The global economy is becoming increasingly interconnected. The growth of e-commerce allows anyone to sell products and services to people worldwide. More and more businesses aim to expand their reach beyond their home countries. They want to tap into international markets.
However, a business must optimize its websites for users and search engines in different languages and countries to succeed in the global markets. And that’s where international SEO or SEO in Europe (if Europeans are your target market) comes in.
What is International SEO?
International SEO refers to optimizing a website to rank well in search engines and reach target audiences in various countries and languages. This involves technical and content-related strategies designed to help local search engines understand the intended target markets and provide relevant results to users in those markets.
An international SEO campaign is crucial for businesses wanting to expand their reach and succeed in new markets, such as Europe. Optimizing your website for the search engine in European countries can:
- increase your site’s online visibility
- reach your target customers
- drive traffic and increase revenue
And working with SEO agencies or professionals who provide SEO services can increase your chances of success.
What to Consider When Optimizing Websites for International SEO
Here are six key elements of international SEO that must be considered when optimizing your website for global markets:
1. Culture and language
You should consider the language and cultural differences between your target markets.
Different countries use different languages. But also note that there can be cultural differences in terms of grammar, vocabulary, and tone, even within the same language.
If you want to enter the European market, ensure that your website is accessible and relevant to your target audience. Here’s what you can do:
- Use local spellings and expressions. Find out about the common expressions and spelling used in European countries and use them accordingly. Doing so will increase the relevancy of your content to users in each market.
- Translate your website’s content into the languages of your target countries. It would be great to use native speakers. Doing so will ensure that the translation is culturally appropriate and accurate.
- Adapt your tone. Consider the cultural differences between European countries when adapting your tone. For example, French may prefer a more formal tone, while Italians may prefer a more conversational tone.
2. Domain structure of your website
Today, you have several options. These include ccTLDs or country-code top-level domains, subdirectories, and subdomains. Each option has pros and cons, so you must choose one that fits your site’s needs.
- ccTLDs — This is a domain extension specific to a particular country. For instance, .fr for France or .de for Germany.
- Subdomains — These are a good option if you want to keep your main website separate from your international versions. For instance, you can use fr.example.com as a subdomain for your French website.
- Subdirectories — These are a good option if you want to keep your main website and international versions integrated. For example, you can use example.com/fr as a subdirectory for your French website.
Configure your website to indicate the target languages and countries. You can use the following techniques:
- Google Search Console settings
- Hreflang tags – These are HTML attributes indicating the geographic target and language of the page.
- Geolocation information like IP addresses
4. Keyword research
Keyword research is a crucial component of international SEO strategy. It must be conducted for each target market. This helps to understand the local language and user search behavior. This involves researching local keywords, variants, and phrases. You also need to understand the competition in each market.
5. Link building
Acquiring relevant links can help to boost the site’s visibility in each target market. This includes:
- getting links from local websites, such as industry associations, news websites, and directories
- building relationships with influencers and thought leaders in each target market
6. Localized content
Create unique, locally relevant content for your website. It should include your target market’s local addresses, currency information, and phone numbers. You may also add information regarding local events and popular attractions. Adding these details to your content marketing strategy will help establish your site as a reputable resource.
International SEO is critical to your digital marketing strategy. It involves optimizing your website to rank very well in search engines and reach your target audiences in multiple languages and countries.
Follow local and international SEO best practices. That way, you can boost your online visibility and reach new customers effectively. Eventually, your SEO efforts will drive more traffic and gain higher revenue.
But the SEO industry may seem complex for anyone who does not have the right SEO tools and knowledge. Good thing there are SEO companies that can help with international and local SEO. So if you want to tap into the European market, hire SEO professionals like SEOLeverage to help optimize your website.