Any good international SEO plan must include extensive research. When entering new markets, it’s tempting to leap in with both feet and simply translate your online content to get things started.
However, if you do not understand local search patterns, you risk wasting time, energy, and money while expanding your international content. Your approach must be tailored to each new territory on an individual basis.
With that in mind, here are some essential international SEO tips for businesses that are looking to expand globally using international SEO best practices.
1: Localize for every search engine
Although Google has 84 percent of the search engine market share, other search engines have a monopoly in certain countries, like Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China. What works for Google may not necessarily work for them, so SEO strategies need to be adapted accordingly.
Baidu rates homepages higher than internal pages and looks for exact keyword matches in titles, so you can prioritize homepage optimization over all else.
2: Optimize domain structure
The website you use in your home country will not be adequate in another country. Websites should be tailored to a particular audience, and the domain layout should reflect this.
For a French website, for example, you would want to use a different country code top-level domain (ccTLD), such as ‘.fr’. It can boost brand exposure for search queries in that particular location because search engines would identify it as targeting a specific country.
You could also add a subdirectory to your current domain, such as “www.domain.com/fr,” or build a subdomain (such as france.domain.com). This can be a simple and cost-effective method of targeting global markets.
3: Adapt according to the language
When targeting other nations, make sure the website is in its native language. Brazil, for example, has Portuguese as its national language. However, since the Portuguese spoken in Portugal differs greatly from that spoken in Brazil, merely translating a website into Portuguese will not suffice; it must be localized. You’ll need to be aware of regional dialect variations.
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4: Localization is the key
Word isn’t the only thing that needs to be localized. Aside from the copy, your website must correctly show the correct time zone, currency, and measurements, as well as comply with each country’s laws and regulations.
Localizing the website’s content will also necessitate new keyword study, as certain words and phrases may not have an analogous word in other languages. In reality, even though there is an exact match translation, it does not guarantee that people in your target country are searching for it.
5: Hreflang tags
Hreflang tags are bits of HTML code that signify the language and position of a page. This enables search engines to provide the appropriate localized version of a website to a user. For example, if a user in Madrid types in a search query related to your site, a hreflang tag tells Google that the Spanish version of the page should appear in the search results.
Hreflang tags may also be used to identify areas. An “en” tag, for example, tells Google that your page is intended for English speakers, while “en-us” is for English speakers in the United States.
6: Cultural appropriation of the content
The final point in our list of international SEO tips is cultural appropriation. When developing foreign SEO plans, user experience should also be taken into account. Because of cultural differences, one target audience might respond differently to content than another.
Western viewers, for example, prefer websites with simple, easy-to-use interfaces, while Chinese users prefer cluttered websites with lots of links. This is due to the Chinese perception that the more a store has on display, the more it has to sell.
The focus of the business strategy is the consumers, and hence, focusing on important SEO metrics and strategies is no different. The heart of a good international SEO strategy lies in making the content relatable, providing a smooth user experience, and making the website search-friendly. Keeping these international SEO tips in mind will without a doubt help you expand your business in the international markets.