it than you think. Think of international SEO as geotargeting, however rather than optimizing your website to draw in traffic from your town or state, you are optimizing it for various countries and languages.

  1. Specify your destination country and/or region with a globally consistent URL structure (country targeting).
  2. Set which language your pages are targeting using language tags (language targeting).
  3. Create and maintain content in the languages of your target customers. These are the raw materials you will actually be sorting with.

Sometimes you just want to target a specific language or a specific country. In these cases, you may want to work toward only one or two of these three goals. For example, you have an online clothing company that specializes in t-shirts with Spanish slogans. Since Mexico is as relevant to your business as Spain, you'll want to target the Spanish language, but not a specific country.


International SEO Best Practices

URL Structures for International Sites

There are certain URL structures that webmasters can use to target their websites to a particular country. These include using a country code top-level domain (ccTLD), a subdomain, a subdirectory or subfolder, a gTLD with language parameters, or a completely different domain name. Let's take a closer look at each of these options:

ccTLDs - As defined by Google, ccTLDs use two-letter codes to tell users and search engines in which country, sovereign state, or dependent territory a website is registered. Keep in mind that some country codes, like .ly for Libya, are used so often for other purposes that Google treats them generically.

Subdomain: International content is placed on a separate "third-level domain" that will or might not pass or receive link equity from the foundation domain.

Subdirectory: International content is placed in a specific subdirectory or subfolder of the root domain.

gTLD with language parameters: A generic top-level domain (such as .com, .net, or .org) targets speakers of a specific language by adding a URL parameter.

Different Domain: International content is hosted on a completely different root domain than a non-international site.

Search engines can interpret each different URL structure slightly differently, so each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, including the resources required to implement and maintain them. Before choosing the structure that's right for you, it's important to consider each option in more detail.

Target the Language of Your Website (or Website Pages)

Show search engines which languages you're configured to handle using hreflang or language meta tags: snippets of code that indicate in which language(s) your content is available. Is. The following example will tell Google that an alternative version of the content is available in French at the link provided.

 Some other best practices:

  • Make sure everything from your site navigation to your content to your help desk is in the primary language of the region you're targeting.
  • Don't use machine translations (they aren't good enough yet).
  • Do not automatically redirect a user to a different language based on location. It's fine to suggest an alternative language site, but you don't know (without asking) if the person you're looking for in English in France is a foreigner, a foreign language student, or someone lost on the Internet.
  • Avoid using cookies or scripts to display versions of the page in different languages. Search engines cannot crawl this type of dynamic content, and human users may not see it.


Adapt Your Content to the Language and Culture of Your Target Audience

Be sure to provide information that is relevant to your target audience. By using contact information such as address and phone number along with the local language, currency, and time zone, you're sending a clear signal to users and search engines that they're in the right place. Also, think about cultural differences when creating your design and content. Different regions look at things like color, design, and humor in very different ways.

By making it clear that your page is for them, you increase the chances that they will have a positive experience.

It's also worth noting that, when implemented correctly, international SEO should be almost invisible to users. They just need to get the relevant content, in their language and in their region (where applicable). So, signals have a lot more to do with helping search engines show the right content to the right people than they do with signaling users.


Other SEO Signals

Other signals to show search engines that your site is targeting a specific country include:

  • Host your site on a local IP.
  • Link to local content.
  • Make connections to local resources
  • Finding ways to rank on local search engines like Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China


International Distribution in Brief

If you are targeting a specific country, consider using a ccTLD. But, if you only focus on language targeting, a ccTLD is probably not your best option, as it is designed to target a specific geographic area and not the specific language is spoken there. as In these cases, you may want to use a different internationalization technique, such as using hreflang, subfolders, or subdomains with or instead of the ccTLD. If you decide not to use a ccTLD for your internationally oriented site, see this discussion on the pros and cons of subdirectories vs. subdomains.


Put Your Skills to Work

  • Keyword Ranking – If you have an active campaign for your website, track your site's keywords and ranking pages plus three competitors on four different international search engines.
  • When you do competitive research on a search engine results page, you can get real-time ranking information for your keyword queries and check those results for a specific target area.
  • International SEO ROI Calculator – This calculator helps you decide if an international SEO effort will generate a good return for your business right now.

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