International SEO

How Does International SEO work?

At its simplest, international SEO involves localizing content for each target market. This means translating page titles, meta descriptions, headings, body text, images, videos and other elements into the target language. As part of this process you’ll also need to ensure the meaning is retained in translations – something that requires an understanding of nuances like local dialects and cultural differences between countries.

Other key elements of international SEO involve tweaking your URL structure and optimizing website navigation for each target market. For example, many sites create separate subdomains or subdirectories for each country or language they want to target (e.g., or

Page Structure for International SEO

All pages should then be linked internally so that users can easily switch between languages on the same domain – this also helps search engines index all content more efficiently. There’s also the option of using regional extensions as part of your domain name (e.g., but this may be more difficult to manage if you have multiple markets to target at once (in which case it might be better to use ccTLDs like .de or .fr).

You should also configure your server settings so that search engines serve up pages based on geographical location – this means that users in France will see French version pages when they search even if they enter a query in English! You can do this by creating ‘geo targeted’ HTML versions for each country (remotely hosted on separate domains), redirecting traffic from one domain to another based on IP address, or using Google Webmaster Tools’ Geographic Targeting feature which allows you to specify what country you want search results to appear in for certain queries.

Does It Help With My International SEO Rankings?

When done correctly, this helps improve rankings in foreign markets for relevant keywords as well as provide an improved user experience for visitors from those countries who are looking for localized content specific to their region (such as currency conversions).

Finally, it’s important to remember that SEO is not just about optimizing your site itself; developing relationships with local media outlets and bloggers can help build awareness and trustworthiness in other countries too! The most important thing is making sure your content is tailored specifically towards each audience so that they get the most out of their experience when visiting your site no matter where they come from!

Marketing your website overseas is different than marketing domestically. All the hard work to improve your domestic site’s SEO won’t necessarily convert the same with a simple translation of articles. Essentially, international SEO takes you back to the basics in a brand new way.

Back to the Basics

First, review the fundamentals of your website. Determine a domain structure that’s right for you and your company. There are two options to choose from:

-ccTLD: Domains with a country specific extension, like .us
-gTLD: General domains, like .com

Differentiating country specific pages on a gTLD can take several forms:

-Subdomains, like
-Subdirectories, like
-URL variables, such as*

*URL variables are not recommended, as Google warns they can’t be geotargeted. 

Once you’ve decided how to structure the website URL, there are a few other basic tricks to use. If your new international pages are using a ccTLD, use local hosting services to improve local ranking. If you have a physical store local to the area, make sure you register that address with Google and include it on your site. While these tactics may have less effect than the overall URL structure, they will still help search engine results. With high competition, every little bit counts.


Research is the bread and butter of SEO in any location. Start by researching the local search engines and their popularity in the area. While Google is common in most places, there are still some countries Google has little presence. Be sure your SEO is written and managed for the right search engine.

After determining the local search engine, search for your new local competitors. Find out what keywords they are ranking under, what social media is most used for your target market, and study what methods they are using. At this point, it might be helpful to hire a translator or cultural advisor to assist with this process. A translator can help with keyword research as well, since your domestic keywords may not perform as well when simply translated.

Along with generating relevant content to the new region, you’ll want relevant links as well. Using local sources and supporting links will help search engine crawlers better index your site locally, improving your page rank. Be sure to sniff out reliable sources, though, to protect your brand’s authority.

Links to your own pages are managed with Hreflang tags, it’s an HTML code attached to href links. The tags provide details about the page. From language, location, without requiring it to be crawled. This helps by making the process faster for crawlers to analyze the page, and more likely to show up on results pages.

Final Thoughts

Branching out to international marketing is essentially like starting over in a new area. With the foundation of your domestic business and website, international SEO can be an amazing opportunity to expand your brand worldwide. Just remember the first step internationally is always the hardest; once you’ve got the process solidified, each new location will get a little easier. In fact, the most challenging part may one day be simply deciding what area to expand to next!

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