International SEO is a way to optimize your website so that global search engines are able to quickly and seamlessly identify which countries and languages your business is targeting.
Why is that important? The stats speak for themselves. Optimizing for Google in English is simply not enough:
- There are 192 Google search engines by country and region.
- There are 41 languages in which Bing can find results.
- Yandex is the 5th largest search engine worldwide and serves 33 languages.
- Baidu has the 2nd largest search engine in the world.
A business may consider international SEO if they know a decent portion of website visitors originate from another country than your domestic one. Another clue is if many of your website visitors speak different languages than the language of the country in which your business resides.
If both of these hold true, it's probably a good idea to consider international SEO. International SEO can create a better user experience for all of your visitors and make your business more easily findable by search engines.
You'll need to do some research to decide how to handle SEO. Your international SEO strategy will look one way if you are simply targeting other countries but still seeing English as the primary language. It will look another way if you are targeting other countries and other languages in tandem.
For the latter, you will have a few necessary steps to optimize:
- Country targeting: Update to an international-friendly URL structure to specify your target countries/regions
- Language targeting: Use language tags to establish the languages your pages will target
- Content creation: Create content in your target languages at a regular cadence to help you rank for international keywords
In other cases, you may only need to optimize certain things. If you're only trying to target a specific language (but not a specific country), you'll only need to handle the last two bullets. If you're selling widgets to Spanish speakers, for example, you'll optimize for Spanish language targeting but you may not necessarily be targeting specific countries.
This guide was created to help you plan a roadmap for international SEO and expansion online. It will help you send the right signals to Google and ensure the right users are seeing the right content when they search online. The technical tips included will help you streamline your international SEO process and make sure all your i's are dotted.
That's really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to international SEO. Every business wants to see growth, whether in web visits, conversions, or revenue. But doing international SEO for the sake of growth alone is not the best strategy. Expanding internationally and growing requires time and resources and its success depends on your business - and your customers. It's not a one-and-done campaign. It will take time, consideration, and planning. Some of the changes required to your site will render big structural changes that are hard to undo.
Before jumping headfirst into international SEO, sit down and look at the facts of your business and target audience. Also, download our ebook [LINK] it will walk you through all the important considerations in catering to an international audience.