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Harness the global reach of Google through SEO that’s easy to index and ranks higher worldwide. Grow your global reputation and make your mark on the world with Bubbli.

A Guide to Mastering International SEO

If your business isn’t limited by borders, regions, or countries, then you’re most likely something of a globe-trotting company that sells your products or services internationally. While that wider reach offers some incredible opportunities, it’s safe to say that you’ll want your website to be clear, helpful, and conversion-focused across each and every one of your target markets.

That’s where international SEO comes into play.

Unfortunately, international SEO can be seen as a rather complicated beast. One that most businesses would rather avoid entirely. But with a few tips, a lot of work (worldwide domination takes some time!), and some insights from an experienced international SEO agency, you’ll soon be creating content that caters to your target regions and creates a cohesive and universally accepted SEO plan.

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What Is International SEO?

International SEO is essentially a way of optimising your content and web pages that helps search engines to better understand the countries you’re looking to market towards, and the languages you’ll be using to do it.

In other words, you’re making people in different countries who speak different languages aware of your products and services.

Why Is International SEO Important

International SEO services multiple cultures, languages and countries under one Google-friendly umbrella. It may sound daunting, but when you consider some smaller-scale comparisons, it’s not so different in some ways.

Let’s use local SEO as a quick example. You’re targeting regions and areas and trying to appeal to those specific places. International SEO marketing is attempting to do the same thing but in several different places across the globe.

And if you’re still asking yourself why is international SEO important? Then consider how frustrating it is when Belgian people are called French, or when Canadians are somehow seen as Americans.

The point? People like to be seen as individuals rather than an afterthought to a marketing campaign that’s clearly aimed at English speakers.

The Benefits of International SEO

The benefits of international SEO come from the ability to be seen on search engines in other countries from your native one. The power of being more visible within your target countries as opposed to being difficult to find online cannot be underestimated. 

And what does that greater visibility lead to? Let’s look at some of the ways international SEO services you and the countries you’re looking to make your name in.

Benefits of international SEO:

  • Increased product and service visibility worldwide
  • Global brand recognition and increased worldwide reputation
  • A greater understanding of what content works within different countries
  • Deeper relationships with customers to develop global brand loyalty
  • Helping Google to understand your business better for higher ranking opportunities

As you can see, the benefits of international SEO marketing campaigns are in the ability to harness the global reach of Google, while providing personalised content to customers across the world.

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Our International SEO Tips

If you’re serious about not only reaching international customers but developing long-lasting relationships with them, you’re going to need to do a little housekeeping before you can sell your services internationally.

Search engines need to be guided clearly in the direction you want to go here. In other words, we need to make Google aware of the different countries that you’re looking to rank for.

And no, this doesn’t just mean writing content in different languages and putting your feet up. For an international SEO strategy to work, you’ll need to make your website easy for search engines to crawl and explore.

Why, because it needs to know where to place and index you for each territory. In other words, international SEO is all about making it easier for Google to put you in a specific place so that your future customers can find you.

Let’s look into getting those foundations ready to take on the world with our international SEO tips.

Structure Your Website for International SEO

When choosing a domain to make your mark on a country and rank highly for your keywords, there are a few things to consider. First of all, if you’re wondering, yes, you absolutely need to have a site for each and every country.

This isn’t just for better international SEO marketing, it’s for a better customer experience. Of course, having multiple web pages may not be feasible if you’re just testing the international SEO waters for the time being.

However, you’ll still need to have specific sites dedicated to the languages of each country you’re eager to gain conversions with.

Your main domain options will generally fall under three different categories:

1. ccTLD

A ccTLD is a two letter signifier to Google and people online that indicates the country, state, or territory a website should occupy.

ccTLD examples

www.example.co.uk (the ccTLD here is .uk for the United Kingdom)

www.example.ca (the ccTLD here is .ca for Canada)
ccTLD Pros and Cons

Pros: Very clear signifier for search engines to understand your webpage and the best method of ranking locally.

Cons: Costly to maintain and domain authority is separate for each website.

2. Subdomain

A subdomain places your content on a separate domain (known as a third-level domain) They tend to be linked to the highest level domain (or ‘root domain). Your subdomain name can be pretty much anything, but let’s keep it simple for readers!

Subdomain examples 

Products.examples.com (the subdomain here is products)

Store.thingstobuy.com (the subdomain here is store)

Subdomain Pros and Cons 

Pros: Subdomains are much easier to manage than ccTLD domains. 
Cons: You don’t get the same authority that you’d get with a ccTLD, and it doesn’t have the locality appeal that most customers like in choosing a business.

