Today, SEO is more challenging than ever. And the latest technological advancement and algorithm updates are making SEO initiatives even more complex. One needs to ensure that they are meeting regulatory requirements across the globe while developing SEO strategies that meet both business objectives and meet the demands of your customers. Different countries have different SEO best practices. If you are looking at targeting customers across the globe, then you need to inculcate best practices that are popular around the world. So, let’s take a look at international SEO best practices that you should be incorporating.
Address the conundrum of multiple languages in your site
Any business for that matter, have this dilemma, whether to have their website showcase one language, which is English by default or the official language of the country they operate in. But top performing MNCs across the globe use “Hreflang” tags to address the site’s ability to cater to the local market by using different languages. Translating your site content is the best way to reach a wider audience, and ‘hreflang’ tags will ensure the correct information is displayed to your audience.
Prioritize your redirects
Your company may procrastinate about redirects, but they are the ones that quickly dissipate your traffic and search rankings. For instance, when you are redirecting your users from an old page to a new one, it is very important to get it right the first time. Failure to do so will result in 404 errors, and this will result in distrust among search engines and could lead to massive drop in traffic to the site. Hence, it is better to stick with 301 redirects and slow meta refreshes. It is of paramount importance to conduct regular audits to ensure there are no wrong redirects on your site.
Get more business by having localized content
In today’s complex business landscape, it is imperative that your website has local business contact information on the site. For example, you are offering your services in the US and if you do not have local contact information, then there will be some serious trust issues from your users. According to international SEO best practices, you need to have at least a P.O. Box number and a virtual phone number on your site, which will tell search engines that your site is relevant and useful to the local audience. Not only the contact address, but also local currency, local phone numbers, and more will also help influencing Google to your site.
Make better use of XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps can be the difference between your site’s performances from good to a great one. Especially in the age of content syndication, a truly well-maintained XML sitemap can be a key differentiator, and it equally establishes your site as the original source of your content. Hence, ensure each site uses XML sitemaps and register them in search engines. If there are subfolders for different countries and languages, create a different sitemap for the same and register in Google Webmaster Tools as a different website and designate a different geographic location for each of those subfolders.
Create a robust off-site SEO activity as well
Gone are the days when websites only performed on page SEO activities, but today, there is a lot of emphasis on off-page SEO activities in the form of community building on social media sites, blogging, participating in forums, directory submission, social bookmarking, and many more. These are some of the places where industry leaders and influencers ply their trade and the greatest of authority will come from activities performed off-site. Key thing to remember here is to not over do it and spam, it results in penalizing your site. Only genuine off-site activities will yield the result that you intended for.
Incorporate geo-specific schema tags
The next best thing to HTML tags is the Schema tags. These schema tags provides a collection of tags that SEO specialists can use to mark up particular content elements with structured data that search engines can recognize them and better understand the content and its intent. These schema tags can be further enhanced and ensure it reaches the intended recipients which increases the click-through rates. These schema tags improve the overall user experience and help to attract their attention to your content more than ever.
Keywords to be customized as per the local language
In today’s time, just as with links, keywords are very crucial to build a robust SEO strategy for your website. If you want your website to be more popular in different parts of the world, then it is critical to do some research on local language and their keywords. It is good to start your keyword research that country’s version of Google and check their search strings. The suggestions will be as real as what the local population is looking for. Even better you can use an international keyword research tool to help you out in this matter.
Differentiate content for multiple regions targeting the same language
Google does not penalize multiple pages with regards to duplicate content that is being targeted for the same language in different regions. But, it makes sense to differentiate the content as much as possible. Also, your translated pages will not pose the risk of duplication, so go ahead and translate your site in local language to improve conversion rates on your site.
It is better to consolidate different domains into a single URL
Many penalized websites have tried to come out of their shadow to be in Google’s good graces. But, just by improving content, making the website more friendly and cleaning up link profiles is not good enough to get out from the penalty. In few instances, it needs merging of domains to get into the good books of Google and regain higher search rankings. By merging two decent sites, it creates a single high concentrated powerful website. This is a good place to start by incorporating different domains under single URL.
It takes a lot of patience and skill set to succeed in your SEO strategy that addresses international best practices. International SEO requires knowledge of the local market, cultures, and countries, and by which you should be able to bridge the gap between them. Some of the key elements like ‘hreflang’ tags are critical to global SEO practices, but any given day link building and keyword research is the foundation of your SEO strategy. With localized content and other key elements, you can incorporate global SEO practices for your website that has a wide audience across the globe. Do let us know in the comment section, to add more to this list of international SEO best practices.