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7 steps to better international SEO

Farhan Malik

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International SEO is becoming increasingly important as globalization advances. SEO experts face the challenge of aligning websites globally and optimizing them country-specifically. Here are seven points for successful global search engine optimization, based on the expertise of MOZ author Kaitlin McMichael. It’s also worth noting that any content should be translated by an agency specializing in website translation.

Tip #1: Check if your website needs multiple country-specific domains (ccTLDs)

Not every global website necessarily requires standalone country pages or sub-domains. It is often enough to work with generic top-level domains (gTLDs such as .com) and subfolders and build its global page structure in this way. Advantage: You do not start from scratch when fighting for organic traffic.

Tip #2: Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicating content on different country websites doesn’t make much sense. To avoid cannibalization of content, you should customize each page individually.

Tip #3: Align your UX and design with country specifics

Suppose your page works in Germany. All design and usability tests have been passed. Well. However, this does not necessarily mean that, for example, a user from Asia is right to find himself on your site or feel addressed by the design. Websites in Asia are often more colorful, flashing and follow different “learned” rules than in Western countries.

Tip #4: Customize your content for different countries and their audience

Individual content of your country pages is a must, even if the language is consistent. Especially in the approximately 100 English-speaking countries, the target groups are always different and require country-specific relevant content. Each SEO expert should optimize these points locally:

Urls

Metadata such as “Title” and “Description”

Wording of navigation

Headlines

Picture name and “old text”

Body content

Tip #5: Focus keyword variations between countries

Keywords do not have to work equally well in different countries with the same language. In British and American English alone, the differences are serious. A simple example: The American will search for “gas station” in search of the nearest gas station. The Briton will google “petrol station”. Notice such differences in your keyword optimization.

Tip #6: Optimize your code

Search engines must be able to uniquely assign each website to a language and country for global SEO to succeed. Therefore, the code of your website should be country-specific. This includes the awarding of “hreflang tags”. Be sure to give the correct “language code” (in ISO 639-1 format) and “country code” (in ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format).

Tip #7: Don’t use country flags as icons for language settings

Your multilingual page should have a highly visible and discoverable navigation that allows the user to change the language. Do not use country flags in this navigation to represent a language. It is better to write out the name of the language in the original language. English should therefore be called “English” and Spanish should be called “Espaol”.

Conclusion

From an SEO point of view, it makes sense to build URLs and website structures logically so that country websites can be clearly assigned. Multilingual content and code should be optimized country-specific to increase the ranking of your global website.