International SEO

How to Optimize Your Website for Other Countries: International SEO

For your brand to appear on the first page of search results and, ideally, move up into the top five spots for your main term, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. International SEO is one of the main factors in optimizing websites for other countries.

What happens, though, if you desire to extend beyond regional markets? With over 3.5 billion searches currently occurring on Google every day, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to gain new clients.

The warning is that current SEO techniques might not translate and, in certain situations, might harm your brand abroad.

You’ve probably already implemented a website and a plan for your international business. Having your website online is one thing, but making it successful in the target markets is quite another.

This is where a solid SEO plan is useful. SEO is a tactic that, when done effectively, can pay off handsomely. However, it can be complicated and diverse.

This article’s goal is to break down international SEO (search engine optimization) and go into detail on what has to be done to use your website to expand your company into other markets.

You can get through this process without making any costly errors with the aid of this professional advice.

An effective International SEO strategy is essential to avoiding this potential difficulties. Here are the things you need to know about it, how it functions, how it will help you, and how to make an effective plan.

What is International SEO

Global SEO, often known as search engine optimization, is the act of setting up your website in such a way that search engines can recognise the nations and languages you wish to target.

It means adjusting your search criteria for various populations, locales, and/or languages. In order to target people worldwide, these characteristics may contain geo-targeting, meta tags, and other localization signals.

The goal is to raise website traffic and overseas sales significantly in order to support the expansion of your firm. It is a fantastic strategy that many businesses choose.

What does international SEO do for company websites?

International SEO helps companies optimize their websites for different languages and cultures in order to reach a global audience. By doing so, it can help companies achieve several benefits, including:

  1. Increased visibility in search results: By optimizing for different languages and cultures, companies can increase their visibility in search results and attract more traffic to their website.
  2. Increased brand awareness and reputation: By creating unique and high-quality content for different markets, companies can build their brand awareness and reputation in international markets.
  3. Increased sales and revenue: By reaching a global audience, companies can increase their sales and revenue by selling products and services to customers in different countries.
  4. Greater ability to compete globally: By optimizing for international search engines, companies can better compete with other global companies in their industry.
  5. Better user experience: By providing content in different languages and tailoring the website to different cultures, companies can improve the user experience for their international customers.
  6. Avoiding potential penalties: Not optimizing your website for international audiences can lead to penalties from search engines, as they might interpret it as low quality or spammy.

In summary, International SEO helps companies to expand their reach to non-English speaking markets and increase their online presence, which can ultimately lead to more sales and revenue.

Does my business need an international SEO strategy?

It varies. It is usually not worth the time and money required if you have no aspirations to develop outside local markets, such as your present city or state.

In fact, if your company only conducts local business, international SEO could backfire. Customers who arrive on international pages won’t be pleased to see that you only cover a small portion of the world.

On the other hand, investing in this is worthwhile if you want to grow beyond national boundaries.

A comprehensive plan is essential given the enormous number of businesses competing on the global arena and the growing difficulty in ranking highly for relevant keywords.

Factors That Affect International SEO

  • Link Building
  • Customer Reviews
  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Google My Business Account

Link Building

The more international websites that link back to your website, the better. It’s a good idea to collaborate with influencers or write for local blogs to drive traffic to your website.

Customer Reviews

Your SEO efforts may be favorably or negatively impacted by customer reviews on your website or on local review websites. Better reviews indicate a stronger relationship with your main term, which increases your visibility.

Mobile Responsiveness

Your website’s mobile responsiveness affects overall search rankings. Finding a content delivery network (CDN) that can give a top-notch website experience to users wherever in the world is therefore worthwhile.

Google My Business Account

So long as you make sure to update the locations where your business operates, your Google My Business Account can support your SEO efforts. This serves as Google’s entry point when looking for geographic and linguistic metadata on your website.

How to Develop an International SEO Strategy

  • Choose the right international domain structure
  • Decide where and who you’ll target
  • Conduct international keyword research
  • Optimize content for the region and language
  • Determine whether you’ll hire an international SEO agency

Choose the right international domain structure

Your website’s domain structure affects how easily (or difficultly) visitors and search engines can find your content. Various choices include:

  • gTLD
  • ccTLD
  • ccTLD or gTLD with Subdirectories
  • ccTLD or gTLD with Subdomains


The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) maintains domain extensions with three characters or more as generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) (IANA). Examples of popular domains,.gov,

Since many consumers prefer websites that include their country code TLD, using a gTLD ensures that search engines won’t restrict results depending on area. However, this may result in a reduction in overall traffic.

For instance,


Two-letter domains called country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) are given to particular nations. For the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, respectively, the domain extensions,.ca,

You may decide to develop a distinct ccTLD site for each nation where your goods or services are offered in order to boost global SEO.

For instance, and

ccTLD or gTLD with Subdirectories

In the meantime, subdirectories relocate the country code:

For instance,

ccTLD or gTLD with Subdomains

Additionally, you have the option to designate subdomains for your website that incorporate features of both ccTLDs and gTLDs.

For instance,

This combines the advantages of a gTLD and the benefit of a country code.

