International SEO - When and Why Should You Do This?

E-commerce grows and grows - the market in your own country is quickly no longer sufficient. For this reason, many companies look beyond their own national borders in order to become active worldwide. So if you want to be internationally visible, you should set up your website in several languages. Only in this way can you be positioned globally in the SERPs .

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International SEO - When and Why Should You Do This?

Not all companies automatically target the internationalization of their own website, and that's a good thing. The fact is: not everyone needs a website that can be found outside of Germany. On the contrary, it is sometimes even more important to rely on local search engine optimization. This applies, for example, to the carpenter or the shop around the corner. Some companies therefore restrict themselves to a certain local or regional area, while others want to be active across national borders. Here you can do international SEOstart to demonstrably optimize your findability. If you adopt your SEO strategy one-to-one for other countries, you will quickly notice that you have reached your limits here. This is because search engine optimization is different for every country. Depending on which country you want to expand into, you should take a close look at your target Markets.
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What are the risks of international SEO?

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The quality of your website and its content can suffer

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Difficulties in opening up the market

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target group

Getting to know the wishes and needs of the new target group

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Gaining the trust of customers

Improve the ranking of your country websites

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Check whether your website needs several country-specific domains

Not every global website necessarily needs separate country pages or sub-domains. It is often sufficient to work with generic top-level domains (gTLDs such as .com) and sub-folders and to build up your global site structure in this way. Advantage: You don’t start from scratch in the battle for organic traffic.


Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicating content on different country websites doesn’t make much sense. To avoid cannibalizing content, you should adapt each page individually.

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Align your UX and design with country specifics

Suppose your site works in Germany. All design and usability tests were passed. Good. However, this does not necessarily mean that, for example, a user from Asia will find your site rightly or that the design will appeal to you. Websites in Asia are often more colorful, blinking and follow different “learned” rules than in Western countries.


Customize your content for different countries and their target groups

Individual content on your country pages is a must, even if the language remains the same. In the 100 or so English-speaking countries in particular, the target groups are always different and require country-specific relevant content. Every SEO expert should optimize these points locally:

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Focus on keyword variations between countries

Keywords don’t have to work equally well in different countries with the same language. In British and American English alone, the differences are serious. A simple example: The American will search for “gas station” when looking for the nearest gas station. The Briton will google “petrol station”. Pay attention to such differences in your keyword optimization.


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Strategies for global search optimization

Let's deep dive into some of the best domain strategies for your international SEO. We will also talk about their respective advantages and drawbacks. You can consider ccTLDs or country-specific- top-level-domains for your website, for example, for Australia, you can have .au, for India it would be .au, and so on. This way, your site does well in rankings. Another benefit is that customers prefer local websites while searching. However, having multiple local domains is quite expensive. Also, your SEO on your main website will not affect your local websites. You can also add a folder or a subfolder to your domain, e.g. These domains can be of countries or languages. Folders can be created only on TLDs. When you have subfolders, any SEO on your main website helps these subfolders too. Also, your backlinking would work better. Lastly, this domain strategy is relatively less costly than having ccTLDs. One big problem with this strategy is that all your landing pages would compete with each other; the right LP may not get the right spot in rankings.

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Of course, this is not just about the different terms that different countries have for the same word. Rather, you should pay particular attention to the following things:

Long-tail, mid-tail, or short-tail keyword searches

  • Regional or global search reference
  • Explicit or implicit search intent
  • Semantic connections

If you know the specifics of each country you want to expand into, it will be easier for you to optimize your website accordingly.

It is not just because of different cultures and religions that you should make sure that you do not step into faux pas – prejudices and stigmata are out of place anywhere in the world. Anyone who wants to grow up internationally should know the customs of their target countries well . First and foremost, pay attention to what you represent in pictures and graphics. How you address your target group can also vary from country to country. For example, some countries are less able to cope with nudity than others. Certain formulations can also be tricky. Not everything that is well received by your target group in Germany has to please other nations as well. Therefore clarify beforehand with native speakers what taboo topics there are and what you have to pay particular attention to.

Sure, with English you can get pretty far anywhere. However, you will find that it is not always the best way of communication if it is not the mother tongue of the person you are speaking to. English is only the third most widely spoken mother tongue . First and second places go to Madarin Chinese and Spanish. Sure, around a billion people speak English as a second language, of course, but it is certainly helpful to internationalize your team if you want to operate globally. Native speakers make it easier for you to get started in a foreign country.

If you have carried out an international market analysis , it is time for a global market strategy. All values that you looked at more closely in the previous step are included here. They are also the basic building blocks for your international SEO. In addition, you can think about whether you want to rely exclusively on directories or create your own country pages. For this you need a sophisticated domain strategy in order to achieve the best possible success.

The hreflang attribute is suitable for multilingual websites that are active in different markets in different countries. There are two cases in which hreflang are of particular importance:

  • Same language, but different countries (e.g. D / A / CH region)
  • Different languages

It also ensures that search engines do not consider your content to be duplicate content. This is how you avoid penalties.

An hreflang attribute is there to ensure that Google is informed about the page architecture of your internationalized website. The search engine understands the structure better and can better assign content and languages to the respective country. The hreflang attribute is therefore suitable for multilingual websites that are active in different markets in different countries or geographical locations. So this attribute is of great help if you want to internationalize your website. Best of all: an hreflang also ensures that the same content in different languages is not counted as duplicate  content.

The internationalization of your website doesn’t always have to be positive. There are also some risks that you take with it:
– The quality of your website and its content can suffer
– Difficulties in opening up the market
– Getting to know the wishes and needs of the new target group
– Gaining the trust of customers

Internationalization has clear advantages. These are mainly in the following:
– Increased sales through internationalization and increased customer numbers
– Expansion of the business and cooperation partner portfolio
– Increased awareness , national and global
– Chances of a good, global Google ranking
– Effective global online marketing

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