SEO Ranking: Boost your visibility

Guide to international SEO

Do you want to launch yourself to internationalize your business, but don't know where to start your SEO positioning strategy? A particularly important aspect, and one of the first you should consider is SEO. It's no secret that International SEO is a key consideration if you want to improve your website positioning and increase your visibility in Google's search engine internationally.

In this post I'll tell you what aspects you should bear in mind regarding your brand's international SEO to make a good start in other countries and increase the number of conversions or, in other words, potential customers.

What is international SEO?

The million-dollar question! Before we examine international SEO in greater depth, we should define it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consists of a series of strategies to optimise websites so that they systematically appear on the first Google page. AND these strategies can be implemented both internationally and nationally, according to the market you want to reach. Google uses automated ranking systems sort through content to present the most relevant and useful results for the user.

What does this involve? Undoubtedly, the use of specific techniques to create value content, the analysis of keywords in different languages and the customisation of user experience for different countries (UX-UI) are all part of a formula designed to promote purchasing and attract international customers.  

As well as the techniques we have just mentioned, international SEO also includes the implementation of geographical tags (such as hreflang) to tell search engines the specific location for which each website page is intended. It is also important to consider cultural changes and differences in the way users search for information in different countries.

Every digital marketing professional knows that international SEO calls for careful planning and the use of adequate resources, as it requires a thorough understanding of international markets and the audience we are addressing.

For an international SEO strategy to succeed, it is crucial to continuously monitor and analyse the performance of keywords and make adjustments where necessary. This includes identifying the most effective keywords and creating relevant content for each audience.

In short, international SEO is a complex strategy that requires detailed planning and very careful execution.The result will always be positive, as it has a great impact on the visibility and success of our website, and on the growth of our company in international markets.

In addition to international SEO, there are two other types of SEO:

National SEO: This is a search engine optimisation strategy that focuses on improving the visibility and ranking of a website in search results within a specific country. It includes techniques such as keyword optimisation, quality content, site structure optimisation and generating quality links. The objective is to increase the website's relevance and authority for search engines, in order to attract more organic traffic and improve visibility.

Local SEO: This is a search engine optimisation technique that focuses on improving the visibility of a business in terms of geographically relevant search results to increase its reach and attract local customers. It includes optimising the company's data in local directories and including geographical keywords in the content and metadata of a website.

The importance of SEO positioning for companies

After all this, you will now understand why it is so important to conduct an international SEO audit and have a well-defined strategy in place to successfully expand your business and reach new markets. Some of the most important benefits are:

  • More sales: having strong SEO in the Google search engine = an increase in revenue and profitability by expanding your customer base. Sounds good, right?
  • It increases customer confidence: creating localised content for the market you are targeting helps to increase consumer confidence and loyalty. If your future customers read your content in their own language, they will buy your product!
  • It enables you to enter new markets: thanks to international SEO, you can reach the markets that interest you. You will go from being a completely unknown company to one your future consumers trust.
  • Stand out from the competition on a global level: by improving your online positioning, you can compete more effectively with other companies in the international market. International SEO is a concept that many know, but few apply correctly. If you create a well-defined strategy and apply it correctly, you will clearly differentiate yourself from the competition.
the importance of search engine positioning

How can you improve the visibility of your website?

It is essential to work on various aspects to improve the visibility of your website, although they are all related to each other. SEO optimisation, as we have been saying, plays a very important role, but so do social networks, which also help to generate traffic on your website. However, the quality of the content must be good and it is essential to regularly publish material that is relevant for the audience. Here are some types of content that can be useful:

  • Original content: create and share original content, such as blogs, videos, infographics, etc., that is relevant to your audience.
  • Stories behind the brand: share stories and information behind your brand to connect with your audience and build trust.
  • Live content: use live streaming to connect with your audience and answer their questions in real time.
  • Surveys and questions: ask questions and conduct surveys to get to know your audience better and publish the results.
improve the visibility of your website

Remember: you always need to strike a balance between promotion and the value of material for your audience and publish new content regularly to maintain their interest.

Google International AdWords

If you want to expand internationally, there is a very fast way to do so, parallel to international SEO: international SEM, i.e, ads on Google AdWords. This can be a fast, effective way of making your company known on an international market. These ads can be segmented to reach a specific target audience and help generate traffic on your website.

Our ally: Google Analytics

To measure the effectiveness of our strategy, we need a good tool, such as Google Analytics. With it, we can measure the success of SEO and SEM and make adjustments based on the results obtained. This includes monitoring website traffic, bounce rates, traffic sources and other metrics that will help you assess the success of your international visibility strategy.

Localising content

We should not forget the importance of the professional translation of content into other languages for building your business internationally. While we should consider an SEO strategy, to present ourselves on the international market, it is also important to pay attention to the localisation of website content and of SEO. content needs to be translated for our target market, always bearing SEO in mind.

When translating content, it is important not only to translate it literally, but also to be aware of the keywords that the target audience will use to find that service or product, which is why we recommend SEO translations.

How do I conduct an international SEO audit?

An international SEO audit can be used to determine a website's level of optimisation, identify any errors and assess its organic positioning. This is how to do it!