Decide where and who you’ll target

Choose your target market and audience first. For instance, you can choose to concentrate on a segment of Brazil’s bigger market that has the resources and desire to purchase your goods. The better your results, the more you should center your decisions around “where” and “who.”

Conduct international keyword research

Your domestic keywords might not be effective for abroad. Depending on how clients in your target market refer to your company, this could just be a matter of keyword volume.

For instance, trial attorneys in the United States are referred to as barristers in the United Kingdom; if your law company wants to grow, this is a crucial keyword distinction.

Optimize content for the region and language

Make sure that every piece of content you create is suited to the target audience and language. This entails verifying that all TLDs, translations, and content assets are in line with regional standards.

Remember to include the meta tags. This HTML attribute identifies a webpage’s locale and language.

Determine whether you’ll hire an international SEO agency

Do you wish to handle the labor-intensive aspects of Global SEO yourself or contract out this work? Both have benefits—you are the expert on your brand, but SEO professionals are adept at identifying regional preferences and customs and adjusting their strategies accordingly.

International SEO Best Practices

  • Translate existing content carefully
  • Consider the entire user experience in your strategy
  • Avoid automatically redirecting users based on their IP address
  • Answer questions in the region’s native language and in the right context

Translate existing content carefully

Although translation systems offer a literal conversion of words and phrases, locals frequently do not use them in this way, so clients will quickly notice that something is off.

What you truly need is “transcreation,” not translation; you want to recreate the same material using the language and culture of your target market as a guide.

Consider the entire user experience in your strategy

SEO on a global scale involves more than just content and keywords. It’s also about making sure the complete user experience from filling out forms to reading prices in local currency or accessing multimedia materials that include native speakers is flawlessly matched across your site.

Avoid automatically redirecting users based on their IP address

Although it’s important to provide material that meets local users’ expectations, don’t decide for them. Give them the chance to select their preferred location rather than automatically rerouting them depending on their IP address when they land.

Answer questions in the region’s native language and in the right context

Making sure you speak the same language as your customers is the most important thing to get right when it comes to global SEO. This involves doing your homework to make sure you always respond to inquiries in the target audience’s native language and within the relevant context.

Tools for International SEO

  • Moz
  • Ahrefs
  • Semrush
  • HubSpot
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console

By giving you reliable data on traffic, click-throughs, and time spent on your site, the correct tools may also assist you in maximizing the impact of global SEO. Among the most widely used tools are:


Moz provides site audits to identify potential problems, monitors keyword ranks across more than 170 search engines, evaluates backlink profiles to assess performance, and provides keyword research tools to see how you compare to the competition.


Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO toolkit that enables you to optimize your website, examine the ranks of your rivals, and identify the ideal keywords for your business.


You may evaluate any domain’s backlink profile, find valuable local and national keywords, and watch your site’s daily SERP positions with Semrush.


With the help of HubSpot’s SEO tools, you can structure your website in a way that is simple for both visitors and search engines to comprehend, develop an international content strategy, and get real-time advice for improving your on page SEO.

Google Analytics

An integrated set of tools called Google Analytics enables you to assess the global impact of the material on your website.

Google Search Console

You may assess your rank on Google Search, view the search terms that are bringing visitors to your site, and examine overall site impressions using Google Search Console.

Questions to Ask About International SEO

  • Where are you headed?
  • Does social media matter?
  • How can you build local links?
  • Are current keywords good enough?
  • What localization factors matter most?
  • Do you have the right tools and talent?
  • Should you target language or country?

Where are you headed?

Your strategy will vary depending on the region of the world you are aiming for. For instance, Baidu is the most widely used search engine if you’re travelling to China.

You should conduct study to determine what factors are most important for rankings because each of these search engines has its own Global SEO strategy.

Does social media matter?

Even though Google has made it clear that social media does not affect SEO rankings, having a strong social media presence can help you build relationships with local influencers and raise brand awareness.

How can you build local links?

Building regional backlinks to your website is equally helpful for global SEO. Writing articles for regional blogs, obtaining a sponsored mention on blogs that provide guidance or helpful information, connecting with regional social media influencers, and supporting regional events are all wise strategies in this case.

Are current keywords good enough?

Despite the fact that there are so many businesses competing for these keywords in international markets, your current keywords may still help you rank in the top 5 locally.

Nevertheless, you should look at who is using these keywords, where they rank, and whether other closely related keywords might produce better results.

What localization factors matter most?

Optimizing your website and content for the local language and culture is known as localization. Here, accuracy and widespread application are two key considerations.

First, it’s crucial to ensure that any keywords or slogans are accurately translated because inaccurate translations can expose your brand and services to misunderstandings.

For example, the perennially popular “Come alive with Pepsi” slogan in Chinese markets was mistranslated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.”

The second issue is widespread use. 

Even if a literal translation suggests otherwise, the terms and phrases used to describe your company and what it does might not be the same in other languages. 

Discover the terms that locals use to describe your goods and services and replace them with those.

Do you have the right tools and talent?

