Search engine optimization has been with us since the first search was completed on Archie back in 1990. What started with just backlinks as the primary indicator of a good website has ultimately evolved into semantic understanding, with more than 100 factors influencing how websites rank in search engines.
Most companies choose to only optimize their websites for the country that they operate in, focusing on one market only. But for your company to expand, optimizing for international search is of paramount importance, allowing you to reach a wider audience and generate both traffic and revenue.
Outlined below are the best practices for optimizing your website for international search.
1. Add Keywords in Other Languages
Adding keywords in other languages to your website constitutes a great way to bolster your search engine ranking. People living in different, non-English countries will often search for information in their native language – and if your website is optimized for keywords in their language, then it will show up in search engines. Even if they do not speak English very well, they may still be able to browse through your website and look for information. For people who do not speak English at all, there are plenty of translation tools such as Google Translate that can help them get a better understanding of your products and services.
2. Create Country-Specific Domains
Domain extension plays an important role in optimizing your website for international search. Most countries have their own domain extension – for example, most German websites end in “.de,” whilst French websites end in “.fr.” One of the best SEO strategies that digital marketing services UK implement for international search is creating landing pages with different domains for different countries. From there, search engines in-country will automatically select the website that is more relevant to their market – for example, www.website.fr would rank higher in France than www.website.com or www.website.org.
3. Partially Translate Your Content
Although desirable, translating your entire website in a different language is not necessary since English is so widely read and spoken. However, you should consider partially translating the content on your website to make it more relevant for international search, and it’s a good idea to start with the posts or pages that are most commonly visited by users. Many companies choose to translate only sections of their websites, with disclaimers stating that only some of the content could be translated.
4. International Social Media
While Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus may be popular worldwide, social media is not the same for all countries. For example, LinkedIn is the most popular and commonly used professional network in the United States, but Xing is its equivalent in Germany. Setting up social media pages for each market and populating them with quality, keyword-rich content can help further optimize your website for international search, ensuring that you will be easier to find for search engines.
5. Consider On-Page SEO
On-page SEO can dramatically bolster your chances of ranking better in international search. The following guidelines show you how to properly optimize your website:
Doing keyword research can help you identify the most commonly searched phrases and optimize your website for them. Translating your English keywords alone will not be enough, especially since people use a broad range of terms to say the same thing. If you optimize your website specifically for the translated version of your English keywords, then you may actually miss the phrases that are really popular on a specific market.
Alt Attributes and Imagery
Adding alt attributes to images is another important aspect to consider when optimizing your website for international search. Make sure to include relevant keywords in all relevant languages in the alt attributes of your images for your on-page SEO strategy to be better.
After creating country-specific domains, it is important to make sure that all navigation links on those websites have the same domain extension. For example, all navigation links on your “.fr” domain should also lead to “.fr” pages. This tells Google that your pages are in French, so the entire website is highly relevant for the French market. If you are unable to translate your entire website, make switching languages easy for the user.
Optimizing your website for international search can have a huge impact on your ranking, authority and reputation. You may want to hire a company providing digital marketing services to handle the job for you, especially if you are not that knowledgeable about SEO. Once optimized on an international level, you will start seeing significant results, and your customer base may significantly expand.