How Does International SEO Work?

International SEO is a critical element for businesses targeting multiple countries. But how does it work, and how can it boost your international rankings? Today, we’ll dive into these questions, outlining key strategies and elements you need to know.

Understanding International SEO

At its simplest, international SEO involves localizing content to target a specific country or geographic area. This means translating page titles, meta descriptions, headings, body text, images, videos and other elements into the local language while retaining the original message’s meaning. As part of this process you’ll need an understanding of nuances like local dialects and cultural differences between countries.

Other key elements of international SEO involve tweaking your URL structure and optimizing website navigation for each target market. For example, many sites create separate subdomains or subdirectories for each country or language they want to target (e.g., or

Page Structure For International SEO

Internally linking your pages is important to ensure your users can easily switch between languages on the same domain – this also helps search engines index all content more efficiently. There’s also the option of using regional extensions as part of your domain name (e.g., However, if you’re targeting multiple markets simultaneously, consider using country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) like .de or .fr for easier management.

You should also configure your server settings so that search engines serve up pages based on geographical location – this means that users in France will see French version pages when they search even if they enter a query in English!

Does International SEO Boost Rankings?

Absolutely. When done correctly, International SEO helps improve rankings in foreign markets for relevant keywords and provides an improved user experience. Visitors from targeted countries appreciate localized content, such as currency conversions.

Remember, SEO isn’t just about optimizing your site; developing relationships with local media outlets and bloggers can help build awareness and trustworthiness in other countries too! Ensure you tailor your content specifically for each audience to maximize their experience on your site, regardless of their origin!

Back To The Basics

Launching an international SEO campaign essentially brings you back to the basics in a fresh context. Start by reviewing your website fundamentals and determining a suitable domain structure for your company. You have two main options:

  • ccTLD: Domains with a country specific extension, like .us
  • gTLD: General domains, like .com

Differentiating country specific pages on a gTLD can take several forms:

  • Subdomains, like
  • Subdirectories, like

Using local hosting services and registering local physical store addresses with Google can improve local rankings.

The Role of Research in SEO

Market research is the bread and butter of SEO in any location. Start by researching the local search engines and their popularity in the area. While Google is common in most places, there are countries Google has little presence. Make sure to write and manage your SEO for the right search engine.

After determining the local search engine, search for your new local competitors. Identify what keywords they’re ranking under, the most used social media for your target market, and their successful methods. At this point, it might be helpful to hire a translator or cultural advisor to assist in language targeting. A translator can help with keyword research as well, since your domestic keywords may not perform as well when simply translated.

Generating relevant local content and links can significantly enhance your page rank. Using local sources and supporting links will help search engine crawlers better index your site locally, improving your page rank. Be sure to sniff out reliable sources, though, to protect your brand’s authority.

Hreflang tags manage the links to your own pages. These are HTML codes attached to links that provide details about the page, from language to location, without requiring it to be crawled. This makes the process faster for crawlers to analyze the page.

Avoiding International Marketing Strategy Pitfalls

As you can no doubt see, small businesses can now tap into the global marketplace more easily than ever. However, diving into international marketing without sufficient knowledge can lead to costly mistakes.

Succeeding in this arena requires intensive research and due diligence. Familiarize yourself with local laws, currencies, business etiquette, and cultural norms of your target countries. Studying successful competitors in the same area is also beneficial.

Testing Your Marketing Strategy

Before launching your marketing strategy, ensure your team has a deep understanding of the target country’s business landscape. Have you conducted enough research with focus groups to confirm your product or service’s viability? Have you studied a competitor’s success in the same area?

Have you educated yourself and your team well enough on the customs and business etiquette of the international market? Have you done a thorough study of the country’s currency, and how it fluctuates with import and export timelines?

Are you or your team experts on the country’s rules and laws for governing business? Have you conducted enough research with focus groups to determine if your product or service will work on the international stage? Have you taken enough time to study a competitor’s success in the same area?

If you can answer yes to most of the above, then your company has a much better chance of winning on the international stage. The odds are in your favor that you’re using the right international marketing strategy.


Expanding your brand globally through international SEO is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. It’s like starting over in a new area, but with the foundation of your domestic business to build upon. Each new location will get easier to target, and the most challenging part may one day be simply deciding what area to expand to next!

If you’re getting ready to launch into the international marketing scene, you need the help of an expert to keep you on the right path. Contact Level343 for consulting help on your marketing campaigns. We put the pulse of the marketing world at your fingertips.

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