With a high amount of search results available for almost every thinkable query, it is imperative for search engines to ensure that links are as relevant to the user as possible. Thus, as a business, it is important to optimise your website in order for search engines to identify your target countries and languages of potential clients. International SEO is that process of optimising for target languages and countries.
If you’re looking to target a specific country and/or language, then here are some key tips to help you improve your international SEO:
- Ensure that your content is in the target users’ languages (language targeting)
- Allow search engines to determine your target language through the use of language meta tags or hreflang tags. These are bits of code that tell search engines that go in the <head> of the page, such as the following, telling search engines that the listed URL is the English version of the page: <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”https://www.domain.com”>
- Use a ccTLD, which are the letters following the “.” after the domain name, such as using “domain.fr” to target users in France (country targeting).
- OR, place internationalised content in a specific subdirectory of your root domain, such as “domain.com/fr” (country targeting).
- You may choose to place internationalised content on a sub-domain, such as “fr.domain.com” rather than on a subdirectory. However, this may or may not receive link equity from the root domain, so be sure to do your research beforehand.
- Do NOT use automated translations, especially if they involve no human editing. While they are improving, they are still simply not good enough, and can hurt a website’s ranking in a competitive atmosphere.
- Tailor your site to the target country’s lifestyle and culture. This means using relevant currencies, timezones, and perhaps even tailoring your website design to local preferences (such as using flashing animations for the Chinese market). (country targeting)
- Link your site to local content – this allows search engines to see that your site targets a specific country.
- Google is not the most common search engine in all countries. So, it’s important to find out how to rank on the most popular search engines in your target countries. This is Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russia.
However, many people remain confused about international SEO, and how to implement it on their websites. This is because not everyone is clear about search engines’ methods of ranking international content. On top of this, guidelines vary slightly, depending on the search engine. For ranking on Google, it’s important to be familiar with the Google Webmaster Guidelines, which can be a daunting read. For these reasons, it may be an idea to use a reputable International SEO specialist in Bournemouth, such as High Impact to help your international content rank.