To Make your Brand international? you cannot miss the development of an SEO strategy. Indeed, if you want to develop your business as well as possible in new markets, SEO opens a door to the whole world, without any borders.
The main difficulty is that in these markets there are also competitors who are already well established. Despite this fierce competition, it is not impossible to make your mark and even to surpass them!
Discover the 9 essential elements not to be overlooked to lead a successful and successful international SEO strategy.
What is international SEO? His advantages
International referencing (or international SEO) allows you to assert your presence on Google for each market you wish to enter. In a few words, this consists of acquiring top positions in the search results for your different target countries.
Even if it takes up the main principles of a classic SEO strategy (namely the development of a content strategy, the technical maintenance of your site and the implementation of a netlinking strategy), international SEO has specificities to which you must pay attention to guarantee the visibility of your brand in another country.
By internationalizing your business, you:
- multiply your development prospects;
- develop new business opportunities in new markets;
- can stand out and increase your notoriety with new customers.
- You improve your positioning on foreign SERPs and, consequently, increase your market share!
SEO & Content Marketing, the 2 essential levers to develop your business
Just like for your country of origin, to boost your notoriety, your visibility, and quickly reach your acquisition objectives, you have two ultra-powerful levers: SEO and Content Marketing.
Content is essential to increase the attractiveness of your brand’s offers and products to consumers, while SEO is essential to ensure your visibility and capture market share.
In order to boost traffic on your website and your customer acquisition, we deliver in this article 9 SEO & Content elements not to be neglected for your internationalization strategy.
To go further, we also provide you with a unique approach in our white paper. This consists of analyzing the SEO content strategy of the most successful competing sites in your sector in order to prioritize your production efforts on promising content.
How to succeed in your international SEO strategy? The 9 essential elements not to be overlooked
Choose your hosting and domain
To start on a good basis, you must first have a reflection on the technical level. In particular on the hosting and the domain name of your site. To serve your site’s resources as close as possible to your target (and therefore reduce the loading time of your pages), you must often host your site in the target country to obtain a local IP.
You have three main options:
Top Level Domain
URL structure: example.br
The Top Level Domain is relevant if your strategy differs from one country to another, you do not offer the same offers and do not share the same teams. However, a TLD site does not receive authority from other versions of the site.
URL structure: br.example.com
The subdomain is treated as a full domain. This is independent of the authority of other domains, allowing autonomous management of the site.
URL structure: example.com/br/
The subdirectory is associated with the authority of the parent domain, but is very practical if the catalog is identical on the different markets.
Define your targeting (and your URL structure)
The definition of your targeting should not be taken lightly: it is linked to the heart of your international development strategy. The URL structure you adopt must be consistent with your implementation strategy.
You have several options for defining your targeting:
Country Targeting (or geographic targeting)
Geographic targeting is relevant when you are targeting a specific territory, with a different catalog depending on your different markets. It is associated with the Top Level Domain (nomdedomaine.br, nomdedomaine.uk) and allows you to clarify your geographical targeting with Google and Internet users, and to be completely independent of the domains of your other markets.
However, this requires a larger infrastructure (1 site = 1 strategy per country), and you do not benefit from the authority of your different domains.
Language targeting is appropriate if you offer the exact same catalog in all your markets. Sub-directories (example.com/br/, example.com/uk/) are particularly suitable for this type of targeting, as they take advantage of the authority of the entire domain.
However, the geographical location of the server being unique, the physical distance between the visitor and the website may be increased, which will have a negative impact on the user experience.
In the event that your brand develops in a country with different languages (such as Canada, Switzerland or Belgium), we speak of multiregionalism. The best solution would be to opt for a subdomain (fr.nomdedomaine.ca, en.nomdedomaine.ca), so that your targeting is clear to search engines and Internet users. Unfortunately, subdomains do not enjoy the full authority of the domain.
Implement Hreflang tags
Hreflang tags, located in the <head> tag of your page, tell search engines the language and geographic area of your page. Proper use of these tags is essential to position your pages in the right language, thus limiting the bounce rate and avoiding duplicate content between your content in the same language intended for different countries.
