International SEO Strategy: Search Engine Optimization

International SEO Strategy: Search Engine Optimization
International SEO Strategy is about promoting and optimizing your content in order to make the site visible to a target market or audience across multiple countries and or languages. Depending on your business objectives, it could be that your site just needs to provide specific content. To specific language populations.

International SEO Examples

  • Think of a U.S. company that only serves the US but still recognizes the need to cater to a Spanish-speaking population.
  • Canadian organization that needs to attract both English and French speakers.
  • A multinational corporation with locations in multiple regions all around the world.

You need to not only have content available in local languages but maybe even entire websites dedicated to these countries. 

Not only would you need a French Canada internationalization, but you would also need a French version for France and maybe business conditions dictate what you can or can't sell in each country. 

 If you're a news publisher, you may have a completely different set of content country by country. 

International SEO plan Must reflect business needs

As you begin to develop your international SEO plan, you'll need to make sure it reflects your business needs and think carefully about whether you're marketing to specific languages, regions, or a combination of both.

If the goal of your business is simply to provide the same content in multiple languages, then you'll be focusing on optimizing your site's translated content in order to be found by search engines.

 Multilingual site 

A multilingual site simply offers users a choice of more than one language. Search engines have come a long way with respect to language detection, and these days you can assume they'll be able to easily pick up on the languages you have your content translated into. 

But no matter how smart they might be, you're still going to want to take advantage of some of the techniques to send strong signals and indicators for the language you're using on a page of content.

 Target language in a URL structure 

The target language in a URL structure such as in a sub-domain or a sub-folder is 1 tactic that tends to work very well for this. 


If you were a search engine crawling through these pages, the use of either a sub-folder or sub-domain with internationally recognized language codes would send you a strong language signal. And help you to index this content appropriately.

Multinationals and Large Enterprises

Will have to be able to accommodate more than just a translation of the same content into different languages. Often there will be different offices operating in different countries with different business environments. And your optimization efforts will be spent making sure visitors can discover and consume that regionalized content in their local flavor of language.

 The Spanish spoken in Spain, for example; 

Is very different from that of Mexico, and that's a very different Spanish from what is spoken in Argentina.

 Canada vs the US 

  • Spellings: flavour vs. flavor
  • References: hockey vs. baseball

You can see how all these combinations can become pretty as from what is spoken in Argentina. You could see how all these combinations can become pretty complex.

A simple example; for North America would be a website targeting the Canadian and US markets, even though both are primarily English-speaking countries.

There are differences in nuances in the languages that you need to consider and address, and when you do, you'll find that citizens. The respective countries will not only appreciate the content for its relevance and reliability but also find it easier to discover your site in the search engines. 

And of course, there are large markets of French speakers in Canada and Spanish speakers in the US that will need to be accommodated as well.

 We also need to consider different search engines around the world. 

Our North American example is likely pretty Google or Bing centric, but globally there are other search engines you need to be thinking about. 

In China, there's Baidu, Russia and Eastern European countries use Yandex and neighbor is a popular platform across. South Korea.

You'll want to research your markets to understand the relevant search engines and adapt your strategy accordingly, making sure to sign up for any publisher or Webmaster-type tools that are offered. 

  At this point, you are hopefully realizing that there's not a single right answer to the way you'll handle which search engines, languages, and regions you'll target.  

This will largely be driven by your business model. Whether your sights are focused on multilingual, multi-regional, or both, you'll need to pay close attention to how it's structured and how search engines are able to discover and understand your content so that they can deliver it to the target markets when they're searching.

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