When looking at international SEO, it is the process whereby you set your website in a customized setting so that search engines can effectively and seamlessly identify your target countries and the languages you utilize for your business. When you have a business that runs multiple websites in different countries, the way you optimize the sites is what will ensure that the target audiences are able to get the content structured for them.
- 1 What does it capture for you?
- 2 How can you structure your International SEO Strategy?
- 3 International SEO best practices
- 4 What is the search engine point of view?
What does it capture for you?
International SEO lets you reach a target market by allowing search engines to sieve and identify what your niche market is. It avoids the case scenario whereby you end up with traffic or visitors to your site who are from countries not within your operational niche or speaking other languages that you cannot relate to. International SEO is a geo-targeting process that makes the content of your site relevant to only the niche market you desire, language orientation you are familiar with, currencies you want to deal with and time zones that you can service.
International SEO enables you structure your content and business service to the relevant group of individuals. It gives you the chance to avoid aspects to do with expensive shipping and inadequate client support due to varied time zones. International SEO lets you structure content especially if you are targeting multiple geographical areas that maybe speak different languages. What International SEO aids you in is the management of the content so that the search engines are able to effectively reflect the content for the specific target group of individuals when the search is made.
International SEO allows you to expand into international markets and also build the awareness of your brand and the services you are able to offer. It allows you to build the relevant traffic and increase conversion through direct targeting.
How can you structure your International SEO Strategy?
You can effectively use the varied domain structures to structure International SEO with ease. There are 4 principle settings that you can take up with the domain setting:
- Sub-domain structure
- Separate TLDs
- Separate Language or location directory
- Separate names
When utilizing these sub-domains, you have to be careful since there are risks associated with each domain setting.
The risk with using the Sub-domain structure is that there can be possible sub-domain cannibalization. This is because the sub-domain always has to take into account different languages which may become an issue. Search engines usually feature one sub-domain from any selected site when generating the SERPs even if there are multiple and have varied content. This then means that plenty of traffic may go to the undesired page which is what the cannibalism aspect is all about.
Separate domains are usually workable for decentralized businesses but the risk with it is the semantic flux. In the first instance, getting to use the same name across varied geo-locations is difficult. The semantic flux manifests when interrelated domains are present within the same Search Engine Reports Pages for a similar search which search engine fails to distinguish due to duplicated theme. What the search engine does in this case is identify them as similar content and hence provide a position for one.
Separate Language or location directories
The risk that comes with utilizing the separate language or location sub-directories is internal cannibalization. Separate language or location sub-directories only work best with websites or businesses that offer the same product or similar content over all locations. The problem with this is that the landing pages for the site end up competing against each other which means getting the right page to rank may become difficult.
When looking at International SEO, the sub-directory alternative is best suited for the process since it is easier to manage though the risk of cannibalism is still a reality.
International SEO best practices
Search engines always need to be guided as to the results they will effectively display once the searches have been performed. Directing the search engines to project the results in terms of the country or language is a process that has to be captured through:
Localize your content
In your website, you should make sure that you provide the content that has been optimized for the target market. You can use the Keywords that are localized for the content and ensure they are relevant to the target audiences. Content is the link between a business or website and it’s the users or clients. A connection has to be established which will inform and communicate and establish a relation.This can be done using the local language, time zone, contact information and local currency as this will be instrumental in allowing the search engine to sieve the results using the guidelines. In the same wavelength, users will be able to note the trend of content and identify with the orientation that will fit their needs.
Speak the local language
The key to making your content be optimized for a target audience is to literally display the content in the local language.It is important not to use translation codes or to automatically redirect visitors to a different language based on the location since they may be foreigners in the same country. Using cookies or scripts to indicate language is also a bad idea since search engines are not able to crawl such and visitors browsing the internet may not be able to effectively monitor the same. You are better of utilizing the language metatags which are able to indicate to the search engines which language your content is structured in. make use of local images, stories and case studies that users can relate to easily.
Consider site structure
Site structure is one of the effective modes of separating the country and mapping search engines with a way of identifying different content meant for the targeted audiences. To achieve, you can choose subdomains or subdirectories to structure the hierarchy so that the search engines can easily crawl the information.
Targeting allows you to use a sub-domain or a sub-folder instead of creating a different domain for the site. This allows you to decide whether you are targeting a language or a particular country. This gives you enough traffic not to mention the conversions from each country or language users.
With graphic design, what might be appropriate for one country or language may be grossly inappropriate to another. You therefore have to keep in mind the audience and thereby structure the graphic design to take an affiliation to the local appreciation which will in turn influence satisfaction of the target market.
Use XML Sitemaps
Using XML sitemaps is important since it is what informs Search Bots of the number of pages your website has and how they have been optimized for the selected markets. You will have to register the XML Sitemaps with the search engines to ensure the search Bot works effectively.
Other alternatives in SEO Signal structuring
There are other ways that you can utilize in a bid to direct search engines as to the intended target audience and they include:
- Linking to content that is local
- Tracing hosting service from local IP
- Using local resources to build links
- Utilizing the connection to local search engines
What is the search engine point of view?
Search engines like Google are characterized as using ccTLD to get a lock on the country that is being targeted. This is to say using ccTLD can give you the results you expect in terms of customizing content for your target audience.
Although users and target audiences may have some varied idea as to what the ccTLD customization is all about, the search engine result landings are what drive the advantage when it comes to international SEO.
If you are an international organization and need help with your International SEO strategy, feel free to contact me.