How Does International SEO Work?

If you think that launching a successful global website is just a case of translating your current website, then you couldn´t be more wrong.

There is much more to international SEO than just implementing hreflang. The following article will explain how international SEO works and how you maximize your chances of gaining market share in the competitive international market.

Image depicting International SEO
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Introducing International SEO

International SEO will helps you optimize your domain according to the region or language. For instance, if you target customers in Canada, you will have your website content in both English and French languages, which falls under the multilingual SEO category.

It will be multiregional SEO when the language is the same, but you target customers from different countries.

You benefit from combining multilingual and multiregional SEO to cater to a broader audience and reach out to different people from different regions of the world.

The end goal of implementing SEO is to drive organic traffic to the website with a high conversion ratio.

Why is International SEO Important?

When you are planning to enter the international market, you must make sure to implement an international SEO strategy. Remember that in these new markets you will be competing with already established businesses and you will need an SEO strategy to learn about the different blind spots that you can use to your advantage.

Luckily, you do not have to have a physical presence in the international market to monitor a website’s performance. You have all the tools you need available from any PC with internet access.

Keep in mind that international SEO is highly competitive. Your aim is a strategy that allows you to gain a foothold in the market and is best achieved by concentrating on the spaces that the competitors are not trying. You must learn to pick your battles.

There Is More To Success Than Translation

International SEO is more than translating your website content. You can easily do so by checking out this comparison of website translation plugins, but you also have to use search engine optimization to drive traffic to your website and convert this into potential customers. As such, you must concentrate on making the visitors and the audience comfortable by giving them a superlative experience.

For International SEO to be effective, you must also consider the cultural point of view of the countries you are aiming for. A mere translation will not be sufficient to attract potential customers. You will need to localize and adapt your website content to take into account the cultural difference in your new chosen markets.

For example, if you are marketing bicycles and spare parts, consider offering the parts for all the bikes available locally. Using the appropriate date, time, and currency format also helps attract customers. Additionally, communicate and reply to questions in the local language to make customers feel welcomed and essential. It will vary from one region to another.  Therefore, thorough research is vital, and multilingual SEO is the right choice.

Remember, you are aiming to offer a pleasant and comfortable experience to your customers. It is essential to understand your new countries´ preferences and tastes in terms of websites in order to achieve success at the international SEO level. Learn to know your new audience before proceeding further.

The Eight Steps of International SEO Success

The following is an overview of eight steps that you should use to prepare a successful international SEO strategy:

Step 1: Market Research
Lots of images depicting various aspects of market research.
Image created by Market Business News.

Start market research as soon as possible. It will consist of the targeted audience, the age, and how the audience search for products. You will further acquire information related to competitors, keywords, and how to start the entire process.

Step 2: Define a Budget

When you are doing international SEO, planning is key. You cannot implement a successful SEO strategy unless you know how much you have to spend and how to best spend it. Therefore, prepare a budget and arrange for the funds to be available ahead of the rollout.

Step 3: Define Tasks and Responsibilities

Make sure you clearly define who will be responsible for planning, managing and keeping track of the success of the international SEO strategy. This is best done at the planning stage so that everyone involved knows their responsibilities.

Step 4: URL Structure

A shorter URL extension is attractive and straightforward to remember. Likewise, you must pick the best URL structure. You can choose ccTLDs, Subdomains, or Subfolders. It all depends on your market research and audience. Nonetheless, avoid using dashes in the name.

Step 5: Keyword Research

Do not use translated keywords, as they have different meanings at times. Instead, choose full-blown keyword research for better market capture.

Step 6: Keyword Strategy

The previous step will help you clarify the best strategy for your niche and budget. You can define the content according to the keywords selected and start ranking for a better approach.

Step 7: Defining Localization Process

The keyword strategy defines the content, but how will you inplement the localization process? Remember to consider things like, who will proofread and check localization content, who will create videos and visuals if required, and how will you address the audience (formal or informal).

Step 8: Link Building Strategy

If you are not an established and large brand, you will find it next to impossible to get organic links. To overcome this, you must have a strategy that helps you build connections for each market. Each market works differently, and you must have an international SEO strategy that reflects this.


You have all the information needed to get started with the planning and the strategy to help you with your international SEO. Make use of the digital technologies available to obtain detailed data before preparing a plan and venturing into different regions.

Remember that you are competing against several established entities and must have a solid SEO plan to allow you to achieve market share in your new markets. Once started, your aims should be to keep monitoring the performance of the site/sites, make changes, and continue growing!

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