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How to excel at international SEO (checklist)

Michael Bosson

The global content company

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If you have ambitions to be a global brand, then you’ll need a website that speaks like a local.

Helping businesses reach their global audience is what LanguageWire is all about. Through LanguageWire, brands collaborate with translators, copywriters, proofreaders and DTP experts from around the globe. But what's the point of creating all of this multilingual content if people can't find your website? In this blog post, we provide a useful checklist for helping make your content visible online.

Why global brands need international SEO

If you have ambitions to be a global brand, then you’ll need a website that speaks like a local. It's no longer "enough" to launch a website in English and hope that visitors from around the world can figure it out themselves.

Language matters for your business! Common Sense Advisory found that 84% of business buyers are more likely to buy a product with online information in their language. The same goes for B2C, a Common Sense Advisory survey of 3,000 Online Shoppers across 10 Countries found that 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.

What is International SEO?

International SEO makes it easy for people to find online content suited to their locale. To excel at International SEO, you'll need a mix of traditional SEO, improving your content’s visibility to search engines, and high-quality translation. You'll gain more traffic to your website once you've adapted your content to your target locales, search engines can understand it, and it satisfies visitors.

Your International SEO checklist

Start by getting the technical aspects right. It’s the foundation upon which you build your website. Your content won’t be in the top three search results with technical SEO alone, but without it, you won’t get near page one.

  1. Choose the right domain name strategy 
    Will you choose ccTLD, subdirectories or subdomains? Evaluate the pros and cons of each option and select the one that fits your business strategy best. Remember: You don’t need a local domain name and server to rank in a specific country.
  2. Href lang tags: Targeting languages vs countries
    Decide whether or not borders matter to your business. If not, you’ll only need to target languages.
  3. Use content delivery networks
    You don’t need to host your German website in Germany. Optimise the speed of the most used website assets with delivery from a nearby location.
  4. Mind the competition
    Consider the level of competition in search results. Evaluating the success of your current keywords will help you decide on new target markets. Remember: Competition in English search results is much more intense than in other languages.
  5. Pay attention to structured data
    With structured data, you’re able to control the image and the text used for sharing in the local language. Do this! Your traffic metrics will thank you for it.
  6. Localise SEO efforts
    Compare home market rankings to other markets. Find the gaps and target a limited number of areas to focus your SEO efforts.
    SEO success takes more than technical knowledge. If you want to rank high locally, your content needs to be better than the local competition. Search engines care about whether visitors are satisfied with the content they click on in search results.
  7. Choosing the right keywords
    Know which keywords you aim to rank for in all languages by analysing and consulting local representatives. Remember: Only optimise one page for each keyword and use the local keywords in URL’s, page titles, H1’s, bold etc.
  8. Don’t forget the meta title and description
    Create titles and descriptions for each language that make the local user click through to your page. Make sure you fulfil your promise in the title and description on your landing page.
  9. Implement an SEO glossary or Termbase
    When translating web content, use a platform which incorporates a terminology database (Termbase) into workflows to ensure consistency and enhance the quality of your brand’s communication.
  10. Create valuable content
    Begin by understanding your target audience’s pain points. Then you can address their pains with solutions in an interesting and easy to read manner. Visitors will stay on your page longer and search engines will recognise this.

Download the SEO checklist

Would you prefer the checklist as a pdf? No problem! You can download the pdf for sharing, printing or use it as your new desktop background.


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