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Girl with laptop showing many international flags.

Did you know that 93% of online experience starts with the search engine, and 70% of the world’s desktop search traffic was through Google?

This shows how vital SEO has become. It’ll either make or break your website’s visibility on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). 

However, many small and medium enterprises have entered new markets and slowly become international companies. 

If you want to learn more about international SEO and how to create a strategy for your website so that you can rank in SERP, regardless of the language and country, then keep on reading!

What Is International SEO?

International SEO is the process of ensuring that Google and other search engines can quickly identify the target countries and languages of your website. 

SEO written in blocks. International SEO.

You might be wondering, is this really needed? 

Tomedes Translation Services explained that International SEO is vital if you want to stay in the game of selling services and products abroad and having a broader customer reach. There are several considerations when you’re planning to create a global SEO strategy for your websites, like the site structure, multilingual keywords and content, and cultural preference.

It’s a great advantage if you’re already knowledgeable about SEO and have experience in handling on-page and technical SEO. If you’re just curious about global SEO or want to start your business’s international expansion, I got you covered as I have researched some translation experts from the translation and SEO experts. 

Recommendations From The Translation Industry 

According to Tirosh, an SEO plan for your international clients involves creating accessible digital content in the native language of your target locale. This is because 46% of Google searches are for local content.

So I have written some suggestions and tips on what you could do to start building your international SEO strategy, as follows:

Study The Local Market

Lionbridge, a business service provider, recommended that when you’re creating a strategy, you need to have a good grasp of your target local market and locale, like the cultural preferences, user intentions, local competitors, and native languages. 

You will also need to evaluate local competitors’ marketing techniques and strategies and incorporate them into your strategy or improve upon it. This will allow your products and services to be more in the preference of your target locale, which will give you an advantage.

Identify Your Target Locale’s Preferred Search Engine Website

Not all countries use Google. You might have heard of China’s Great Firewall that prevents Mainland China from having access to Google. However, did you know that South Korean and Russian online users don’t use Google as well?

For China, the most used search engine is Baidu. South Korea has its own version of Google called Naver, which became known for its $600 million acquisition on Wattpad earlier this year.

Russian internet users use Yandex, a web portal where users can get online payments, analytics, translation, email, etc. 

Google has not taken over the world yet. So research ahead on the most preferred search engine website your target locale will be using and tailor your plan around it.

Make A List Of Multilingual Keywords 

Nimdzi, an international market research company, explained that many companies tend not to think about multilingual keywords when implementing an SEO strategy for their global users.

Keywords written in puzzle pieces. Make A List Of Multilingual Keywords.
The word keywords on a blue background in place of the taken out white puzzle

Keyword research should be the backbone of your plans because even with English-speaking countries like the UK and Australia, certain keywords may rank in the UK but don’t rank in Australia. 

From your URL structure to your on-page SEO, keywords play a big role in ensuring that your target locale will easily find your website and online content.

Build Your URL Structure For Your Target Locale

As mentioned, URL structure is where your multilingual keyword research will come in handy because it’ll make it easier for search engines to identify the kind of content your website has and who your target users are.

However, many people also tend to forget to change their URL format when they integrate international SEO into their website. This is problematic because the URL format of your website will determine the region or country your online customers will come from.

You have three options when changing your website’s URL format:

Country Code Top-level Domain (ccTLD)

This URL structure focuses on a specific country or sovereign state, which will make your website specifically available to a certain international market by adding a two-character top-level domain (TLD) to your website’s URL.

For example, .fr is for France.

 https:// www. google. fr

The downside of having ccTLD is that it’s an entirely different domain, so you will need to build the site’s domain authority and maintain it separately.  

Subdomain

If you want to consolidate your website’s domain authority but want your website to be available across different markets, then creating a subdomain is another option you should consider.

For example, Wikipedia has a subdomain for Germany and German-speaking users.

https:// de. wikipedia. org/

Subdirectory

A subdirectory is a branch off from subdomains and is used to organize the content of your website and improve your SEO as it would be easier to navigate your website.

For example, with Wikipedia’s Germany subdomain, its highlighted portion is the subdirectory. You can implement your multilingual SEO keyword research to your URL format to optimize the translated web page. 

https:// de. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Portal: Europa

Create a Good Landing Page

If you’re familiar with On-page SEO, you understand how essential it is to have a good landing page regardless of the language. 

You don’t want your users to look through your multilingual landing page and be disappointed because even though the contents of your landing page were in their native language, it wasted their time. All due to having horrible translation or worse, it offended them because the translated content of your landing page did not consider your user’s culture.

Tailor High-Quality Multilingual Content  

Writing multilingual content.

About 65% of users said they preferred content in their native language, which makes sense as it’s more convenient for them to purchase the products. They don’t have to translate information internally to understand it better.

Tailoring high-quality content for your multilingual users gives you an edge because it shows how far you’re willing to accommodate them. Also, as previously mentioned, no one wants to waste time on useless content.

You don’t want your international users to be like, “I’m never going back to this website,” all because they weren’t able to find what they were looking for. As much as possible, you’ll create high-quality content so that they will come back for more.

Final Thoughts

Small and medium enterprises have used SEO to expand their businesses in different markets. However, it’s not enough to understand the basics and create multilingual content.¬†

You shouldn’t disservice yourself and your users by creating a mediocre multilingual digital presence just for the sake of it. If you can, collaborate with experts in global SEO and professionals that have a good grasp of the language and culture of your target locale.

Bio

Clarriza Mae Heruela graduated with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and has been a content writer for a couple of years now. She has written several articles on digital marketing, international SEO, marketing to target locales, and the language industry.