Search engine optimization remains one of the cheapest and easiest ways to drive traffic to your site. However, adding an international component to your SEO strategy can turn a simple exercise into a time-consuming spiral.
According to a recent article, international SEO can be very effective if you consider the following:
When optimizing for international SEO, it proves beneficial to create pages specific to each country you plan to optimize for.
For example, www.test1234.fr has a greater probability of ranking higher on SERPs in France rather than www.test1234.com as search engines will see the .fr as relevant to the local French market.
Page content languages
Many organizations use English across all of their international sites, however this is futile to an international SEO strategy. In order to be viewed as relevant and credible to international search engines, the content of your page needs to be translated into the local language.
In international SEO, headers, content and everything else that you’re used to still needs to be considered, but when optimizing for international purposes, there are several aspects you should also consider:
- Consistent Language - Don’t overlap English and German or French and German pages. If a user lands on www.test1234.fr then make sure that all navigation and internal links point to other pages within the .fr directory. This tells Google that this page is in French and so is everything else on the site. However, don’t forget to allow the user to switch languages with a link somewhere on the page.
- Alt Attributes and Imagery – Don’t forget to your alt attributes. Translating alt attributes will add to the overall SEO benefit when ranking internationally
- Physical location - If your organization has a physical location in one of the countries that you’re optimizing for, then include that office’s details either on landing pages and the contact page.
International Social Media
Set up a social media page – say Facebook – for each country you are optimizing for. If you are optimizing for France, establish a French Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. Don’t forget to link to these new French social profiles from your French URLs!
Some organizations opt to create a variety of international subdomains rather than a stand-alone international site (e.g. fr.test124.com rather than www.test1234.fr). The problem with this method is search engines look at the top-level domain (TLD). TLDs are the ending extension (e.g. com, fr, eu, au, etc.). In order to rank as credible in SERPs, your TLD needs to be representative of the country you are optimizing for.
Inbound links' country of origin
Just because someone from an international country comes to your website, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily looking for that international page. Say for example someone from Germany clicks on www.test1234.com, a redirect to the German section of your website will most definitely decrease engagement with your site. Make sure your international pages show only when someone directly goes to them. Giving visitors the option to switch languages via a link at the top of your page allows the visitor to determine their optimal visit.
By considering the above, your international SEO strategy can be as smooth and effective as your domestic one.