International SEO is the way webpages are organised and optimised to make it possible for search engines to identify the countries, content and user languages you want to target with your strategy.
Any multi-national business should be concerned with international SEO. Managing multiple countries, languages, cultural differences and other factors can be difficult, yet with a good understanding of the basics and some careful planning, it’s possible to create a winning international SEO campaign.
Most online-only businesses can benefit from some targeted content marketing, which can often improve international page rankings. Great content goes a long way in driving site traffic, and many online businesses are already adept at optimised content creation.
When your content is already helping to generate leads, using SEO to promote it may be the easiest way to run a content marketing campaign.
This approach, however, often does not always work for more traditional businesses.
Geotargeting with subfolders
One of the easiest ways to generate targeted international content is to create country-specific subfolders on an existing website. These subsections can be geotargeted using the Google Search Console, containing nation-specific content and language.
The benefits of this approach are:
- Less technical overhead and management
- Subfolders inherit from the parent domain
- Single-site promotion is easier and more affordable
Creating nation-specific domains
Creating domains for each target country works best with local web hosting and marketing. Country-specific domains give international businesses greater traction with local consumers, especially when vying for business against established local competitors.
For more traditional businesses with a physical presence in the target nation, this is usually the most sensible approach to international SEO. Though configuring each separate site and marketing them independently can get pricey, the extra spend is almost always worth the improved reputation on the ground.
Amazon and eBay use this strategy quite successfully, using targeted domain URLs to earn the trust of international customers.
International SEO can be a complex process, especially for businesses just getting started with cross-border sales. With some research and personalised planning, it’s possible to create a successful international SEO campaign that improves rankings, drives traffic and improves leads and conversions.