Having a business in several different countries, or working globally means that you will probably need to fight different types of competitors in different ways. Every location is different, so in order to approach and keep customers coming back to your website, you’ll need to use a different SEO strategy, fit to that specific place.
Let’s see what most important elements of local SEO strategies you need to think about when doing optimization for your website and business.
What Is SEO for Different Languages and Countries
Local or international SEO is a process, through which you can optimize your website for local and international searches.
This includes activities such as doing geographical research of the market, using hreflang tagging, setting up the structure of your website’s URL, as well as optimizing the content for local and mobile searches, and different search engines.
1. Market Research
Before conducting an SEO strategy process, it is important to do market research, so you know what audience to target, what keywords to use, and what general SEO strategies to consider. However, here comes the tricky part. Since we are talking about international and local SEO, you will need to do separate research on every market you intend to penetrate.
For example, if you intend to offer your SEO services in Spain, you should do some research on where most businesses are settled, like for instance, in some of the larger population centers, such as Madrid. There are a lot of large companies concentrated in Madrid, which makes the competition there quite strong. To beat them, you will need to do market research and develop an SEO strategy for Madrid.
The same goes for any other country or city. In order to successfully conduct search engine optimization on a local level, you will need to do research for every individual country or city.
2. Setting Up the URL Structure
If you own an international business, it is a good idea to have several versions of the website, in different languages. Also, to increase your chances of showing up in local SEO search results in different countries, it is a good idea to set up different URL structures, depending on the country.
For example, instead of having the same URL (montereypremier.com) for visitors from all countries, you can set it up to be different, like, for instance, montereypremier.com/us, for people from the USA, and montereypremier.com/uk, for visitors from the United Kingdom.
That would be an individual landing page for people from those countries, who have searched for the website. Also, if your website has several different versions, depending on the preferred language, you want to set up your URLs to represent that in search engines.
So, for instance, if you have two versions, English and Russian, your URLs could be set as montereypremier.com/en for English version, and montereypremier.com/ru for the Russian version.
All this basically means that you are going to create subdirectories in your URL structure, which means that every content you make and put in a specific subdirectory, will be shown only on that specific website version, like for instance on the English version, but not on Russian.
That means you can customize your content to fit the audiences from different countries, regions, and cities.
3. Using Hreflang Tagging
Using hreflang tags allows you to tell search engines what languages you intend to use on a specific webpage. Now, even though this might seem similar to what we had talked about in the previous point, it is actually a bit different.
Instead of just being in the URL structure, the hreflang tag is inserted to the very core of the website’s source code. This allows you to order search engines what pages to show on, for example, the English version of the site, and which of them should be on other versions.
4. Doing Local Keyword Research
Apart from just setting up your website to fit local searches, it is important to use proper keywords, to boost its position in the search engines.
When it comes to the local SEO, it is crucial to find keywords with the high-search intensity on a local level, for example in a city, country, or region you want to target. For this purpose, you can use different types of keyword research tools, such as Ubersuggest, Moz, Ahrefs, or even Google Keyword Planner.
5. Performing Content Local Optimization
People from different countries have different tastes, so some of them might like the content you write, while some of them might hate it. If you run an international business, then it is a good idea to do market research, as mentioned above, in order to find out what kind of content the local audience wants to see.
That way, you can optimize your website content for every local target group, which should increase your site’s visibility, and give you more potential customers.
6. Optimizing for Other Search Engines, Not Just Google
Even though most of the people tend to do SEO for Google, since it is definitely the most popular search engine around, you should also consider optimizing for other search engines as well.
Large countries with a lot of residents, such as Russia, Japan, or China have a significant percentage of people who use search engines such as Yandex, Baidu, Yahoo, or even Bing.
However, when doing this, you need to do some research and find out what options all these search engines allow. For example, some of them might not support settings such as hreflang tags, like Bing, for instance, so that is something you must always keep in mind when optimizing your website.
7. Conducting a Local Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization is extremely important nowadays because more than 50% of all searches are done via mobile devices.
Also, in some countries, search intensity may vary from device to device. Therefore, it is a good idea to perform local research and check on which devices search volume is the highest in a different area where your business is located.
Apart from that, a lot of searches are local, so you need to make sure you are seen on a local level, which narrows the search even more.
These were the most important SEO activities that should help you set up your SEO strategy for different languages and countries.
Keep in mind that an international SEO strategy starts with understanding how to best serve your customers and then making efforts to customize your content and search experience to their needs. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to conquer a competitive market and grow your global presence leaving your competitors behind.
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Alexander Hunkin is an Australian based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advices have helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches. The top ones are business, career, finance and marketing. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving and cycling.