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International SEO

One of the most exciting ways to expand the reach of your website is to try to reach an international audience. It is an available alternative that can greatly enhance our business, and in many cases, multiply it many times over.

International SEO | SEO at Hand
International SEO | SEO at Hand

It is absolutely possible for a company to be successful by staying within the confines of the local community, but it is also not a bad idea to look outside the company’s country of origin.

There are some real benefits to expanding your business to different countries if you understand how to do it correctly.

Google is making it easier to manage your website’s international SEO by introducing country level website targeting.

Many webmasters and publishers run websites in more than one language and serve them to a wide range of countries. This is great for the user, but tough on your website’s global SEO.

As most searches in any given country are for local content, serving content designed for another country can reduce your visibility in the search results. Each of these websites needs to be configured to target the specific countries they want to show up in.

Until recently, there was only one way of doing this – using the ccTLD (country code top level domain) at the end of the URL, like  http://www.example.com/de for German or  http://www.example.com/es for Spanish. Now we’re rolling out an easier way – you can set your content to only be shown in specific countries with website targeting.

Pros and Cons of international SEO

While there are many obvious benefits to expanding into different countries around the world, there are some that might not be so obvious. For example, if you launch a product in one country, and it does well, you can use that data to decide whether or not it’s worth launching in another country.

You can also find out how people in different countries actually use your product. It’s great for customer insights.

If you make mistakes with international SEO, though, or don’t do it right, it can end up causing more harm than good. With this in mind, here are some tips to help your international SEO efforts succeed:

  • Make sure you’re not just copying and pasting the same information into every country blog post.
  • Try to focus on spelling and grammar for each country.
  • Have a localized link strategy for each country.

Of course, a variety of factors must be overcome to create a multilingual website that ranks well in Google.

First of all, should you opt for separate domains, subfolders or subdomains?

Country-specific

yoursite.es : (Clear geotargeting, Best for SEO, Easy separation of sites)

Subdomains

it.yoursite.com : (Better geotargeting, Easy separation of sites, Good for SEO)

Subdirectories

yoursite.com/fr/ : (Good geotargeting, Good for SEO)

URL parameters

yoursite.com/?lang=en : (Not recommended)

So, from this point on, I don’t think you will have too much difficulty in choosing the best structure.

What about hosting for International SEO?

As is well known in the Webmaster community, there are a myriad of factors that Google uses to establish the location of a business: the domain extension, the language in which it is written, the cities or addresses that are shown in context, etc.

So having a website hosted in the same country as your target audience will not help your local SEO.

How do translations work?

We all know the capabilities that Google Translate and other translation programs currently have, but frankly they are far from being good enough for professional marketing purposes.

Considering the above, it is very easy to understand that a manual translation by a specialized translator is the best way to go.

However, in order to optimize time and resources, these translations are often done automatically. It is therefore important to put good spelling and grammar first, and to write in a natural way.

Also have in mind that translated URLs will help the SEO of our website, but be careful not to use accents in the URLs.

Translations of articles should also be adapted to the local culture. Measurements (inches / cm), references to currencies, etc, should not be confusing.

All of the above can help you get an idea about the basics of International SEO. Go for it!