5 Beginners Tips for International SEO

How to optimise your website internationally

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Exciting times! You are expanding your business overseas! But, how do you optimise your website so search engines know which language to use or country to target? We offer our top technical SEO advice on how to optimise your website on an international level.

Quick overview

You have three main ways to structure an internationalised website:

  • Country targeting – Identify which county you want to target, in the URL structure
  • Language targeting – Specify the language you’re targeting, using a tag
  • Ensure all you site content is written in the target user’s language.

International SEO

  1. ccTLDs

e.g. upperdog.co.uk

If you choose to use country targeting, you have a few URL structure methods at your disposal. You have probably seen a few of these yourself whilst browsing online. If you are unsure which is best for your company, contact your SEO company.

A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) has two letters at the end of the code to differentiate which country you want to target.

The is a clear and simple signal to search engines and will help you rank in local searches. But be prepared to maintain each site’s domain authority.

  1. Subdomains

e.g. uk.upperdogexample.com

You can use a similar method by add the two letters to distinguish the target country at the beginning of the URL. This is called a subdomain. Be careful though! Having separate subdomains may require separate local SEO work for each domain, as the link equity may not transfer from the root domain.

  1. Subdirectories

e.g. upperdog.co.uk/en

A commonly used method is creating a subdirectory. Here you create a distinct subdirectory or subfolder of the root domain just for your international content.

Although easier to manage than a ccTLD, the subdirectory method doesn’t send a very strong signal international SEO to search engines and you may lose out on users who browse locally.

  1. Language URL parameter and href lang tag

e.g. upperdog.co.uk/?lang=en-us

If you want to target users who speak a particular language, you can add a language URL parameter to your general top-level domain (gTLD).

If you opt for language targeting, be sure to make it clear to Google which language your content is available in using meta tags or hreflang.

  1. Separate domain

e.g. upperdoguk.com

Want to create totally different international SEO strategy for your website? You can go the whole enchilada and create a different domain. All your international content will be on a separate root domain from your current website.

Creating content in local language, including site navigation, time-zones and currency, sends a strong signal to Google that you mean business. However, if you use the local language, no matter how tempting, don’t rely on machine translations or Google translate! Although sometimes impressive, these will not translate the language in a colloquial way. You may even potentially insult your international audience!

If you want to know more about our international SEO services including local SEO, call the digital marketing agency team at Upperdog today on 01202 798 820 or drop us an email at hello@upperdog.co.uk.