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Maximizing Global Sales with International SEO

Welcome to our advanced guide on International SEO! As experienced professionals in this field, we know that international SEO is about more than just translating your website into different languages. It involves a comprehensive strategy that considers the nuances of each country’s search engines and cultural differences.

This blog post will discuss why international SEO is important for businesses looking to expand their reach in global markets. For an effective international SEO plan, market research, keyword research, content marketing, and on-page optimization are key elements.

You’ll learn how to implement international SEO efforts such as multilingual and multiregional SEO targeting specific countries or regions using country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) or hreflang tags. We’ll also delve into the importance of local links and content strategy when ranking higher in local search engines.

So if you’re ready to take your business global with targeted International Search Engine Optimization efforts – let’s dive right in!

Maximizing Global Sales with International SEO

What is International SEO? 

Increasing your website’s organic presence in international markets is known as international SEO. It allows you to reach users in specific countries, broadening your reach and increasing brand awareness. 

International SEO is how your company navigates global differences to maximize its presence in multiple countries. 

Google accounts for the vast majority of search traffic in many countries other than the United States. In Brazil, for example, Google accounts for 92.5 percent of all search traffic. In India, the figure is 94.19 percent.

The graph below depicts the percentage of Google search traffic in several countries:

Importance of International SEO

International SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes. With 92.96 percent of global traffic driven by Google, companies can tap into a huge international market with the right strategies in place.

The importance of international SEO cannot be overstated, especially for the world’s biggest companies that rely on international sales as a huge part of their business.

  • Take Apple, for example; in its 2019 fiscal year, 60.7 percent of its total revenue came from outside the United States.
  • Ford reported 36.7 percent of sales coming from abroad.
  • Alphabet (Google) had 53.8 percent of its revenue from foreign markets in 2018 alone.
  • Even Walmart has seen 23.2 percent growth in international sales since 2016 – proving how important it is to have an effective global presence when marketing your products or services online!

Difference Between International SEO and Local SEO

While local SEO is focused on keywords and target audiences within a narrow geographic area, international SEO targets audiences across diverse geographic regions.

There are four primary differentiators between the two: 

  • Cost

Cost is among the most significant differences between local and international SEO efforts.

International campaigns come with significantly higher costs due to their scale and scope; businesses must invest more time into research and create additional content to reach their global audience.

  • Content 

Content creation also plays an important role in successful international SEO campaigns; companies must develop localized versions of their website that meet customer expectations in each region they’re targeting.

This requires creating multiple versions of copywriting, images, videos, etc., which can be quite costly depending on the number of languages involved.

  • Capture 

Capture is another factor that sets apart local from international optimization efforts; when you expand your target market beyond your immediate geographical area, you need to do extensive research into cultural norms and customer preferences so that your brand aligns with what people expect from it in each region or country you’re targeting.

  • Competition 

While locally-focused businesses may only have to compete against other companies operating within the same city or state boundaries, internationally-oriented firms will find themselves up against multinational corporations vying for the same customers worldwide – “the big fish eating all the little ones” kind of situation, if you will!

Does Your Business Need International SEO?

If you’re a business owner, asking yourself whether international SEO is right for your company is important. After all, if you want to reach customers in other countries, optimizing your website for those markets is essential.

But how do you know if it’s the right move? Here are some things to consider:

Do You Already Have an International Audience? 

The first step is to check your Google Analytics audience section and see where your visitors are coming from.

If there’s already a good amount of international traffic on your site, that could be a sign that demand exists, and investing in international SEO would be worthwhile.

What Language Are Your Users’ Browsers Set To? 

Another way to gauge interest in different markets is by looking at what language people have their browsers set up for when they visit your website.

Again, this information can be found in the analytics section and will give you an idea of which languages are popular with users who come across your site organically or through paid search campaigns.

Are Your Competitors Doing International SEO? 

It’s also worth looking at what kind of international presence competitors have–particularly those who may not even operate within the same industry as yours but still target similar audiences.

Use a VPN service to see what search results in people get when searching from different countries; if several competitors appear prominently on SERPs abroad, investing in international SEO would pay off for you too.

What Are People Searching For? 

Uber can help here by showing which terms people use when searching from various locations worldwide so you can tailor content accordingly and ensure potential customers find exactly what they need quickly and easily, no matter where they live or work!

To ensure visitors can easily navigate different versions of your website, ensure all internal links point toward their respective translations. 

Additionally, hreflang attributes should be included to inform search engines which language version should be displayed when someone searches from a specific country or region. This is essential for providing users with the most relevant information quickly and efficiently.

Consider Your Expertise, Selling Abilities, etc. 

SEO isn’t just about traffic; there must be conversions at the end of the process. If you lack the necessary expertise or selling abilities, the benefits of international SEO will be limited. 

Google or Not Google?

