The importance of international SEO is growing rapidly for many businesses. If it is executed correctly, most businesses can expect a huge ROI when implementing international SEO.
What is the difference between regular SEO and international SEO?
Global sites should not be the same as your home country website, just translated into other languages. You should always translate and localize your website content, but you also need to optimise each site for their country’s audiences, from user experience to the messaging and offers.
Some sites will be more popular in the USA for example, but might not perform so well in Asia or South America. To amend this, extra content and optimisation work will need to be implemented. For example, if you have a site with it’s own site design ranking in Spain, your American site should not outrank it.
Misusing the canonical tag can result in certain sites not being indexed or creating duplicate indexing.
Should I go global?
If you are not sure about going global with your website, then reviewing some stats, reports or even your own website data would be a good idea. Use this data to prioritise and decide what countries to go after.
Do you need a site for every country?
The answer is yes. If the market is big enough, go after it. This isn’t just for SEO reasons, as having localised sites will definitely provide a better user experience to the local visitors. Having a site for each target country is a great idea and it’s always better to do this if you have the capacity.
In some cases, businesses will not have the option to do this. The alternative is to have different website content in each language for your target countries. Doing this is a great way to test international sites before you decide to make a seperate website for seperate countries.
What kind of hosting should I get?
Host locations were once very important signals for SEO related to geotargeting, but now it is not as important, as we have other ways to indicate the website’s target market to the search engine and manage CDN’s.
Host location has a big impact on the page speed, so make sure the site can be accessed in the target countries quickly.
What else should I consider before going global?
Local resources are one of the biggest challenges a company will face when going global, even for top companies. No business has unlimited resources in each country, which can become a problem especially as SEO is not a one off project and will need to have continued efforts.
The main thing is to plan ahead, allocating what to do, and when and where to do it between the team.
Tasks such as: IT and web ops, content localisation and optimisation and reporting/identifying SEO opportunities.
If you do not have the resources available in other offices or even the one you are in then take into account that outside resources are available.