For many international brands, global Search engine optimization remains a
virtually untapped arena. According to Oban Multilingual, 70% of internet search
queries are not in English.
Despite the many SEO blogs I subscribe to, I see very little information
posted on global SEO strategies. Below I’ve gathered some of the
international SEO best practices and tips for global search engine optimization.
1. Use Local Domain Extensions: The most effective strategy for
international SEO is the most obvious one. If you’re trying to optimize for
Google.ca and your domain has a .ca extension, you have a great advantage
(though it’s still very possible without one.) In addition to the domain
extension, Google probably looks at the IP address location of your server to
determine the geographical relevance of your site.
2. Translation Isn’t Enough: Many assume that a word-for-word Google
translation of existing website content will result in high rankings on
international SERPs. Those of use who’ve ever read a word-for-word translation
from another language to English realize this isn’t a good idea. You may get
into the SERPs, but your odds of converting the visitor and slim to none.
3. Get Links from international domains: If your site contains a good
diversity of incoming links from many domain extensions (.co.uk, .ca, .fr, etc),
Google will begin to notice your site on the non-US versions of Google.
4. Links to international domains: While I’m not sure if this will
really improve rankings, it at least shows you’re participating in a global
community by linking to international sources.
5. Keyword + Country Landing Pages: I’ve found searchers sometimes do
a keyword search and append their country name to it. (e.g. “ipods uk”) By
optimizing a landing page for this combination, you can begin ranking for the
6. Do International Keyword Research: It doesn’t make sense to get
your keyword suggestions and counts from keyword tools only showing US results.
Aaron Wall’s International SEO keyword tool allows you to get keyword data from
15 different countries.
7. Know the Local Lingo: Anyone who has traveled to another English
speaking country knows there are significant differences in local lingo. For
example, one of my clients discovered that “shop” is more frequently used than
“store.” in many European countries.
8. Consider Local Search Engines: Google doesn’t exactly rule the
entire world of search….yet. While its still the number #1 engine
internationally, local engines such as Voila in France, Ansearch in Australia,
or Yandex in Russia are very popular. If you’re targeting a certain local
audience, it pays to understand the algorithms of other engines besides Google.
The internet is making the world a smaller place. In the future,
forward-thinking companies will begin to capitalize on world-wide search
traffic, not just from their own country.