27 Aug, 2021

What You Need to Know about Optimising for International SEO and Google Ads

International SEO and Google Ads

One of the best things about the Internet is that it lets you target customers outside the UK. You don’t have to spend a significant amount of money to promote your business to audiences in Europe and beyond. With the right strategies, you can attract international prospects who can help your business grow and succeed. 

As you move to a bigger stage, however, you’ll find that competition can be tougher than ever. This is why you must optimise your site for international SEO and Google Ads. But what exactly is international SEO, and how is it different from your run-of-the-mill search engine optimisation? 

International SEO Defined

As the name implies, international SEO is the process of optimising your site to ensure that it will rank well in different countries and/or languages. Optimising for foreign search engines can be a challenge, but the effort is certainly worth it, particularly if you want to have a strong presence in foreign markets. 

Here are a few reasons why you should consider making your site  international search-engine-friendly: 

  • Google has 192 search engines serving different countries and regions.
  • Bing can deliver results in 41 languages.
  • Baidu is China’s version of Google and it is the second-largest search engine in the world. 

Optimising for international search engines may seem like a novel concept. However, you might be surprised to find out that it is quite similar to local SEO. The only difference is that instead of optimising your site for local audiences so you can attract traffic and leads from nearby cities or regions, you’re trying to attract potential customers from other countries. 

Are You Ready to Go International?

How do you know if you should start optimising your site for international search engines? If you have proof that a significant portion of your web visitors are from other countries, speak different languages or both, it might be time for you to make the necessary adjustments to provide your international visitors with a better web experience. 

Before you do so, however, you must answer the following questions:

  • Which country and/or region are you targeting?
  • Which language are you targeting?
  • Do you have the capability to create and maintain content in other languages? 

It’s essential to find the answers to these questions as they can help you identify the strategies you need to use. For instance, let’s say you want to target Spanish-speaking audiences. Keep in mind that Spain is not the only country where Spanish is the official language. There’s also Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela amongst many others. Knowing what you want to achieve with international SEO can make your journey easier. 

Best Practices to Keep in Mind

As with standard SEO, there are things you need to do and best practices you should follow when you’re trying to rank for foreign search engines. Here are several international SEO best practices you should keep in mind. 

1. Always start with an audit

Before you make the necessary improvements to your site, you should assess its current capabilities through an SEO audit. This way, it will be easier for you to gauge your site’s strengths and weaknesses. By knowing where you stand, you can determine what you need to do next to achieve your goals. 

2. Make sure to use the right country-code domains

Whether you’re targeting single or multiple countries, see to it that you use the right country-code domains. Here are a few things you should remember: 

  • Use a country-code top-level domain if you have a regional audience.
  • Don’t use a country-code domain if you have only one website and you’re targeting international audiences.
  • If you’re already targeting international audiences, but you’re looking to expand into other regions, consider using country-codes at some point. 

3. Choose the best URL structure

It’s also important to pay close attention to your site’s URL structure. Here are the different kinds of URLs you can use for your website when targeting a particular country or language: 

a. ccTLD

ccTLDs are URLs with two-letter codes to signify the country or territory wherein a website is registered. Example: mysite.uk. 

b. Subdomain

If you don’t want to set up a separate website for your international audiences, you can use a subdomain instead. A subdomain is a third-level domain where you can place your internationalised content. Example: subdomain.mysite.com. 

c. Subdirectory

In a subdirectory, the internationalised content is stored in a specific subdirectory, folder, or root domain. Example: mysite.com/subdirectory 

d. gTLD with language parameters

In this URL structure, you attach a URL parameter to a general top-level domain (.com, .org, or .net) to target audiences who speak a particular language. Example: mysite.com/?lang=eng-uk. 

4. Create content tailored for your target audience

Similar to ordinary SEO, international SEO and Google Ads call for the creation of web content that is made specifically for your target audience. Besides creating content that is in your prospect’s language, it also helps to use the local currency, time zone, and other relevant information. This will tell your audience that your content is indeed for them, which helps improve user experience. At the same time, this will send a signal to search engines that your website is indeed relevant to the searchers’ needs. 

It’s Time to Take Things to the Next Level!

While it can be challenging, appealing to foreign audiences can be a great way to ensure the growth and success of your business. After all, the bigger the audience you have, the more traffic and leads you can obtain for your business. Just make sure to consider the pointers discussed above when optimising your site for international audiences and search engines. 

Meanwhile, if you need expert assistance, we can help. At Springhill Marketing, we offer award-winning SEO and Google Ads services to help you expand into other markets and explore bigger audiences. Please speak with us today and let us create a bespoke SEO plan just for you.

Drive Your Business Towards The Best Results.

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