Winning International SEO Strategies

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Winning International SEO Strategies

What is International SEO?

International SEO is the process of optimising websites to target audiences in different countries and languages. This part of SEO includes looking at crucial aspects such as technical, on-page, and off-page optimisation strategies to ensure that a website ranks well in search engines and is easily discoverable by audiences in different countries. International SEO is essential for businesses that want to expand their global reach and tap into new markets in other locations/countries.

Why is international SEO important?

In the modern world, businesses and websites are no longer limited to their local markets. International SEO is becoming very important for companies that want to expand their global reach or tap into new markets. An International SEO strategy can also allow businesses to target audiences in different countries and languages, providing growth opportunities and increased revenue.

International SEO vs Local SEO?

International SEO differs from local SEO because it targets audiences in different countries and languages, where local SEO targets audiences in a specific geographical location, being as a city or region. International SEO requires a different approach because it involves considerations such as cultural and language barriers, technical optimisation for different countries, and the need for localisation.

Local SEO strategies include optimising for local keywords, Google My Business listings, and local citations. International SEO strategies include keyword research, on-page optimisation, technical optimisation, content creation and localisation, link building and outreach, and analytics and monitoring.

International SEO – Research and Planning

Whenever a business is launching any international SEO campaign, it is crucial to conduct thorough research to ensure that your SEO and Digital Marketing efforts will be effective. The business needs to start by choosing target markets based on factors such as search volume, competition, and market trends. Businesses should also consider cultural and language barriers, as well as the need for localisation.

  • Identify the target audience
  • Develop an effective International SEO Strategy
    – Keyword research
    – On-page optimisation
    – Technical optimisation
    – A tailored content strategy tailored

Technical Optimisation for International SEO

Technical optimisation is critical for ensuring that your international website is easily crawlable by search engines.

Website Structure

When choosing a structure for your international website it’s also crucial to ensure that you are choosing one that will work for your site and your audience. There are various ways you can structure your website, each has its own pros and cons.

ccTLDs Country Top-Level Domain (

This option is the most effective way of showing your users and search engines that your site content is targeted to a certain country or region.

Subdirectories/Subfolders (
You can use this method for websites that require content that is specific to a certain country (by language or audience)

Subdomain (
This option is ideal for sites with a lot of content that is difficult to manage on one site. Subdomains form part of the main domain, however, they can be treated separately. This way you can have content in different languages targeting users from different countries.


What are HREFLANG tags?

Hreflang tags are HTML meta tags that tell search engines the language and the relevant region for a page. This will help guide search engines on where to find the content on the site in other languages.

Implement hreflang tags to indicate the language and country targeting of each page, and avoid duplicate content by using canonical tags and hreflang tags.

Hreflang and canonical tags

Canonicalisation is a tool for showing search engines which version of a URL (each with the same content) is the dominant one to avoid duplicate content issues. Hreflang, on the other hand, is a tool to show which of the different (but often similar) pages (based on language or region) should show up in a search.

Hreflang tags need to work together with the canonical tags.

Site Speed
Optimise site speed for international audiences, as slow load times can lead to higher bounce rates. Also, ensure quick load times across all versions of your website.

Content Creation and Localisation for International SEO

To effectively reach relevant international audiences, it’s essential to create localised content that resonates with their cultural and linguistic preferences. Strategies for adapting content to different cultures and languages include using local keywords, translating content, and ensuring that images and videos are culturally relevant.

Optimising content for international SEO will includes using localized URLs, meta tags, and optimising content for featured snippets. A best practice is to create separate pages for each target market and language.

International SEO Link Building and Outreach

Link building is an essential part of any international SEO strategy, and it’s crucial to build high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources in your target markets. Strategies for conducting effective outreach campaigns in different markets include identifying and engaging with relevant influencers and publishers and building relationships with local media outlets.

Building links across different languages and cultures can be challenging, but it’s possible by using translated anchor text and outreach strategies that resonate with the target market.

Analytics and Monitoring of Results

Tracking and analyzing international SEO performance is critical for optimisation and adaptation. Key metrics to monitor include organic traffic, rankings, click-through rates, bounce rates, and conversions. Tools and platforms for tracking international SEO performance include Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Ahrefs.

Strategies for optimising campaigns based on performance data include optimising keywords, improving user experience, and adapting content and link-building strategies to better resonate with the target market.


International SEO can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it’s possible to expand your reach globally. By conducting thorough research and planning, optimising technically, creating localized content, building high-quality links, and tracking performance data, you can achieve success in international SEO. Remember, ongoing optimisation and adaptation are essential for continued success.

Does your business require a well thought out International SEO Strategy that works – Reach out to Algorithm Agency or read more of our interesting and informative Thought Leadership Articles.


Q: What is an international SEO strategy?

A: An international SEO strategy is a process of optimising a website to reach audiences in different countries and languages. It includes technical, on-page, and off-page optimisation techniques to ensure that a website ranks well in search engines and is easily discoverable by audiences in different countries.

Q: Does my business need an international SEO strategy?

A: If your business operates in multiple countries or markets and you want to expand your global reach, then yes, your business needs an international SEO strategy. An effective international SEO strategy can help your business reach new audiences, increase traffic, and boost revenue.

Q: Should you target language or country?

A: Whether you should target language or country depends on your business goals and target audience. If your business operates in multiple countries with different languages, then you should target both language and country. If your business operates in a single country with multiple languages, then you should focus on targeting languages. It’s important to conduct thorough research to identify the most effective strategy for your business.

Author : Ntokozo Dlamini

Categories SEO