International SEO

International SEO is a strategic process that allows businesses to reach global audiences, drive sales, and expand their presence in multiple countries and languages.

International SEO

What is International SEO?

International SEO (Search Engine Optimization), also known as Global SEO, is the strategic process of optimizing a website to ensure search engines can clearly identify the targeted countries and languages for each of its pages. This is achieved through various techniques such as the use of hreflang tags, localizing content, and designing an SEO-friendly URL structure. This form of SEO is essential for businesses that operate across different countries or offer services in different languages, as it allows them to effectively reach and communicate with their diverse customer base, thereby facilitating global business development.

How does International SEO grow business?

International SEO grows business by allowing companies to reach global audiences in their native languages. This strategic approach is efficient for both assessing potential markets and driving sales. When planning for international expansion, businesses often begin by translating their web pages to the local language of their target market. To enhance credibility and appeal to the local audience, they invest in localized search engine optimization. Understanding the potency of International SEO allows businesses to penetrate new markets with targeted marketing initiatives before setting up local sales structures. This strategy is typically more cost-effective as it enables the company to gauge the potential demand in the market prior to making a substantial investment in local infrastructure.

International SEO benefits for business include:

  1. Expanded Market Reach targets audiences in different countries and regions. This helps to create new customer bases, increasing the company’s overall market share.

  2. Increased Brand Awareness by enhancing a company’s visibility on global search engine result pages (SERPs), thereby increasing brand awareness and reputation in international markets.

  3. Localized User Experience provides a more personalized user experience to different audiences. This leads to improved user engagement and potential customer conversions.

  4. Competitive Advantage by appearing in SERPs in multiple languages and countries. This multiplies the opportunities for the brand to be discovered by potential customers.

  5. Data-driven market insights into market trends, consumer behavior, and potential opportunities in different regions.

  6. Improved Conversion Rates by localized content users are more likely to engage with. Localized SEO content resonates with audience culture, language, and local trends.

International SEO generates sales by capturing and nurturing leads from targeted countries. Leveraging the preference of search engines for local content, International SEO involves the creation of localized content and promotional strategies that are tailored to resonate with specific audiences. This approach ensures that businesses reach potential customers in their own language and cultural context, making the marketing efforts more effective. As a result, it leads to improved conversion rates and an increase in sales.

How to do International SEO?

To execute International SEO, businesses must optimize their website to ensure it is accessible and appealing to global audiences across multiple countries and languages. The process involves implementing techniques like hreflang tags, localizing content, and creating an SEO-friendly URL structure. This form of SEO grows businesses by effectively reaching diverse customer bases, facilitating the penetration of new markets before substantial investment in local infrastructure.

An International SEO strategy extends beyond mere translation and employs various tactics like content localization, international link building, and the optimization of other communication channels. The cornerstone of an effective strategy is high-quality, localized content that aligns with the search preferences of the target market. Additionally, an International SEO link strategy focuses on acquiring high-quality backlinks from websites that are popular and relevant in target countries or regions. This is crucial for boosting a website’s local search engine rankings.

What is an International SEO Strategy?

An international SEO strategy is a sophisticated approach to digital marketing that targets audiences from various countries and languages through search engines. The SEO strategy for international markets extends beyond mere translation and the use of hreflang tags. It involves the localization of content hubs to cater to the preferences of a specific audience and align with the results page (SERP) dynamics of a given region. Additionally, the International SEO strategy isn’t just limited to websites; it also includes international link building and the localization of social media and other communication channels to ensure a comprehensive and consistent local presence.

How to conduct keyword research for different countries?

To conduct keyword research for different countries, it’s essential to use tools like Google Search Console and consider language targeting as key elements in the process. Google Search Console offers geo-targeting features that allow businesses to specify which countries they wish to target. By reviewing the performance report in Google Search Console, one can identify the keywords that are performing well in specific countries. It’s also possible to filter performance data by country to understand better how particular keywords are performing in those locations.

Language targeting is another crucial aspect. Keywords popular in one language may not necessarily hold the same level of popularity in another. To account for this, businesses can use multilingual keyword research tools to identify high-performing keywords in the target language. Localized content should be created around these keywords to make it appealing and understandable to the target audience. It’s advisable to collaborate with native speakers for translation and content creation to ensure cultural and linguistic accuracy. By combining insights from Google Search Console with effective language targeting, businesses can develop a robust keyword strategy that caters to audiences in different countries.