Local search engines are important because they offer a more tailored experience to users in certain countries, often providing better results than global search engines like Google or Bing can provide due to their focus on local content and information sources. 

This means that optimizing for these local search engines can be an effective way of reaching customers who may need access to the same global services and those who prefer to use them instead of more popular international options.

Popular Local Search Engines Around the World

  • Google focused on giving people what they wanted, quickly becoming the world’s number one search engine, with 87% of the market share.
  • For Windows PCs, the default search engine is Microsoft Bing. It has fewer bells and whistles than Google and provides excellent search results, ensuring greater privacy and security.
  • Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, has features similar to Google and serves 72% of the Chinese market.
  • Yahoo! is a web portal that offers various services such as a search engine, email, online forums, news, entertainment, and much more.
  • Yandex is a Russian search engine that is popular primarily in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine. Yandex is used by 43% of Russians.

Translation and Localization

Understanding Local Interests

It is essential to understand the local interests of each country you are targeting when creating a global website, as this will affect your messaging and offerings on the site. This includes understanding what content is popular in that region and how it differs from other regions worldwide. 

For example, while American audiences may be more likely to search for “how-to” articles, Asian audiences may be more interested in reading reviews or stories about products they are considering buying. 

Conducting Keyword Research

Once you know what kind of content people in each country are looking for, it’s time to conduct keyword research specific to those countries so that you can optimize your pages with keywords relevant to their searches. 

Remember that although translation services provide correctly translated documents, they may not use words commonly used by locals when searching for information online; therefore, conducting keyword research is key if you want your site to perform well globally.

Translators and Translation Agencies

When translating webpages into multiple languages for international markets, it’s important to remember that translators and translation agencies sometimes use terms that accurately reflect how people search locally – even if the text has been properly translated from one language into another. 

Hiring experienced translators specializing in localization (i.e., adapting content specifically for a given market) is highly recommended if you want your global sites optimized according to local user preferences. 

URL Structure

When it comes to international SEO, the URL structure you choose can greatly impact your website’s performance. There are four main options for structuring URLs when doing international SEO:

international SEO  URL structure
Source: moz.com


CcTLD stands for country code top-level domain and is essentially like an area code – each representing a different country or region.

For example, if your website was www.bratwurst.com and you wanted to target German users specifically, you could create a separate domain with the CcTLD .de (www.bratwurst.de).

This way, search engines will know that this version of your site targets German users specifically and will be able to rank it accordingly in SERPs for those countries’ regions where applicable.


Subdomains are another option for structuring URLs for international SEO; they are separate websites within the same domain name but with a different web address (e.g., www.de.bratwurst.com).

Subdomains allow you to keep all of your content under one roof while still being able to target specific regions or languages with their unique web addresses – perfect if you want to maintain brand consistency across multiple markets without having to manage multiple domains at once!


Subdirectories offer another way of organizing URLs when doing international SEO; these are simply folders within an existing domain containing pages related to a particular topic or language (e.g., www.bratwurst/de).

This type of URL structure allows search engines to easily identify which part of the website contains content targeted towards certain countries’ regions and helps visitors quickly find what they’re looking for on your site – making them ideal for sites that need localized versions in several languages!

gTLD Language Parameters

The utilization of gTLD language parameters, which allow websites using generic top-level domains (.com.net.org etc.) to specify the language(s) their content is written in by adding “?lang=xx-xx” after the URL (e.g., www.bratwurst?lang=de-DE), may not be as memorable for visitors compared with other methods. 

But it can still provide a convenient way for search engines such as Google and Bing to comprehend what type of content should be presented based on user location and preferences; thus, if done correctly, it could also help boost rankings in localized searches.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is essential to any successful SEO strategy, especially when doing international SEO. It’s important to understand the language and culture of your target market to create content that resonates with them. 71% of marketers say using strategic keywords is their top SEO strategy. 

Fortunately, there are several tools available to help you do just that.

Google Keyword Planner 

Google Keyword Planner is one of the most popular keyword research tools for international SEO campaigns.

This tool allows you to enter keywords related to your product or service and get data on how often those terms are searched in different countries worldwide.

You can also use it to find new related keywords based on existing ones and get search volume estimates for each country.

SEMrush’s Global Search Trends Report

This report provides insights into what people are searching for across different countries, including top queries by region, device type, language, etc., and trends over time so you can see which topics have been gaining or losing popularity recently.


Ubersuggest offers localized keyword suggestions based on Google Autocomplete results from various locales worldwide for more specific searches within a particular country or region.

Ahref’s Keywords Explorer

Ahrefs has a Keywords Explorer feature that lets you explore search volumes and other metrics like CPC (cost-per-click) values in multiple languages and locations at once – perfect if you want to compare performance between two markets side by side!

