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Your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts need to operate around the world if your business sells internationally. International SEO can be complicated such as various countries, various languages & usually, various languages within a given country. It’s not difficult to get tied up in knots. And even easier to confuse a search engine & create a number of typical SEO issues like duplicate content.
Fortunately, good international SEO is attainable. It just needs some planning & the right approach for your unique situation. Following are various ways that can help you target international customers & make good decisions when tackling the complex task of ranking in several countries:
The process of organizing & optimizing your web pages to enable search engines to identify the countries you’re targeting, the specific content & language for every user in a given location is known as international SEO.
Domain Names for International SEO:
You might want to consider some things when selecting a domain name for your international SEO campaigns. Some domains, known as country code top-level domains (ccTLD), will default to an exact location. Other top-level domains (TLDs) can be geotargeted to point at specific countries. The sub-folders & subdomains on these TLD domains can be geotargeted to different countries also.
Here, the main takeaway is that you have to ensure that you have the correct domain for your international SEO needs.
How to Target a Specific Country:
- Use a country-specific domain.
- In Google Search Console, specify the location you are targeting.
- Register your business address with Google My Business.
- Include the lane address of the business on the website.
- Host the website locally.
- Get links from country-specific websites.
- Use local language(s).
We are trying to send a clear signal to Google regarding where we operate & who this content is for. Multiple signs send a clearer signal, so try to comprise all items on the checklist.
International SEO Strategy:
Usually, most international SEO efforts include targeting several countries that means you have to scale your approach across all preferred locations.
Subfolders & Geotargeting:
If you need country-specific content, one of the easiest options is to create localized sub-directories on your own website. These sub-directories can be geotargeted in Google Search Console & can contain country-specific content & language. Here is an example:
- example.com – root site targeting the USA
- example.com/uk/ -root site targeting UK
- There may be less technical management & overhead because you are only expanding your existing site, e.g. hosting.
- The sub-directories will inherit authority from the parent domain.
- You only have one site to promote, so while you will want country & language-specific links, this is still simpler & more cost-effective than promoting multiple sites.
This approach can use top-level country-code domains (ccTLDs) or subdomains on a TLD. In a way, they are two different techniques to achieve the same end aim.
Geo-targeted subdomains:These TLD subdomains will need to be geotargeted in Google Search Console:
- www.example.com – US
- uk.example.com – UK
Country-specific ccTLD domains:
- Amazon.com – US
- Amazon.co.uk – UK
For businesses with a physical presence, operation or local offline marketing in the target country, this is usually the best approach, although not the most cost-effective approach, as each website, must be configured & marketed independently, typically by the local marketing team.
An important consideration here is that any problems can be multiplied across your entire portfolio of sites. So, you want to make sure your initial website is technically perfect before you create international websites.
In fact, there is an option here, which is to use URL variables like country UK. However, Google’s own page on the multilingual or multiregional websites states this is not recommended. This option can’t be geotargeted & if Google advises not to use this approach, it’s great to take that advice.
Hopefully, this provides an overview of the choices for international SEO. What is right for you depend on your goals, budgets & marketplace and in many cases, combinations of these options.