Intenational SEO link strategy

What is an International SEO link strategy?

An International SEO link strategy refers to the process of acquiring inbound links (backlinks) from websites that are relevant and popular in the target countries or regions. These links can help improve the visibility and authority of your international web pages in the eyes of search engines. The quality of links is more important than quantity in SEO. Search engines value links that come from relevant, trustworthy sites. Therefore, it’s better to have a few high-quality links from respected local sites than many low-quality links from irrelevant or spammy sites. The basis of Google’s SEO algorithm is domain trust. The determining factor for domain trust is backlinks from well-known, large services, such as Google, Apple, Wikipedia, or government websites. Usually, socially well-known websites provide a link to another site, only when it is trusted. Link building is an effort to get as many inbound links as possible from well-known domains with the highest possible authority. 

What are SEO backlinks?

SEO backlinks are inbound links that come from websites in the countries or regions where you want to expand your online presence. They are crucial for international SEO as they can significantly boost your website’s visibility and rankings in local search results. Search engines prioritize links from high-authority, reputable sites that are relevant to your website’s content. Acquiring backlinks should therefore be a careful, strategic process, and not a matter of collecting as many links as possible.

What is a Semantic Content Hub?

SEO Semantic Content Hub is a centralized location for content on a website that has been optimized for international search visibility. This is achieved through the use of semantic SEO techniques, which involve structuring content in a way that allows search engines to understand its context more clearly. In terms of international SEO, this would mean not only translating the content into different languages but also adapting it to the cultural and linguistic nuances of each target market. This approach helps to ensure that the content is relevant and appealing to different international audiences and that it is more likely to rank highly in local search results. Furthermore, a semantic content hub is often structured in a way that interlinks related content, creating a network of pages that search engines can crawl and index more effectively. This helps to boost the overall SEO performance of the website. 

What is SEO Semantics?

SEO Semantics refers to the use of semantic techniques in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve a website’s visibility in search pages (SERPs). It involves understanding and implementing strategies that consider how search engines interpret the context and meaning of words on a webpage, not just the keywords themselves. This helps to ensure that the content is highly relevant to the user’s search intent. Semantic Search is based on AI artificial intelligence algorithms that recognize the meaning of search phrases and their intentions. This also means that semantic search must do the same on the content side. Examples of search intentions are purchase (when the user wants to buy something) or educational intentions (when the intention is to gain knowledge). The semantic search algorithm suggests content to the user that the AI thinks will be helpful to the user. In this context, a semantic content hub is a network of holistically linked content. The visualization of the semantic content hub is a network of nodes, where the distances between nodes are the so-called vectors, i.e. the degree of thematic linking. The node networks generated by artificial intelligence are best illustrated by a video created by Google developers:

How does Google rank international websites?

Google ranks international websites based on several key factors:

  1. Language and Localization: Google’s algorithms prioritize content that is not only translated but also localized for the target market. Localization refers to the process of adapting content to fit the cultural norms and expectations of a specific geographic audience.

  2. Hreflang Tags: language parameters are used to tell Google about the language and geographical targeting of a webpage. Language tags help Google serve the correct version of the page to users based on their location and language preference.

  3. Server Location and Speed: While not as significant as in the past, server location can still play a role in website speed, which is an important factor in Google’s ranking algorithms. Therefore, serving your content from a server close to your target audience can improve load times and potentially boost your rankings.

  4. Local Backlinks: Backlinks from websites in the target country can provide strong ranking signals to Google about the relevance of your content for that geographic market.

  5. Country-Specific Domain or Subdomain: Using a country-specific domain (ccTLD) or a country/language specific subdomain or subdirectory can send strong signals to Google about the intended geographic market for your website.

  6. Content Quality and Relevance: Regardless of language or location, the quality and relevance of the content is always a key ranking factor. Your content should be created with the user’s intent in mind and provide value to your target audience.

  7. Mobile Friendliness: Google uses mobile-first indexing, so it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly for all language versions.

Does Google correlate the SEO of language versions?