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”https://www.example.com/english/” />
<link rel=”alternate ” hreflang=”en-us” href=”https://www.example.com/english-usa/” />
<link rel=”alternate ” hreflang=”br-br” href=”https://www.example.com/brazil/” />
<link rel=”alternate ” hreflang=”in-in” href=”https://www.example.com/india/” />
You can also set a default language with the hreflang x-default tag for users who do not have any of the specified languages set on their browsers.
Select which markets, sectors and keywords to target
You can, for example, start from the keywords on which you position yourself in your local market. However, a simple translation is sometimes not enough: you need to do extensive research to find the translation that exactly meets the search intent of consumers in your new market.
Imagine that you are a site selling advertising media: you position yourself on the keyword “seo expert USA” in your domestic market (USA). It is clear that by typing your query on a SERP USA(United State of America), “SEO” corresponds to Search Engine Optimization.
You will therefore have to conduct a semantic audit to find the most used keywords in your new market. Here, we realize that the most appropriate term would be “roller banners”.
You can also anticipate the next trending keywords! James, SEO expert at SEOMate1, gives you the keys to anticipate the next trends on search engines through the use of weak signals.
Analyze the SEO content strategy of competing sites
You must determine which are the best performing sites on this theme, and on which keywords they are positioned. By performing site, we mean: the sites publishing the most content and capturing the most SEO traffic.
You then obtain a list of keywords on which to prioritize the production and optimization of your content. By organizing the data you’ve fetched in a table format, you directly identify the potential amount of SEO traffic to fetch on each keyword based on the traffic captured by competing pages.
This is only the first step in an in-depth analysis method on the content strategies of your competitors, developed in our white paper.
Organize your content production in a semantic cocoon
Once your list of keywords is confirmed, you can start producing content. Well almost ! To optimize your production, you can group all your keywords by theme, and adopt a semantic cocoon approach.
In a few words, the semantic cocoon consists of producing several contents around the same theme, while creating a logical tree structure to facilitate the user journey to the most important pages for your business.
In our white paper, you will find a method to properly structure your content in a semantic cocoon, as well as advice from expert Christophe Vidal.
- Build a content strategy and editorial calendar tailored to the target market
As we saw earlier, when entering new markets, you must deploy SEO content strategies that meet the expectations of your different audiences. It is therefore essential to build editorial schedules adapted to each strategy for each market.
“You must segment your content strategy according to the target market: your different markets do not always have the same concerns. Audiences in targeted markets do not necessarily expect the same types of content.”
Calculate the ROI of your SEO content strategy
In a very simple way, you need to know what you are investing and what you will earn to calculate your ROI.
Adopting a ROIst and data-centric approach allows you to always have your objectives in mind, without deviating from your initial trajectory, and to justify your actions by the business contributions they bring back (and, why not, unlock even more budget and resources!).
Finally, the ROI calculation gives you proof of the profitability of your content strategy. In the white paper, we provide you with a method to quantify the value of your SEO traffic: it is a question of evaluating what would be the price to acquire the same traffic via paid search thanks to the cost per click of the keyword. So you get the savings. Download our template for calculating the ROI of your content strategy, available in our white paper.
Know what resources to request, skills to develop and tools to use
Each international project is different: it all depends on your objectives, your size, but also your resources. Do you have the right tools? The right skills?
Some companies are able to manage everything internally and from their local country, by equipping themselves with solutions, by expanding their teams and may already have international SEO specialists in their ranks. Other companies need to use an agency or external service providers to benefit from their services and expertise.
The 5 points to remember
To carry out your internationalization project as well as possible, you must:
- Define a clear and precise targeting strategy (language targeting, country targeting, etc.),
- Prepare your site from a technical point of view (hosting, domain, etc.),
- Study your competitors with a magnifying glass (which keywords, which types of content, etc.),
- Build an editorial strategy according to SEOMate1 each market,
- Succeed in projecting SEO gains, measuring investments and ROI.
As you will have understood, many companies place SEO internationalization at the heart of their international expansion strategy. To do this, you must develop a perfectly structured SEO content strategy, in order to guarantee your profitability in your new markets and the success of your establishment. Discover our white paper to prepare or consolidate your conquest of new international markets!