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International SEO agency in Colchester, Essex

What is International SEO?

Our SEO page offers information on the principles of SEO services and how the overall process of SEO works. If you have also read our Local SEO page, then you may be able to hazard a guess as to what International SEO is. As a very brief explanation, as Local SEO is about using the principles and practices of SEO to ensure you optimise your website for a local audience to rank as high in the search results as possible in different search engines, then International SEO process is about using them to optimise your website for other countries. As you may operate in different countries it can be tricky to optimise the site for each country. You could have all sorts of questions about how to do this. What if you only want to target Milan in Italy, Barcelona in Spain, and Paris in France? Is it possible to combine International SEO and Local SEO? The short answer to that one is yes. There are a few ways to do all of this which we will cover in more detail below.

 

 

 

 

 

How does International SEO work?

When you are looking to operate in international markets you need to think about your website differently. You cannot use one website and expect it to work the same for visitors from different countries (unless you are looking to only run-in English-speaking countries, or countries that speak the same language as your website is written in). There is a chance that you will understand the concepts at play that cause issues here. Have you ever used an online translator to convert English to another language? When you give that translation to some who is fluent in the translated language and they tell you it makes no sense! You can try it with a piece of text written in another language and then translate it to English and it will not read correctly. Technology is advancing and online translators are getting more sophisticated, however, many translate text word for word, and this is where it fails. Wording, grammar, and sentence structure differ from language to language. It can depend on your target market and target country.

A few simple ways to look at location targeting include:

  • Adding your company address to your website. This means it will get picked up when search engines look over your website as the address shows which country you are in.

  • Register your company with Google My Business. Doing this means that you tell Google your company address and stating which countries you operate in.

  • Use Google Search Console and specify the locations. You can use this as another way to tell Google where you trade.

  • Make sure your content is in a specific language. It might sound simple but if you only operate in one country then using the language of that country on the site will let Google know who can read it.

Of course, there are many of you that want to work in multiple countries. How do you do this? One way to do it would be to use what is known as a ccTLD (country code top-level domain). In the UK we have “.co.uk”, Germany have “.de” and Italy has “.it”. If you wanted to you could have a separate domain and different website for each country, although hosting that many different websites could be a little costly. It also means that you will need to work on SEO for each individual website to make numerous international websites.

What is possible is to use subfolders and geotargeting. It is a relatively easy option but splitting your website into subfolders means you can make different versions of your website. When you then set everything up in Google Search

Console you can geotarget a different subfolder for different countries. How this works is something like the below:

  • Mywebsite.com – will target the USA

  • Mywebsite.com/uk/ - would be used for the UK

  • Mywebsite.com/de/ - is for Germany

  • Mywebsite.com/it/ - Italy

Using this approach means you can get in front of an international audience simply by expanding your current website. Each sub-directory will benefit from the authority score of the main website. Another benefit of doing this way is that Google delivers the correct subfolder depending on the country of origin of the search, therefore you promote one website and not multiple sites.

For those of you with a far more complex technical understanding, and advanced coding knowledge, you can look at hreflang annotation / hreflang tagging or XML sitemaps that indicate which version of a page should be displayed depending on the country of origin for searches that are made.

It is about making sure your website, or at least the version of your website, that you want to show in each country takes into account things such as proximity, relevance, and prominence, that we discuss on our Local SEO page. International SEO isn't about how to get your website to work on a global level, you need to look at it as 'how do I get my website to work in each country I deal with?'

Please note, as, like Google, we do not recommend this last option. You may have seen other websites that display the URL as something like www.hcmedia.info?loc=de and this is where you use URL parameters to determine the country.

 

How is it like SEO and Local SEO?

International SEO works similar to SEO and Local SEO in the practices that are needed to help the website rank. The main difference is choosing which route to take if you are looking to operate in multiple countries.

You need to ensure that titles, meta descriptions, content, link building and everything else are optimized. This could vary in each country so make sure that you use a professional translator, especially for content! You need to have different versions of a page to cover a variety of languages and countries.

Keywords are just as important with international SEO and you need to make sure you do your keyword research or use a company like ours to do it for you. Don't just think about your website, as with all SEO, more factors come into play and so while having a website that can display properly in different countries and different languages is beneficial. Imagine how people from other countries will feel about your business if you only offer social media, email marketing, or other marketing in English. Don't exclude people by forgetting about your marketing on the whole.

What makes International SEO different?

Consumers may follow a similar buying cycle regardless of which country they are from. How they search online can differ. Search terms and how the wording is used will vary from country and language, so make sure you do plenty of keyword research!

International SEO is not just about how a company targets a specific country. It can be how a company targets multiple countries. It can even be about how a company targets specific countries and regions within those countries.

Understanding how other languages work is something that cannot be underestimated when it comes to International SEO. Seriously consider hiring a translator or using a company that is willing to source a professional for content. Using an online translator just will not cut it for International SEO.

Will International SEO help me?

If you are a business that has or wants, customers in different countries then yes, International SEO will help you. Many businesses want to have websites that are internationally targeted. You may want to work with people regardless of what country they reside in. In these situations, not only will International SEO help, it is imperative!

SEO is about making sure search engines can return your website to consumers. For those of you who want to rank in other countries, you cannot rely on Google translate or other translation tools to do it for you! Let's face it, you don't just have competition in the UK with businesses wanting to break international markets, you also have to compete with businesses in those countries. Any business native to a country you want to work in is doing SEO on their website. Their content will be on point as well. Yours needs to be as well and in order to do all of this, you need to be dealing with your international SEO.

How can HC Media help with my International SEO?

We aren't just an SEO agency. We aren't even just a marketing company or a digital marketing company. We are marketing consultants. This means that we are not just looking at how we can help your business grow. With our years of experience of working with some of the biggest brands in the UK, working with sole traders all the way up to blue-chip tech companies, we have a network of professionals to help with so much more.

Given our expertise in SEO we can help your business grow, whether that is locally, nationally, or internationally. The information above should give you some understanding of how international SEO works. Putting it into practice is something else. We would not recommend that you attempt to do everything yourself when it comes to SEO and this is, even more, the case when it comes to operating in multiple countries. Why not get in touch with the experts today and see just what we can do for you.

As we mentioned, we aren't just here for your SEO. Our network of professional contacts means that we can also help you with content translation, international PR, international backlinks, and so much more.

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