Google does not directly correlate the SEO of one language version of a website to another. Each version is indexed and ranked independently based on its own content and SEO signals. Nevertheless, a well-optimized website in one language can indirectly impact the overall visibility and authority of the website as a whole, potentially benefiting other language versions. It’s recommended to ensure that all language versions of the website are fully optimized for their respective audiences to get the best results. The graph on the right shows an increase in International SEO for the original language version when the only change that was made was SEO optimization for the English version. 

International SEO ranks

What is SEO Lead Generation?

SEO Lead Generation indeed involves optimizing a website for different international audiences to attract and convert them into potential customers. The process is a long-term investment and requires continuous monitoring and optimization to ensure its success. Tools such as Salesforce CRM can help track the profitability of the project and help measure the return on investment. The profitability and success of an SEO Lead Generation project can depend on several factors including the competitive landscape, international market demand, and the effectiveness of the localized content and international SEO strategies employed. Furthermore, while the primary aim is to generate SEO leads, the end goal should always be to convert these leads into customers, requiring an effective international sales and customer relationship strategy.

International SEO or Google Ads?

International SEO or Google Ads: the choice should be guided by a thorough understanding of the business’s unique needs, budget, and strategic timeline: 

  • Google Ads is an excellent choice for businesses seeking immediate visibility—such as startups launching new products or services—with the necessary budget to sustain a pay-per-click campaign. The advantage here lies in the speed and immediacy of results.
  • International SEO efforts are more suited for businesses with tighter budgets that can afford to take a longer-term approach to increasing visibility and driving sales. Although the initial SEO efforts may take several months to start showing significant results, the investment can yield sustainable traffic and lead generation over time.
  • Most importantly, the combination of both SEO and Google Ads (SEM) is often the most robust strategy. This balanced approach provides both immediate results from paid advertising and long-term organic growth from SEO efforts. This combination strategy allows businesses to enjoy the best of both worlds: quick visibility and sustainable growth.
International SEO Lead Generation

International and Local SEO

The key difference between Local and International SEO is the scope of their country targeting focus. Local SEO is tailored to optimize a website for a specific locality, such as a city or region within a particular country, and is essential for businesses with physical locations or those serving a particular area. International SEO aims to optimize a website for different countries and languages, involving techniques like hreflang tags and localized content, which identify the country targeting.

National SEO falls in between Local and International SEO and aims to rank a website across an entire country. This is especially useful for online businesses, e-commerce platforms, and service providers operating on a national scale. Unlike Local SEO, which concentrates on location-specific keywords, National SEO focuses on broad, high-competition keywords that lack a geographical component. While International SEO employs strategies to cater to different countries or languages, National SEO focuses on capturing a broad audience within a single country, requiring a unique set of strategies and tactics like country-specific domains, extensive keyword research, and competitive analysis.

Case Study

Case Study: 550% more traffic and 400% more leads in 12 months. Use of International SEO strategy and Google Ads for Lead Generation in the US and UK. In this project, the domain has a long history due to the company’s established position in the high-tech market. However, the initial state featured low traffic (around 2.5k per month) and a low number of leads (around 60 per month). The 550% growth of traffic was achieved by SEO Avalanche Strategy and Semantic Content Hub.  The positioning was supported with paid Google Ads in the United States and the United Kingdom (budgets around $500 per month).


Results: the chart on the right shows a 12-month period of international SEO for an international high-tech company. This case study is a growth hacking SEO example of mixing Google SEO and SEM techniques, that is, optimizing a website for foreign search engines and boosting leads with Google Ads. In this case, the target market is the United States and the United Kingdom. 

international seo case study

International SEO: Key Takeaways

  1. International SEO involves optimizing websites for specific countries and languages through techniques like hreflang tags and localized content.
  2. SEO Strategy extends beyond translation and includes content localization, international link building, and social media localization.
  3. Backlinks from relevant, reputable sites boost website visibility and rankings in local search results.
  4. Semantic Content Hub optimizes content for search visibility by considering cultural and linguistic nuances.
  5. SEO Semantics uses semantic techniques to improve website visibility based on search engine interpretation of content context.
  6. Google ranks international websites based on language, localization, server location, local backlinks, and content quality.
  7. Google does not directly correlate the SEO of different language versions, but optimized versions can indirectly benefit each other.
  8. SEO Lead Generation involves optimizing websites for international audiences to attract and convert potential customers.
  9. The choice between SEO and Google Ads depends on the business’s budget, timeline, and need for immediate visibility.