10 International SEO Best Practices to Expand to Global Markets

Site Audit Issues
10 International SEO Best Practices to Expand to Global Markets

Expanding your business internationally has never been easier. With the help of the Internet, you can easily reach a global audience and find your place on the worldwide market. However, to achieve this, you need to know how to let this audience find you.

Achieve this with the help of a powerful international SEO strategy. What is international SEO? Basically, this is a practice of optimizing the websites to make them visible and relevant in search engine results in multiple countries and different languages.

Read further to discover the best global SEO practices and apply them to your business.

  1. Identity your global target markets

Before you start building your global SEO strategy, you need to have a clear vision of your international expansion plan. This vision begins with defining the markets you want to target. This will help you tailor your strategies to each market's preferences, cultural nuances, and search behaviors.

  1. Keep linguistic diversity in mind

A huge and important part of any SEO strategy is content. It stays the same if your SEO is international. To make your content work for different audiences, you need to list all the languages used in target countries and translate them into each of these languages.

It's also crucial to remember that some countries have more than one official language — for instance, Canadians speak English and French. In this case, you need to ensure that the Canadian version of your website is available in both languages. The same tactic applies to culturally diverse countries that might have only one official language but a lot of residents who speak other languages, too.

  1. Establish a structured URL approach

Your target audience should have a website in their language and be able to access this version easily if you want to succeed in your international SEO. How to do that?

There are three common approaches.

  1. Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) that look like www.yoursite.co.uk, www.yoursite.us, etc. This is a costly option as you have to purchase a domain for each country. However, it is one of the most clear to users unless we're talking about countries like Canada — in this case, www.yoursite.ca won't help you figure out if the page is in English or French.
  2. Subfolders that look like www.yoursite.us/fr. They allow using a single domain for various languages and easily create new versions of pages by changing their URLs — this is much quicker than switching to a new hosting.
  3. Subdomains such as www.de.yoursite.com. They allow you to use localized hosting and come up with customizable names for each location. At the same time, Google has to crawl each of the subdomains separately instead of seeing them as a part of your main domain.

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4. Set up a content delivery network (CDN)

A slow loading speed can impact your website's SEO rankings and generally worsen the user experience. Using ccTLDs or subfolder domains allows you to avoid that.

However, if you have only one website for your international markets, consider implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs distribute your website's content across multiple servers worldwide, reducing loading times for users in different locations.

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5. Conduct keyword research for each foreign market

Another one of the international SEO best practices is conducting comprehensive keyword research for each target market. Doing so will allow you to understand local search volume and demand for a specific keyword, as well as verify if a keyword is relevant to a target country at all.

Various countries might use different terms to describe certain things, even when speaking the same language. Checking a keyword in special tools allows you to verify if it is used in a country of choice often and replace it if necessary.

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6. Opt for single-language pages

You need to localize your content for each foreign market you're targeting. This includes not only on-page copy but also currencies, phone numbers and addresses, time zones, and even images.

Doing that will not only make your website more convenient for target users to explore but also potentially improve its position in search results as it helps search engines accurately identify and index the language of each page.

7. Maintain language consistency in internal links

Another useful international Search Engine Optimization tip is linking to content in the same language (and targeting the same country). This will help prevent confusion for visitors and make it easier for search engines to understand the linguistic context of your website.

Keep in mind that if you don't have too many pages tailored to a certain country or market, then it might be a bit too early to launch it. Try creating enough useful content for your visitors before you start promoting in this language.

8. Properly integrate Hreflang tags

Hreflang tags are pieces of code usually placed in the page's backend. They help Google understand the target market of each page and its linguistic and regional content.

Implement these tags correctly to ensure that search engines will deliver the right version of your content to the appropriate audience. Consider running SEO audits to ensure that there are no errors in tag implementation.

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9. Avoid IP address or cookies-based redirects

Sometimes, users stumble on the wrong version of your website — for instance, the one in a different language or targeted at a different country. In this case, it might be tempting to redirect them to the correct version automatically.

However, this is not an international SEO best practice to follow. Instead of implementing automated redirects, prompt the users to switch to a more appropriate website version. IP location analysis is not the most reliable thing, and the user might be previewing the exact version of your website they were looking for. In this case, automated redirects will frustrate them and cause confusion for bots.

10. Develop backlinks tailored to target countries

Another one of the most essential international SEO tips is to build diverse and region-specific backlink profiles for each country that you're going to target. Even if you already have a strong presence in several markets, you have to start from scratch in new ones. That's when localized backlinks from reputable sources can help you. With their help, you can enhance your website's authority and improve visibility in local search results.

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How to conduct an SEO audit with Netpeak Spider?

How to do international SEO efficiently if you are relatively new to this concept? This is quite easy if you use smart, automated tools like Netpeak Spider.

Netpeak Spider

This tool runs an in-depth technical site audit, spotting all the details that can poorly affect your international SEO — broken links, duplicate pages, faulty meta tags, and other issues. It also offers you a detailed description of every spotted issue: the kind of threat it carries, tips on fixing it, and even a list of helpful links with extra information. Netpeak Spider also categorizes issues by severity and color-codes them.

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As you can see, even if you haven't conducted a professional SEO audit before, the tool will do it for you, quickly highlighting flaws and suggesting improvements. All you have to do after that is implement those suggestions.

Entrust your international SEO strategies to Netpeak Spider and see how this will help you improve your business's global performance.

Bottom line

These days, a business can scale to global markets very quickly. However, speed alone doesn't guarantee success. You'll also need a powerful SEO strategy to help your international audience find you and encourage them to become your loyal customers.

International SEO might seem like a complex subject to tackle. But with the help of the tips listed in this article and smart tools like Netpeak Spider, you can quickly implement SEO best practices and become visible on a global market.