What are the main benefits of international SEO?
If you have a local business that you want to ramp up globally, you should consider implementing effective international SEO practices on your website. You need to follow up on several steps, some of which would be time-consuming, but, the benefits would be worthwhile. The biggest gain to your website would be getting a lot of global customers.
Getting a lot of international customers from your website improves your marketing efficiency and effectiveness. That's not all, you also get a lot of customer insights about your global consumers. You can now know their age, gender, location, purchase intent, and several other pieces of marketing information. Use all this data to fine-tune your international SEO strategy.
History of international SEO
International SEO has a pretty recent history. In 2006, Google ramped up its global SEO practices by focusing on Eastern Europe. The following year, it began promoting international domain names. Between 2007 and 2008, Google started providing support to geo-targeting in WMT. If there was no geo-targeting, search engines relied upon ccTLDs and servers. In 2008, Google launched Google Translate.
In 2010, international SEO efforts got a major boost when Google started looking for juices and links from NAP, local business listings, currencies, etc. Somewhere before 2011, hreflang tags were introduced. Next year, Google started using these tags in multiregional and multilanguage pages. The same year, canonical tag recommendation was removed by Google. This was a major milestone in global SEO.
In 2012, support for hreflang tags in XML pages started and the following year, 'x-default' hreflang tags were introduced. Meanwhile, Bing introduced its geo-targeting tool in its webmaster tools. In 2014, search engines began showing banners to the audience suggesting availability of local pages. In 2014, Google introduced international targeting features in its Search Console.
What are the benefits of international SEO?
By going in for international search engine optimization, you are essentially improving your website visibility. This means your website will be seen by people in some other countries apart from your host country. Increased visibility means increased visibility of your products and services. If done well, international SEO can connect your website with your target audience globally.
With an effective international SEO strategy, you can discover what parts of your content is working, and what isn't. You can know precisely what stops your potential customers from proceeding to the sales cart, or if they do reach that stage, what stops your customers from making the purchase. Implement a solid global SEO strategy to improve your site global time.
Sites that load quickly are more likely to be ranked higher by search engines. You can also optimize your site for various browsers like Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, etc. This means you are reaching out to all kinds of users using different browsers. International SEO also helps you determine how successful are you in acquiring organic visitors.
Strategies for global search optimization
Let's deep dive into some of the best domain strategies for your international SEO. We will also talk about their respective advantages and drawbacks. You can consider ccTLDs or country-specific- top-level-domains for your website, for example, for Australia, you can have .au, for India it would be .au, and so on. This way, your site does well in rankings.
Another benefit is that customers prefer local websites while searching. However, having multiple local domains is quite expensive. Also, your SEO on your main website will not affect your local websites. You can also add a folder or a subfolder to your domain, e.g. www.xyz.com/us. These domains can be of countries or languages. Folders can be created only on TLDs.
When you have subfolders, any SEO on your main website helps these subfolders too. Also, your backlinking would work better. Lastly, this domain strategy is relatively less costly than having ccTLDs. One big problem with this strategy is that all your landing pages would compete with each other; the right LP may not get the right spot in rankings.
Pros and Cons
Pros of ccTLD
- Having ccTLDs can help your website in rankings.
- Local customers prefer visiting local websites
Cons of ccTLD and subfolders
- Having ccTLDs can be expensive for you.
- Local folders can compete against each other for rankings.
Subdomains in your international SEO strategy
Subdomains work when you want to add your country before your domain. However, this strategy works only with top-level domain websites like .com. For example, www.au.xyz.com is an example of this strategy. Some CMS tools have a default setting for subdomains, so this is one of good advantage of this strategy. Using this tactic, you can enter a new market easily.
If your main website ranks high in search engine rankings, you can ride on its goodwill while entering a new overseas market. However, search engines treat links in the drop-down as external links, and this may harm your overall ranking. Also, users are less likely to associate your domain with that location because the language description is right at the start.
There are other disadvantages too. For example, there is no link to the search engines with the targeted location. Another weakness of the subdomain strategy is that search engines like Google will feature just one subdomain from your overall site. There will be competition among all your subdomains, and this won't help your search rankings much.
Global search engine optimization checklist
Your website must have a search engine-friendly structure. If you are going global, your website must target the relevant international audience. There are numerous ways by which you can find your global buyers. Identify the right keywords by researching search-engine-ranking pages. Using these results, populate your keywords into your website. Manage the multilingual pages of your website.
An important decision for you is regarding language versus location targeting. Find out which strategy works well for you. You must allow your users to choose their language pages easily on the website. The language dropdown menu should be easy to locate. Does your website have a short and simple URL? This URL must be descriptive enough for your users.
Please ensure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly. To optimize your website, you may consult several resources on the net. An important part of your international SEO is that your content must be localized. If you are using videos, please optimize them. Use clean titles and meta tags and lastly, use hreflang tags to avoid duplicate content.
Final international SEO checklist
H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags play a key role in your content strategy. Use these tags properly for better results. Optimize your Image Alt tags. If you have lots of text and other forms of content in your website, please interlink all of that through SEO friendly anchor texts. Identify bad redirects and fix them periodically.
Additional steps for your international SEO strategy
You should connect your website with other similar but complementing websites. While linking, please ensure that those websites have good quality. Linking with bad quality websites may destroy your credibility. You may also consider fixing various crawling errors, broken links, and other kinds of errors periodically. In addition, please pay attention to local, regional and country-specific citations on your website.
Benefits of international SEO and hosting
An important question to be answered is where should your web host be located? This is an important issue, though not critical. Many experts say that for getting global traffic, the location of your website host server is an important signal. The alternate view is that there are far more important signals for geo-targeting. However, your server-location does impact site load times
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Benefits of International SEO - FAQ
It helps in getting visitors from other parts of the world.
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