Are you thinking of bringing your business to other regions or countries? This international SEO checklist might help you. The digital world knows no boundaries. As businesses strive to reach global audiences, understanding the intricacies of international SEO becomes indispensable. This extensive checklist delves deep into each aspect of international SEO, providing you with a detailed checklist to dominate the global market. Download the worksheet below, or read on the go through the various steps!
1. Market Research
Before expanding your business globally, thorough market research is essential. This section will guide you through language and culture analysis, search behavior analysis, and competitive analysis to help you understand your target regions.
- Language and Culture Analysis:
- Identify all languages prevalent in your target regions.
- Understand cultural events, holidays, and traditions to tailor your content.
- Recognize local slang, idioms, and colloquialisms.
- Search Behavior Analysis:
- Study how local users phrase their queries this can be done for example with Ahrefs or Semrush
- Identify popular search engines in each country; Google isn’t dominant everywhere.
- Competitive Analysis:
- Pinpoint your direct competitors in each region. A good way to do this is looking in the local search engine who rank for the same keywords as you.
- Analyze their content strategy, backlink profile, and user engagement. Tools like Ahrefs, MOZ and Semrush can really help you with this.
2. Website Structure
Your website’s structure plays a crucial role in international SEO. Explore the intricacies of choosing domain strategies, subdomains or subdirectories, and implementing language tags effectively.
- Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs):
- Research domain availability for each target country. Our research has shown that a local TLD is more likely to rank faster than an international domain TLD like .com.
- Understand local domain regulations and restrictions.
- Subdomains or Subdirectories:
- Assess the scalability of your hosting solution.
- Consider ease of content management for each method.
- Language Tags:
- Implement HREF-lang tags correctly to guide search engines.
- Ensure to include ‘x-default’ tags for unspecified locations.
3. Content Localization
To resonate with local audiences, you need to adapt your content. Learn about professional translation, local keywords, and how to create content that aligns with the culture and interests of your target regions.
- Professional Translation:
- Collaborate with native speakers for translation. Always use a two step verification model with one translator checking the work of other translators to make sure the content has the right quality.
- Avoid jargon; stick to the essence of your content.
- Local Keywords:
- Utilize local keyword research tools. Google Trends is also a good tool to get local insights.
- Understand the intent behind local keywords. ChatGTP can help you to identify which intent is behind which keyword.
- Local Content Creation:
- Highlight local news, events, or popular topics.
- Collaborate with local influencers or bloggers. Seeders has an international database with 65.000 international bloggers.
4. On-Page SEO Elements
Optimizing your on-page SEO is vital for international success. Dive into meta tags, URL structure, internal linking, and other key elements that influence how search engines perceive your content
- Meta Tags:
- Localize SEO tags without compromising character limits.
- Use relevant local keywords without stuffing.
- URL Structure:
- Ensure readability for local users.
- Avoid using special characters that may not render correctly.
- If you are using an international top-level domain like .com make sure to start your url with the country code. Like example.com/nl/examples
- Internal Linking:
- Cross-link between different language versions to enhance UX.
- Use clear anchor texts in the native language.
- Use a table of contents to make it easier to navigate to the right paragraphs
5. Technical SEO
Ensure your website performs optimally across the globe. This section covers load speed optimization, mobile responsiveness, XML sitemaps, and other technical aspects that impact your international SEO efforts.
- Load Speed:
- Test your website’s speed from multiple international locations.
- Optimize images, scripts, and other resources.
- Mobile Optimization:
- Test your website on devices popular in target countries.
- Ensure local integrations (like maps or payment gateways) work flawlessly on mobile.
- XML Sitemap:
- Segment your sitemap by language or region.
- Regularly update the sitemap as content grows.
- Update your new sitemap in Google Search Console
6. Off-Page SEO
Building a strong online presence requires effective off-page SEO. Discover the importance of local backlinks, citations, and social media engagement tailored to each region.
- Local Backlinks:
- Engage in guest posting on local websites. Especially links from local country TLD’s are important. So if you want to go to Germany you should get links from .de websites.
- Participate in local community events or webinars.
- Use local press releases or digital PR campaigns to build local trust. And get strong backlinks from local media. Seeders is specialized in this.
- Local Citations:
- Ensure NAP (Name, Address, Phone) consistency in local listings.
- Encourage local customers to leave reviews.
- Social Media:
- Understand local social media dynamics and popular platforms.
- Engage in local online communities and groups.
7. User Experience (UX)
User experience varies across cultures. Learn how to adapt your website to accommodate local payment methods, provide exceptional customer support, and handle local currencies effectively.
- Local Payment Methods:
- Integrate payment gateways that locals trust and use.
- Understand and highlight security measures.
- Customer Support:
- Train support teams in local etiquette and communication styles.
- Offer support in local time zones.
- Local Currency:
- Implement dynamic currency conversion tools.
- Stay updated with local economic changes.
10. Legal and Cultural Considerations
Navigate the legal and cultural aspects of international SEO, including compliance with local regulations and respecting customs and beliefs.
- Understand local digital regulations, including GDPR, CCPA, etc.
- Stay updated with changes in e-commerce laws.
- Cultural Sensitivity:
- Respect local customs, beliefs, and taboos.
- Continuously educate your team about cultural nuances.
9. Google E-E-A-T
Enhance your website’s credibility with Google and local readers by establishing author profiles, using schema markup, addressing user reviews, and ensuring visibility of your address.
- Showcase your people:
- Make sure to make your team visible on your website
- Use schema markup for author profiles on all of your content.
- Local optimization:
- Make sure to have an address visible in your website footer.
- Make sure to get reviews from your clients, especially on local platforms.
8. Monitoring and Analysis
To gauge your international SEO success, monitoring and analysis are crucial. Understand how to use Google Search Console, analytics, and feedback to continually improve your strategy.
- Google Search Console:
- Monitor performance metrics for each regional profile.
- Address any manual actions or penalties promptly.
- Segment your audience by country in your analytics platform.
- Analyze behavior flow to understand regional user journeys.
- Conduct local surveys to gather user insights.
- Regularly assess and iterate based on feedback.
11. Continuous Learning and Optimization
International SEO is an evolving field. Stay updated, invest in training, and engage in ongoing optimization efforts to maintain your global success.
- Attend international SEO webinars, workshops, and conferences/
- Collaborate with international SEO communities for knowledge exchange.
- Invest in advanced training modules for your team.
- Engage in periodic reviews and upskilling sessions.
- Set market specific local Google Alerts. Like ‘pharmacy in Germany’ to remain up to date on local events.
- Invest in advanced training modules for your team.
Embracing the complexities of international SEO is crucial for global success. By following this extensive checklist and fostering an in-depth understanding of your global audience, you can ensure your digital presence resonates worldwide. The journey of international SEO is continuous, demanding both technical precision and cultural empathy. And we Seeders are always there to help you out.
Dennis Akkerman is CEO of Seeders Group. He has built up the company from one, small office in the Netherlands, to an international marketing agency with offices across the globe. Dennis specializes in link building, SEO, SEA, Digital PR & leadership.