International SEO: How To Launch an International SEO Strategy (2024)

What is international SEO?

International SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that search engines can easily identify which countries you want to target and which languages you use for business. It involves a series of strategies and techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) in different countries and languages.

8 key steps for building an international SEO strategy

1. Use current performance to identify target countries

Start by analyzing your current website performance to identify which countries are already generating traffic and sales for your ecommerce business. This data will help you determine where to focus your international SEO efforts.

2. Conduct market research

Research the potential demand for your products or services in different countries. Consider factors such as cultural preferences, buying behaviors, and local competitors to understand the market landscape.

3. Tailor your strategy to each country’s most popular search engine

Every country has its own preferred search engine. For instance, Google is dominant in most countries, but in China, Baidu is the leading search engine. Tailor your SEO strategy to each country’s preferred search engine to maximize your visibility.

4. Create localized content

Develop content that is specifically tailored to the local audience. This may include translating your website content, product descriptions, and blog posts into the local language, as well as adapting your messaging to resonate with cultural nuances.

5. Conduct keyword research

Perform keyword research for each target country to identify the most relevant and high-volume keywords. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to understand the search behavior of your target audience.

6. Create dedicated URLs

Country code top-level domains (ccTLDs)

Consider using country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, or .fr for France. This signals to search engines that your website is targeted to a specific country.

Subdirectories

Create subdirectories for each targeted country, such as /uk/ or /de/, to organize your localized content and make it easier for search engines to understand your international targeting.

Subdomains

Another option is to use subdomains, such as uk.yourwebsite.com or de.yourwebsite.com, to host your localized content. This approach can also help with international targeting.

7. Build local backlinks

Acquire backlinks from local websites in your target countries to improve the authority and relevance of your website in those markets. This can help boost your international SEO efforts and improve your rankings in local search results.

8. Use hreflang tags

Implement hreflang tags on your website to indicate to search engines which language and region-specific versions of a web page are available. This helps search engines serve the correct version of your content to users searching in different languages and locations.

International SEO strategy FAQ

How do I identify potential international markets for my ecommerce business?

Use tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to identify which countries are already generating traffic and sales for your ecommerce business. Additionally, conduct market research to understand the demand for your products or services in different countries.

How can I adapt keywords for local audiences?

Conduct keyword research for each target country to identify the most relevant and high-volume keywords. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to understand the search behavior of your target audience in each country. Then, tailor your content and metadata to include these localized keywords.

How can I optimize my ecommerce website for search engines like Baidu and Yandex?

For search engines like Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia, it’s important to understand their specific ranking factors and algorithms. Tailor your website content, meta tags, and backlink strategy to align with the requirements of these search engines. Additionally, consider localizing your website content and obtaining backlinks from local websites to improve your visibility in these markets.

With the right international SEO strategy, your ecommerce business can tap into new markets and reach a global audience. By following these key steps and best practices, you can improve your website’s visibility and performance in international search results, ultimately driving more traffic and sales from around the world.