Social Media Platforms 

Don’t forget about social media platforms like Twitter when researching keywords internationally; they can provide valuable insight into what people are talking about in real-time across different cultures and regions – something no other tool can offer!

Language Target Your Site

There are over 7,000 languages spoken around the world. While you won’t be able to reach everyone, you should ensure your site appears in the language of your users.

More importantly, Google wants to show results in people’s native language, so your website will be evaluated using this standard. 

If you’re serious about international SEO, rely on something other than machine translations (which still need to be up to par). From the navigation bar to the content itself, ensure that every aspect of your site (however you’ve chosen to set it up) is in the correct language. 

Language tags can also be used to guide Google. For example, this “hreflang tag” informs Google that an alternative page in German is available, allowing them to rank the correct page.

<link rel=”alternate” href=http://bratwurst.com/de hreflang=”de-de”/>

Another thing to remember is that only some people prefer to browse in the language you expect. It can be frustrating to automatically redirect people to different language content based on their location tag.

People may be in another country and want to view your content in English, or they may be in America and want to view content in another language. People on work visas and traveling business managers are obvious examples.  Instead of deciding for them, please give them a choice by including a button they can click. 

Does Hosting Location Matter?

Indeed, the location of your website host was once an important signal for international search engine optimization (SEO) related to geotargeting. Still, other methods are available that can be used to indicate the target market more accurately. 

Despite this, hosting location still has a huge impact on page speed – it is essential that your site can be accessed quickly in countries where you are targeting customers or readers.

The Impact of Page Speed on SEO

Site loading speed is one of the key factors in improving user experience (UX). Google considers how fast pages load when ranking websites, so having a web host located close to where most of your visitors come from will result in faster loading times, thus helping improve SEO performance and UX metrics like bounce rate and time spent on site.

What to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

Before choosing a web host for your website, consider bandwidth needs, storage space requirements, and customer support availability; all these features should be considered when selecting the best hosting provider for your business or project’s needs. 

Additionally, make sure that they offer server locations near where most of your visitors come from – this way, you can ensure better page speeds while also getting good value for money in hosting costs.

What Are the Most Commons Obstacles in international SEO?

Language is a key factor in international SEO, as it will determine the target audience you are trying to reach and how well your content resonates with them. If you’re targeting an audience that speaks a different language than yours, then translating your content into their native tongue is essential for success. 

Localizing the text to reflect cultural differences can also help improve engagement and conversions from those users. However, this process can be costly and time-consuming if done incorrectly or without expert help, so research thoroughly before taking on any translation project.

Cultural Differences

Another obstacle when dealing with international SEO is understanding cultural differences between countries. While some things may be universal (such as basic human needs), many subtle nuances must be considered when crafting messaging for each region or country you’re targeting. 

It’s important to do extensive research on the culture of each area before creating any marketing material – otherwise, it could easily come off as insensitive or even offensive.

Technical Challenges

Technical challenges should also be noticed when conducting international SEO campaigns. Different countries have varying internet access and connection speeds, which can affect how quickly webpages load in certain areas – something that searches engines take very seriously when ranking websites in SERPs (search engine results pages). 

Additionally, hosting websites across multiple regions requires more resources than just one server location – meaning businesses need to consider scalability options beforehand if they want their sites to remain fast and reliable anywhere they’re accessed worldwide.

Optimizing Your Site Architecture

Organizing your website to facilitate access for search engines and people is critical to succeeding with international SEO.

Descriptive URL Structure 

Creating a readable, descriptive URL structure tailored to each page’s target language or country is essential for proper search engine indexing. URLs should be short, descriptive, and easily readable by humans and machines. 

Additionally, if you’re targeting multiple languages or countries with different versions of the same page, ensure each version has its unique URL so that search engines can index them correctly.

Internal Linking 

You must also ensure all your pages are connected properly via internal links. Internal linking allows users to navigate between related pages on your website quickly and easily while helping search engine crawlers discover new content more efficiently. 

Ensure there are no broken links or orphaned pages (pages without incoming links), which could hurt user experience and SEO performance over time.

Create A Sitemap

Another important factor when optimizing your site architecture is creating a sitemap that helps search engine bots understand the structure of your website better so they can crawl it more effectively. 

An XML sitemap provides detailed information about each page on the site, including title tags, meta descriptions, canonical tags, etc., which can help improve overall ranking potential significantly if done right.


By utilizing the best practices for international SEO, you can maximize your website’s global potential and reach new markets. By understanding your target market, localizing content to suit their needs, using multilingual keywords in strategic places, and optimizing site architecture accordingly – all of these elements combined will ensure that you can effectively optimize your website for global sales with an international SEO strategy. With this approach, you can expect more traffic from foreign countries and higher conversion rates for those visitors.

Increase your global sales by optimizing your website for international SEO. Leverage our expertise to ensure maximum visibility and a seamless user experience across all regions.

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