The Best Ways To Do International SEO // April 13, 2017

International-Targeting-Google-Webmasters-Tools

For successful companies, there is an exciting opportunity to launch your business overseas. However, this will mean making sure your website can be read and indexed by other search engines abroad and making it accessible to your potential customers.

International SEO for USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa and Other Countries

Good news is that if you have a .com domain and there is no change in language, you should be able to rank in other countries successfully. Naturally, you will probably rank better in your own country than South Africa, America or Australia, but it means that you won’t require any major changes to the URL.

However, we consider that the language used by our friends across the pond can be different and also the type of images, currencies and promotions will need to be consistent.

You have the following options below. All of these work so there is no priority over the other, you must just do what suits your business the best:

ccTLD – Country Code Top Level Domains

Probably the most common approach, this involves buying a domain with a different country code at the end such as .es, .pl, .za etc

A good example of this is implemented by beauty therapist Centros Unico, who have clinics in Spain, Mexico, Portugal and Italy amongst others. They have created a website for each and simply let customers pick their country on the navigation tab.

ccTLD

Subdomain

This is where the country code is added to the root domain e.g:

us.yourbusiness.com

za.yourbusiness.com

The good thing about this is because it is part of the same domain as yours (yourbusiness.com), it can pass on the link equity and give you site a real boost in SEO. This can go both ways so any links generated abroad can feed into your primary site and visa versa.

subdomain

Subdirectory

Another common technique is to include the country code as a sub directory e.g

yourbusiness.com/en/

yourbuiness.com/es/

subdirectory

This is great for international brands that have a well-known name and already have exposure overseas. Similar to the option above, it passes on link equity because it all has the same root domain.

Language Parameters

A little more complex, this is specifically for targeting languages in a different country. It may not look as smart as a URL but it does the job.

language-parameter

Things You Have to Do For International SEO

Local Hosting

Naturally having your target domain hosted in that country will help its ranking. Google want to see that local businesses are hosted locally or at least in the same country. For instance, an .co.uk website hosted in India does not give off signals that it is a local enough.

Although getting hosting for every separate company sounds like a lot of effort, it shouldn’t be if you have offices in each location.

Set Location In Webmaster Tools

This is an absolute essential. You must set up the a separate webmaster tools account for each foreign domain. You must upload the international sitemap and set the target location according to that country.

International-Targeting-Google-Webmasters-Tools

Hreflang

This is a simple line of code that you add to tell Google want language you want to rank for. Therefore, it is essential to add this in the header section of every international domain you have. Examples include:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://es.example.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://de.example.com/" />

Content

As one of the main SEO factors, having good content in each international domain is key. This includes using specific language for that area, keywords and updating meta-data.

Links

The other main SEO ranking factor, you can help your websites targeting international locations rank better by getting links from those countries. You can look at the main directories in those countries but act with caution as too many directories from low quality sites can lead to negative results. You can look at trust signals like facebook, twitter, linkedin and youtube for your foreign sites as this will give your site some authority. Otherwise, getting local PR in those areas and the links to go with them can be an effective way to boost the domain.