How do I conduct an international SEO audit?

1. Identify the target countries and languages.  

2. Review the structure of the URL and website address, which must be easily comprehensible for users and search engines.

3. Verify the implementation of the language and the region in the metatag. This is essential to inform search engines about the language and region for which you are optimising.

4. Optimise keywords: this is one of the most important steps in an audit for visibility in Google.

5. Verify the use of geolocation and search customisation to improve the user experience and your visibility in the results of local searches.

6. Review duplicate content and the optimisation of the user experience, so that your website is clear and easy to browse.

7. Verify the presence and optimisation of your brand in social media, which is a highly valuable source of traffic to your website. Your customers will follow your brand and you must have an impeccable presence.  

8. Analyse internal and external links to enhance the authority of the content.

9. Evaluate the website's loading speed, which can also help improve the user experience.

10. Verify optimisation for mobiles and compatibility with devices.

Different levels of SEO

When performing an SEO audit, we distinguish two levels: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO, but what exactly does each one mean? Read on to find out!

On-Page SEO

This takes into account all the techniques and actions applied within your website to increase search engine visibility and improve your Google ranking. It incorporates elements such as:

  • Content of the page: quality content that is relevant and optimised for relevant keywords.
  • Page structure: clear, well-organised structure of the page with headings, subheadings, images, etc.
  • URL and title: clear URLs and descriptive titles that are optimised for keywords.
  • Metadescriptions: clear descriptions, optimised for keywords that appear in the search results.
  • Image alt tags: clear descriptions, optimised for keywords for the images on the page.

On-Page SEO is an important part of a general SEO strategy and is essential to improve the relevance and ranking of a website in search engines.

Off-Page SEO

This refers to all the techniques and actions applied outside a website to optimise its visibility and ranking in search engines. What aspects does it include?

  • External links (backlinks): high quality relevant links from other pages to your website.
  • Presence in social media: active, high-quality presence on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Brand: the construction of a strong brand that is recognised in the relevant industry or niche.
  • Online reputation: managing online reputation by monitoring comments and reviews.

Technical SEO

This includes all techniques and actions related to the technology of a website that affect its visibility and ranking in search engines. It includes these elements, among others:

  • Fast loading: optimising the page load time.
  • Mobile-friendly : design and optimisation for mobile devices and tablets.
  • URL and site structure: clear, well-organised structure of the site with clear URLs that are easy to navigate.
  • Site map: a clear site map that is accessible for search engines.
  • HTTP redirects: clear, error-free redirection to avoid problems with search engines.

On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO and technical SEO elements:

On-Page SEO Off-Page SEO Technical SEO
Website content optimisation External links XML Sitemaps
Metatag optimisation Social networks Robots.TXT
Internal links Reviews Structured data
Image optimisation Content creation Hreflang

How do I develop an effective international SEO strategy?

Optimising and implementing an effective SEO strategy is an exhaustive trial and error process. You should therefore be aware that you will not achieve results in one day or in one month, perhaps in three months. It's long-term, but the result is certainly worth it.

For your company to have a promising future and succeed in the international arena, you need to make the most of your SEO strategy. The best way to plan and establish a strategy for your international SEO positioning is to pay careful attention to the points detailed below.  

Study your target audience

If you know your audience, you are far more likely to get your SEO strategy right. You will then be able to identify the key words used by buyers to search for products and services like those we offer. We can also understand trends and preferences in consumption and user searches in different global markets.

Analysis of keywords

There are various ways to identify the most important keywords for a business:

  • Analysis of the sector and the competition: research the keywords used by your competitors and within the sector in general.
  • Researching keywords: use key tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs and SEMrush to identify relevant keywords for your business and niche.
  • Search analysis: review the search terms related to your business that people are using.
  • Content analysis: review and analyse the content of your website to identify keywords relevant to your business.
  • Analysis of the audience: investigate the needs and motivations of your audience to identify keywords relevant to them.

It is important to choose keywords that are relevant to your business and market niche, and to optimise them to increase the visibility and ranking of your website in search engines. And finally, to assess the performance of these keywords, we must monitor them to maximise their effectiveness.

International copywriting

This is my favourite part of an international SEO strategy. Can you guess why? It is the part where the magic happens. How? Creating attractive, high-value content. A knowledge of copywriting enables you to produce texts (such as slogans, websites, posts, landing pages, email marketing, etc.) with the aim of persuading your audience to make a decision. This can be related to a direct purchase (when we talk about the product or service) or to another action that is part of that process (leaving details for a demo, for example).

To do this, you must use clear, concise language according to the language and target market your content is aimed at. Adapt the tone and voice of the brand to the preferences and expectations of your audience. Above all, make sure that the content is localised and easily comprehensible for the target customer, according to their country and language. Get inside the skin of your reader! That's one of the basics of good copywriting. Ultimately, it is only possible to persuade your audience to take the action you want if you really know them, you know what they need and you understand how to communicate with them.

Geolocation

Last but not least, you need to focus on international technical SEO, to improve your SEO positioning. How do you do this?

