Do you want to make the leap to international markets with your business? If so, then you need to implement an international SEO strategy.

In this type of project, instead of focusing on a single market or country, the international SEO strategy focuses on optimizing a website to make it more visible to users in different countries and languages targeted by your business.

If you are interested in reaching other markets around the world, here we will give you a general introduction that will allow you to understand how they work and the degree of complexity of this type of strategies.

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International SEO as part of a digital marketing strategy

To start talking about International SEOWe have to understand that it is an important part of a digital marketing strategywhich will help you to position your website in the main search engines of the countries you are interested in, and which should be closely linked to a business plan for an international business.

Therefore, there needs to be a prior context and resources to implement it, as it could not be treated as a single issue, but as part of a larger project.

What does it take to work on an international SEO strategy?

There are many items to take into account when implementing this type of strategy, here are the most relevant and the 6 keys to success worldwide:

  1. Web structure and URLs
  2. Geolocalized content
  3. Hreflang labels
  4. Sitemap / Indexing
  5. keyword research
  6. Creation of an off page SEO plan – Backlinks , Linkbuilding and Digital PR

1) Web structure and URLs

This point is fundamental, since it is necessary to have a structure of urls, which allows organic positioning in different languages and different countries, and this is not possible to achieve with the same web page.

On the other hand, there are other ways to make it happen. We can work -in order of priority and depending on the resources we have- with: different domains(example.com.ar, example.com.uy, example.com.br), subdomains(es.example.com, pt.example.com), subdirectories(example.com/es/, example.com/cl/), or landings.

In the case of different domainsis an excellent strategy if you have the capacity to make a greater investmentThe domain authority will be separated for each domain, and the contents will be, of course, different for each country.

If we choose the strategy of subdomains, this could be a good choice for an e-commerce company, since it serves to separate the infrastructures, the web servers, but the authority would remain concentrated in the main domain, although each subdomain would keep some of that authority.

As mentioned above, another option would be the subfolders, this type of project is the most recommended when you are still in a primary phase of globalization of the business and are widely used to make versions in other languages. But beware, this type of strategy can slow down the loading time of the website if it is not implemented in the right way.

2) Geolocalized content

Geolocation of content is essential to effectively reach users in the different countries in which you want to compete.

What does it consist of? In creating and/or optimizing content for a specific country or region. This may include the use of keywords and phrases in the target language, as well as the creation of relevant content for the local audience.

Geolocated content helps to increase your site’s web traffic, but here we need to clarify an important point.

When a strategy is made by language, for example English, it does not mean that this strategy will cover all English-speaking countries, since for each country a different action plan and different urls will be necessary.

That is why we emphasize the need for adequate resources. Since it will be useless to try to position yourself in another country, only with a single web page, a single domain, with all the content pointing to a person from that country.

3) Hreflang labels

The tags hreflang are geolocation meta-tags that must be included in the source code, as they are the key to the proper functioning of the main strategy.

They are used to inform Google about which pages or urls to show to users, according to their geographic location or language.

4) Sitemap / Indexing

The sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the pages of your company’s website. This type of file makes it easier for search engine robots to explore and recognize pages that can be better positioned.

That is why the sitemap must contain in its list the urls of those pages that we intend to index in each country.

5) Study of Keywords

First of all, in a keyword study, we must be clear about the target of our project, the country where the search is performed, the language and the country where the product or service is offered.

In this way we can define our target audience, and the positioning strategy we want to carry out.

In the following image we can see a scheme that exemplifies what we have been explaining.

We start from the base of a simple search in Argentina, in Spanish language, which has 9300 searches and the buyer persona is “an Argentinean who travels to Bariloche for tourism and wants to rent a car”. “car rental in Bariloche”. which has 9300 searches and the buyer persona is “an Argentinean who travels to Bariloche for tourism and wants to rent a car”.

The same search in Spanish, but executed in the USA, has only 30 searches, and was probably performed by a “Latino who speaks Spanish, lives in the USA, travels to Bariloche and wants to rent a car”.

Now, if we continue looking at the example, the same search continues, but this time we change the language to English, “rent a car bariloche”. The search for “foreigner (probably from USA), who is in Argentina for tourism and from Bariloche is looking for car rental companies”, returns 2100 searches.

Pay attention that the same search made from USA, only has 20 searches made, perhaps by an “American traveling to Argentina and considering renting a car”.

In this way we can see how important it is to analyze and choose the right keywords according to our target audience, country and language.

Another detail that we can highlight is, for example, that in Great Britain the term rent a car is not used and instead, car hire, which modifies the result of the search and could be a mistake if our target is people who speak English, but live in Great Britain.

The identification, analysis and implementation of keywords is one of the keys to the success of your business strategy.

6) Creation of an international off page SEO plan – Backlinks , Linkbuilding and Digital PR

Of course, to finish this strategic plan, we cannot leave out linkbuilding, which is an off page SEO technique that consists of creating backlinks or external links to your website from other sites that are in line with your niche and add authority to it.

It is important to maintain this type of quality links, as well as to have a plan of digital PR which are nothing more than digital PR and as in real life, are so necessary to cultivate and take care of to increase brand positioning and improve the reach to our buyer persona.

In short, if you want your business to succeed internationally, you need to have a team of SEO specialists and the necessary resources to implement a strategic international SEO plan and the keys that we have detailed.

Undoubtedly, this will be the key that will open the way to growth and brand positioning of your business worldwide.

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