3. Subdirectories

Subdirectories are content and pages that are placed in a specific place of your root domain. In other words, content that’s put into the main domain’s sub-folder.

Subdirectory examples 

www.example.com (your main domain)

www.example.com/help (this is your subdirectory)

Subdirectory Pros and Cons 

Pros: Subdirectories strengthens and keeps your domain authority grouped in one place.

Cons: The search engine reach isn’t as powerful in comparison to ccTLD domains.

Whatever domain you choose, stay consistent. Consistency is the key to getting Google to crawl your web pages and begin your international SEO journey.

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How is your mastering in International SEO so far? Get in touch to dominate learn how to dominate hreflang, the simplest method to let Google know that when it crawls your webpage that there are other languages available for that content.

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What the hreflang is going on here?

Hreflang tags help Google to understand what languages your webpage offers to readers. This is an essential part of your international SEO marketing plan as it lets Google know what it can offer to users in different languages.

Here’s an example of a hreflang tag. If you were to Google Netflix, you’d be given www.netflix.com. However, if you were to do the same thing from Spain, the version of the URL you’d see would be www.netflix.com/es/.

The hreflang has been set up to tell Google what version of the site it needs to show for Spanish readers.

To ensure this is the case across all languages you want to rank for, you need to implement hreflang tags across your web pages.

Does it sound difficult? Don’t worry. There are tools to help you generate these tags and prepare for international reach online.

Avoid ‘One Size Fits All’ Content

Any international SEO agency should tell you this – there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to content. If the preparations for your international SEO strategy above sound tricky, imagine how frustrating it would be to implement these best practices only to give the world bland, copy-and-paste content.

Your brand deserves better, your customers deserve better, and quite frankly, Google won’t give it the time of day.

The biggest mistake businesses make here is overlooking the cultural, social, and language barriers that prevent customers from clicking that buy button. And if someone on the other side of the world visits your website only to find a badly translated version of the homepage of your native language, they’ll feel like an afterthought.

Consider these simple things that you may take for granted as universally understood

  • Colour
  • Humour
  • Layout 
  • Design 
  • Images 

Make sure that when someone clicks on your webpage, it feels as if you are speaking to them directly, instead of a half-hearted translation that isn’t catered to their specific needs.

If it was the other way around, would you choose to give that company your business?

Link-Building Internationally

Want to get your brand ranking on international search engines? Then get link-building! If your website has multiple web pages and subdomains, then link-building is a vital part of your international SEO marketing.

Not only will link-building help to establish domain authority for your business, but it also drives traffic to your website from within the areas you’re targeting.

This helps to give better brand visibility, solidifies your business within that specific country, and gives Google more reasons to nudge you up those rankings.


Top Tip

Monitoring your competitors will give you a deeper understanding of the kind of content that works in that country, and help you to be vigilant when making culturally sensitive content.

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The International SEO Checklist

Before you rush off to take on the world, be sure to tick off the following requirements for a good foundation to enable your plans to come to life.

  • Is your website capable of taking on international business?
  • Is your website structure able to give a good service worldwide?
  • Have you established the best domain to make your plans happen?
  • Do you have hreflang tags for every location you’re targeting?
  • Has your content been expertly translated? (this doesn’t mean Google translating it!)
  • Is your content culturally, linguistically, and aesthetically on point for your target audience?
  • Have you included relevant links from authority sites or local web pages to help Google?

Ready to Move Forward?

If you can answer yes to all of our international SEO checklist points, you’re ready to move forward! And before you make your next move, just remember that like your content, every one of your strategies will need to be different to appeal to the areas you’re targeting.

Gaining the world’s attention takes time, effort, and consideration for what makes us all different. Doing this will bring your business together globally as an established brand that serves a purpose around the world.

How Bubbli Digital Can Help with Your International SEO

At Bubbli Digital, staying one step ahead of online shifts and developing pitch-perfect content across the world is second nature to us.

Our integrated multichannel marketing approach harnesses expert international SEO strategies through content that makes your brand pop!

By developing strong narratives with your SEO needs in mind, your business will stand out through well-optimised content that serves a purpose.

There are those who claim that human-led content and Google-friendly strategies can’t co-exist. We take great pride in proving those people wrong on a daily basis.

SEO Content with the Human Touch

There’s nothing more powerful than well-written content that works alongside SEO strategies to humanise your brand. Not only are you getting Google to understand you’re a high-ranker, but you’re also developing long-term relationships with customers.

By creating content that pleases search engines and appeals to human emotions, your business can not only reach new heights but new depths, too. We ensure that your content is emotive, consistent, and on-brand for your business.

Don’t be the business that almost got there. Be the business that’s everywhere.

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