  • Hreflang: make sure you use these tags correctly so that the search engine can identify the version of the website for each language and region.
  • Domains: consider creating dedicated subdomains or domains for each target market.
  • Hosting: choose a hosting service that offers a good loading speed and good availability for the market where it is going to be used.
  • IP addresses: use geolocated IP addresses to improve classification in local search engines.

With all these points, we would have a basic idea of how to implement an effective SEO strategy, but, believe it or not, we still have some more to consider.

6 common errors to avoid in SEO

Now that we have explained the benefits of having an SEO strategy and how to develop one, we must also look at the most common SEO errors and how you can avoid them.

  • Not having a clear, defined strategy.
  • Choosing the wrong languages to translate your website into. I am aware that it is difficult to know which languages to translate a website into, as you never have enough, but you should ask yourself these two questions first: Which is the most frequently used language to carry out searches in Google in the region to which I want to direct my business? What are the linguistic peculiarities of the region?
  • Not optimising keywords correctly or translating content literally. It is essential to study international keywords with the help of an international SEO expert. If you translate your keywords literally, you will be heading straight for failure.
  • Not having an efficient internal link structure.
  • Not having a presence in social media and not promoting content there properly.
  • Ignoring On-Page optimisation, such as the title and metadescription, the header structure and image optimisation, among others.
  • Duplication of content: this is an error we come across very often. You may think that the search engine won't detect it, but it will! Currently, one of the elements that the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) values is the originality and quality of the content. So, NEVER, I repeat, NEVER! copy the content of another website, as the search engine will penalise you and can stop displaying your content. This also applies if you add poor quality links.
  • Don't focus on Google alone. Believe it or not, there are more search engines! Especially on the international level: For example: Bing is a Microsoft search engine that is popular in the United States, while Baidu is used extensively in China.
  • Not taking user experience into account, in aspects such as page loading speed and ease of navigation.
  • Not monitoring and assessing results and making adjustments if necessary.

7 tools to measure your organic positioning in the global market

You cannot manage without good SEO tools that help you achieve everything mentioned above so that you can monitor the results as you optimise. Note that most of these tools have a free demo, but you must pay to use the full version. Although I mentioned them earlier, I'll say a little more about them, with their advantages and disadvantages.

SEMrush

This is a digital marketing and SEO analysis tool, which allows marketing professionals to optimise their online presence and improve their performance in search engines. With SEMrush, users can carry out keyword research, analyse the competition, monitor their online presence and SEO performance, and track the results of their digital marketing strategy.

The key functions of SEMrush include keyword research, competition analysis, SEO auditing, online advertising analysis, brand monitoring and results monitoring. There is a free trial period, after which you have to pay. It's not cheap.

Google Search Console

This is Google's free tool, which allows you to check the presence and performance of your website in Google search results.

Google Search Console helps to provide easy integration for your website. It offers real data. It's not easy to use and it can take up to a week to recognise any changes you make to your website.

Ahref

This is the key tool for analysing links, allowing you to verify the quantity and quality of these links and the positioning of keywords. With Ahref you can also see the performance of your competitors. In addition to offering a fairly good user experience, it has quite similar characteristics to SEMrush. In terms of value for money, some are clearly better.

Majestic SEO Tools

This is a very useful tool for carrying out Backlinks audits and verifying the authority of websites that lead to your page, the number of unique links and the geographical distribution of the links. Majestic SEO Tools also provides information on keywords and the categories of websites that link to yours, so you can identify opportunities to improve your positioning in search engines. The data are not as accurate as with other tools.

MOZ

The visibility index is one of the most important metrics of MOZ and makes it stand out from the rest. This tool offers a variety of resources to help digital marketing professionals understand and improve their SEO. Its functions include monitoring keywords, analysing incoming links, monitoring domain authority, analysing competitors, producing performance reports and research into keywords. It also offers a wide range of educational resources, including blogs, webinars and guides, to help users learn more about SEO and how to apply it effectively.

SERPstat

This tool analyzes SEO and PPC (payment per click), allowing you to check the performance of your website and those of your competitors. SERPstat also provides information on keywords and backlinks. It is easy to audit your website and monitor the keywords for its category. There is a list of tasks and it is easy to track improvements.

Ubersuggest

It was created by Neil Patel, one of the SEO gurus, and it mainly serves to optimise keywords for all types of businesses. It is one of the best tools, since, if you cannot afford to pay for an expensive product, Ubersuggest is affordable and has great capacity. It provides keyword trends, monthly search volumes and competition analysis, among other options. The disadvantage is that it takes a while to load.

Bear in mind that you will probably end up using more than one SEO tool to make the most of SEO.

How do I choose the best international SEO agency?

Having given you all these golden tips, I would strongly recommend you to work with an agency specialising in international SEO.

ATLS will help you grow internationally through SEO, SEM, copywriting and content translation. Thanks to our magic formula, you will stand out from the competition, get more customers and, of course, more sales.

Are you keen to conquer other markets? Let's do it together!.

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Zoe Lloveras

Written by Zoé Lloveras

Search Engine Optimization Specialist at ATLS. See profile on LinkedIn