Finally, think about whether you should hire a seasoned international SEO business or try to handle this yourself.

Should you target language or country?

Are you better-served targeting a specific language or a country?

The response is based on your objectives. Language optimization may be the solution if you want to appeal to a large audience no matter where they are from.

Choose country-based SEO if you want to increase brand recognition in a particular region of the world.

International SEO vs Local SEO

Scale is where local and worldwide SEO most significantly diverge. Local SEO concentrates on keywords and viewers inside a certain geographic location, whereas international SEO targets consumers worldwide.

Between local SEO and international SEO, there are four main distinctions to be made:

  • Competition
  • Content
  • Capture
  • Cost


International SEO operations face significantly stronger competition for both clients and keywords. You might face off against large international corporations rather than just other local enterprises operating in the same sphere of influence.


You’ll need to produce a lot more material than you would for a local SEO plan to assure global visibility.


In-depth research is necessary to make sure your brand is in line with customer expectations because global SEO widens the target market you’re aiming to reach.


Global SEO operations are expensive because of their size and scope.

Improving Your International Impact

Your brand stands out from the competition with the appropriate SEO tactics. Even while this is crucial for domestic markets, it becomes even more crucial if you decide to expand internationally because it will guarantee that your website is optimized to support valuable content and keywords in all areas and nations.

You may increase customer interaction, enhance search engine outcomes, and significantly increase your global influence by taking into account local customs, language, and context.


With Google receiving more than 3.5 billion searches each day, there is a sizable window of opportunity for companies to expand their customer base. Making a website successful in the target markets is considerably different from simply having one online.

To avoid such issues, a strong global SEO strategy is necessary. Given the vast number of companies that compete on a global scale, a thorough strategy is necessary. In order for user search inquiries to direct visitors to the proper page for their current location, businesses require a website layout that includes both American and Canadian pages and makes sufficient use of metadata.

A two-letter domain extension known as a “country code top-level domain” (ccTLD) is allocated to specific countries. You could want to create a unique ccTLD.

People May Ask

How do you rank a website in multiple countries?

Ranking a website in multiple countries can be a challenging task, but it is possible with the right approach. Here are some steps you can take to improve your website’s visibility in different countries:

  1. Use hreflang tags: As mentioned before, these tags help Google understand the relationship between different language versions of your pages and serve the correct version to the right users.
  2. Optimize your content: Create unique and high-quality content for each country you want to target. Use local keywords, and optimize your pages for local search engines.
  3. Build local backlinks: Backlinks are an important factor for SEO. Try to get backlinks from websites that are relevant to your niche and based in the countries you want to target.
  4. Use Google My Business: Create Google My Business listings for each of your physical locations in the countries you want to target.
  5. Optimize for mobile: Mobile optimization is becoming increasingly important for SEO. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile, it will help you to rank better in multiple countries.
  6. Use local social media: Create social media profiles for your business on local platforms, like Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia.
  7. Utilize international targeting in Google Search Console: Use this feature to set the target country for your website and monitor its performance in different regions.

It’s important to note that SEO is an ongoing process and it may take some time before you see results. Additionally, SEO best practices and search engine algorithm changes over time, so it’s important to stay up-to-date and adapt your approach accordingly.

How do I target multiple countries on Google?

There are several ways to target multiple countries on Google:

  1. Use hreflang tags: These tags specify the language and regional targeting for pages on your website. They help Google understand the relationship between the different language versions of your pages and serve the correct version to the right users.
  2. Create country-specific pages: Create separate pages for each country you want to target and optimize them for local keywords and search engines.
  3. Use international targeting in Google Search Console: This feature allows you to set the target country for your website and see how it performs in different regions.
  4. Use ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) : These are domain extensions that indicate the country where a website is based. For example, a website with a .fr TLD is assumed to be based in France.
  5. Use subdomains or subdirectories: You can create subdomains (e.g. or subdirectories (e.g. for each country you want to target.
  6. Use Google My Business: Create Google My Business listings for each of your physical locations in the countries you want to target, so that your business can appear in the local 3-pack and Maps results.

It’s important to note that all of these methods should be used in conjunction with creating unique and quality content, researching and using the right keywords, and optimizing your site for user experience and mobile optimization.

Does SEO work for other languages?

Yes, SEO can work for other languages. In fact, it is essential for businesses that want to expand their reach to non-English speaking markets. The principles of SEO, such as keyword research and optimizing website structure, still apply to other languages.

However, there are some additional considerations that need to be made, such as creating content in the target language, using local language keywords, and optimizing for local search engines. Additionally, it’s important to consider cultural differences and tailor your approach accordingly.

By following best practices for international SEO, businesses can increase their visibility in search results and attract more traffic to their website in other languages.

Why international SEO is important?

International SEO is important because it helps businesses reach a global audience by optimizing their website for different languages and cultures. This includes creating unique content for each target market, using local language keywords, and optimizing for local search engines.

By doing so, businesses can increase their visibility in search results, attract more traffic to their website, and ultimately drive more sales and revenue. Additionally, it also helps in building brand awareness and reputation in the international market.