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How to implement international SEO: Guidelines

Thanks to the online world many companies are deciding to sell their products and services overseas. However, to ensure that your company is visible on the global market, it is essential to implement an international SEO strategy tailored to the new country or countries that interest you.

More and more businesses are finding new opportunities for growth in countries abroad and diversifying their market to increase their turnover. Although most UK companies, especially SMEs, have decided to remain anchored to the local market, the number of companies choosing to export is rising in all sectors.

To "test" a new market(s) before investing considerable economic resources, many companies rely on digital tools to evaluate the genuine potential of their business abroad; thus, studying the prospects, competition, needs and tastes of overseas customers. These analyses help the company devise a successful SEO strategy for its online presence abroad. This is the first fundamental step in entering the global market: becoming present, visible, and easily found on search engines ahead of your competitors.

Let us look at how to implement international SEO to reach potential new customers abroad.

1- Identify the most attractive countries for your business

Before talking about SEO strategy, your company needs to analyse which market(s) it will expand into in detail. At this point, it is useful to decide which global markets to target and which ones have already expressed interest in your products and services. Through analysis tools like Google Analytics, it is possible to monitor where visitors to your website come from. In this way, you can identify areas overseas where you may not currently advertise your company but where there are a lot of searches for your products and services.

2- Online presence thanks to search engines and your website

Once you have chosen which country to target overseas, you must adapt your website to this country. On a technical level, you need to decide which type of domain to use, whether to have a specific address only for that country or use the existing UK domain and give it a foreign meaning. For domain choice and everything related to technical SEO, it really is essential to rely on professionals.

You must also remember to monitor the various search engines used in the countries that interest you: in China, for example, Baidu is used much more than Google; in Russia, Yandex is popular, and in the USA, Bing is widely used.   Furthermore, the browser algorithms differ and can change quickly, so it is important to keep up with the updates of these search engines.

3- Analysis of the competition

For successful selling overseas, it is essential to stand out from other companies and highlight the advantages of your company compared to competitors. It is advantageous to study the competitors, what they are offering, and their overseas market penetration. This is the only way to get an idea of competing markets for that country and help you understand the best ways of highlighting and making your company stand out.

4- Defining and researching potential target customers overseas

In an international SEO project for the global market, the study of the clients and customers is of paramount importance. In this phase, the company needs to study the public's demographic, cultural and linguistic characteristics and look for a segment which to address its offer.  Just bear in mind that research habits and intentions overseas may be totally different from those in the market at home.

At the same time, it is necessary to find out which keywords potential overseas customers are using to search for you or for products and services like yours: analysis of keywords and their seasonality is essential in understanding the searches in the chosen segment.

Thanks to these two analyses, geo-localised keywords will be found, which will help companies appear at the top of the first page of any search engine.

5- Multilingual SEO: how to communicate effectively in different countries

When we talk about international SEO for countries abroad, this also includes multilingual SEO, which means optimising communication through the language used on your company website and social networks.

Once you understand the target market, you will also know which language and terminologies are best suited for communicating with this market. It may well be that the same language is used in two countries, but with linguistic differences. Below is an example; assuming we are an automotive company that wants to enter both France and Québec:

UK → car, drive

France → voiture, conduire

Québec → char, chauffer

In this case, verbatim translation of the site is not enough; you may have to localise the site content to suit the country where you want to start selling.

Mintense is a Multilingual SEM agency that, in 12 years, thanks to its experience and presence in several countries, has helped many companies to sell abroad. Contact us to find out how we can support you in your business development abroad.

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