Businesses that provide services to clients around the world need a bespoke SEO campaign that is tailored to their different audiences. It needs to consider different languages, terminology and culture when publishing content. Even the images used in content need to be carefully selected. But, most importantly, an international business needs a specific approach to search engine optimisation to ensure their website can be found in organic search by their international audience.
So here is a basic checklist from some providers of SEO consultant services for any business targeting clients and customers across the globe:
International SEO best practices
- Ensure that the website is designed in such a way that either sub-domains or sub-folders are used for each target country. That way visitors from the target countries should easily be directed to the part of the website relevant to them and in their own language.
- It might be tempting to think that everyone speaks English in the world of busines but this is far from true so make sure to provide content in the language of your target countries. It may not be necessary to have translations of the full website but you should certainly consider foreign language blog posts and articles at the very least.
- Ensure that the page title tags and meta descriptions are always written in the same language as the content on the web page. These two meta tags will appear on the organic search listings for the country-specific search engine used so visitors will expect them to be in the appropriate language.
- Always employ professional translators for the content to ensure that foreign language versions use the correct terminology and tone of voice. Automated translation systems will never provide the same level of quality as a native speaker.
- Consider that some languages are read from left to right so key calls-to-action, forms and images may need to be placed in different locations on the page for certain languages.
- Provide a clear option on every page to switch to a particular language because some searchers may be based in one country (and using the search engine for that country) but prefer to read content in a different language.
- When it comes to the link-building process, which is essential for every successful SEO campaign, try, where possible, to place external links on language-specific pages linking to content on your website in the same language.
- Make use of the language meta tag (hreflang) on all pages to indicate to search engines which languages your website uses.
- In some parts of the world Google isn’t the dominant search engine so identify the most popular search engines in all your target countries and monitor rankings on those search engines. In practise, if a website is well-optimised and ranks well on Google then it should rank well on other search engines. However, there are sometimes anomalies so do not make this assumption – check for yourself.
Following these simple best practices tips for international SEO will ensure that when your target audience discover your website and its content they will also have a good user experience. Search engines will also be able to recognise that your business caters for an international audience, which will also help pages rank more highly in foreign SERPS, thus contributing to more visitors and better sales.