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International Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — when used correctly, it can boost you to the top of the web, increasing your global marketing presence. But how does it work, exactly? And how can you be sure you’re implementing it correctly?

We’re providing you with our definitive, comprehensive guide to successfully implementing international SEO. This is our best advice, all in one place. Read on!

International SEO 101 – Research your Keywords

When it comes to international SEO, native languages are key; visitors will spend more time on a website if it’s in their native language (twice as much time, to be exact). That means your SEO keywords need to not only be translated, but translated well. A direct translation doesn’t always account for cultural specifics and regionally varying dialects. Culture is fluid and mobile, and so are keywords. Conducting regular keyword research is crucial to staying up-to-date with evolving markets. 

Take time to consult a subject matter expert or an experienced linguist who understands your target location are qualifying research approaches, Native speakers and in-country linguists will provide you with the nuances necessary to appeal to your target audience.

Reflect User Behaviors 

Comprehensive “research” isn’t limited to researching keywords. You want to understand how your users operate and what they respect. What search engines do they use? What websites do they link to in their own work? 

For example: if you’re looking to enter Asian markets with your content, you can’t just assume Google is the go-to. There are other search engines, which you’ll need to acknowledge and understand if you want to appeal to your audience.

Stay on top of your multilingual SEO strategy by making sure your research and your technical strategies are up-to-date. 

Create Engaging Content

Search engine algorithms seek out quality. But what does “quality” mean, in the context of content? Well, that varies from search engine to search engine, and between countries. Spend time understanding the specifics of your target countries, and make sure your content is aligned. Generally, producing “quality content” means producing original, relevant, frequent content that sparks meaningful interactions with your users. 

SEO Media Too

Video is becoming more and more popular among users around the world — it’s quick, visually stimulating, and — when done well — can be memorable. People are more likely to click on websites if they contain video content, and search engines fish through videos that have attached scripts. If your content has video components, take the time to pair your multilingual videos with multilingual SEO. This will help boost visibility.

Beyond Translation: Advanced SEO

So, you’ve spent time choosing contextually, culturally, and regionally appropriate keywords. They’re specific and targeted. Congratulations! That’s the foundation for strong international SEO. But if you really want to take your SEO game to the next level, you can make a number of technical tweaks to complement your SEO keywords. Here are five things you should consider:

1. Site maps and hreflang 

Let Google and other search engines know which languages your site targets by using the hreflang attribute in your XML sitemap. You can specify both the target language and the target country in the code. This makes it even easier for search engines to help users find your localized website in their language.

2. Inbound links in target countries

Ever wonder how search engines decide to rank websites? They consider a number of characteristics, including how many other websites link to it and the text within those links. But getting a lot of inbound links isn’t enough — they have to come from quality sites in the same language, ideally in the same country as your localized site. Global marketing is like domestic campaigning, in that you should spend time and money building quality backlinks or incoming links. This will help you make an impact on your international traffic, search engine ranking, and conversions.

3. In-country local servers

Does having your site hosted locally influence SEO? There’s some debate. According to Google, as long as you use the right ccTLDs, hreflang attributes, and geo-targeting with Webmaster Tools, it doesn’t matter where your site is hosted. However, it’s important to remember that Google isn’t necessarily the search engine of choice in your target country. Research which engine is most common for local users, and then decide if that search engine cares about local hosting. 

4. ccTLDs

The ccTLD (country code top-level domain) usually indicates the target country for your website. For example, search engines immediately know that a domain that ends with “.in” is targeted to users in India. Many SEO experts argue that Google and other search engines like Naver, Yandex, or Baidu favor ccTLD for searches in countries outside of the US.

5. Canonical

If you have multiple sites with a lot of duplicate content because they are in the same language (for example, .com,, and .au might share common text), Google says to use the rel=“canonical” link element, to avoid being penalized for duplicate content.

If you’re ready to build your own multilingual SEO strategy, Chillistore is ready to help! We provide keyword research and localization, website localization, cultural adaptation and a range of other global marketing services. Find out more about our multilingual SEO and cultural adaptation services, or contact us to request a consultation.

Time to spice up those strategies!

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