Optimization Principles for International SEO
As with any SEO strategy, your keywords are a cornerstone to your success - followed by page optimization, link building and elimination of duplicated content. The essential principles of SEO remain the same across the globe.
Standard SEO tactics with an international approach:
• Keywords are critical to International SEO success and it’s important to allocate proper local resources for keyword research. A website will not drive quality organic traffic if it’s optimized for terms that users won’t be searching for. As you research strategic keywords, be sure to perform your analysis and search volume assessment on a local level in order to understand which queries are more relevant for your market. While you should steer clear of mixing languages, to ensure a consistent experience for the user and define your local focus, some keywords are considered universal regardless of language. Especially in highly technical fields, English keywords may have higher search volumes and relevance than the localized version.
• Page Optimization can be driven by inserting your target keywords in five strategic locations:
- URL can be set as “site.com/seo-help” if your targeted keyword is “seo help” in the US or “de.site.com/seo-life” in Germany.
- Title tag is displayed at the very top of the of the website browser and is critical for search engines interpretation of the content on the page.
- Meta Description displays in the search engine results page with your listing and is a key contributor to the click through rate.
- H Tags are the section headers within the site’s code.
- Page Content – don’t forget to optimize pictures, videos and text with localized captions, headlines and alt-texts.
• Duplicate Content can be an issue when expanding internationally if you have the same or similar versions of a page with different URLs. As a result, your page authority can be diluted. You may encounter this issue within a site, as well as across markets within the same language. Just like on your U.S. site, duplicate content can be an issue within a separate country, region or language specific site. By having duplicates such as company.fr and company.fr/index with the same or very similar content, you’ll diminish the authority and search recognition of both pages. If you are unable to provide unique content for different country audiences that speak the same language (e.g., Germany and Austria), your best option is to use the geo-targeting feature in Google Webmaster Tools.
• Link Building to your site from other locations on the web is crucial to any SEO campaign, regardless of which global market you are trying to capture. The more quality links that map back to your website, the higher you are recognized as an authority by search engines. Aim for link diversity, and try to gain links from high value sites in your field. Avoid utilizing link farms or purchasing links; these practices are frowned upon by search engines and are widely considered unethical. If a search engine recognizes that you have been using these tactics, you will experience an adverse reaction and your site could be negatively affected for an extended period of time. To gain authority in your target country or region, focus on inbound links from local sites. If you are targeting France, try to obtain links from French bloggers and newspapers. With link building, the more interesting and relevant your content is, the greater your chance to earn a link.