Global SEO Guide: 23 Tips for International Marketers

Global SEO Guide: 23 Tips for International Marketers [with PDF]


If you want to appear high up in search results, you need to pay attention to global SEO (search engine optimization).

Nowadays, most people find businesses through these results. It’s fast, it works well, and it links you with customers who want what you provide.

But SEO can be very challenging. Particularly when you aim to connect with customers in various countries.

We’ve put together a few straightforward tips to help you get started. These tips come from our experience implementing such strategies and conversations with clients.

Are you an international marketing manager or entrepreneur with global ambitions?

Then follow up on  these actionable tips for global SEO. They will boost your position on search engines and help you connect with customers worldwide.


Index of Global SEO topics discussed in this article

Choosing keywords for Global SEO

Keywords are the starting point of any global SEO strategy. They’re the phrases your customers type into search engines to find products, services or businesses like yours.

So it’s not just about asking local customers; you’ll need to understand what international customers are searching for too.

Conduct simple surveys or use keyword research tools that offer insights into global search trends.

Remember, generic keywords like ‘website builder’ won’t cut it. Instead, try more specific long-tail keywords relevant to your target markets.

For example, if you’re targeting a French audience, ‘créateur de site web WordPress Paris’ would be more effective.

This specificity helps you attract quality traffic, not just high volume, and improves your rankings in the search results of potential international customers.

Localising Keywords

One of the first steps is identifying your target markets and conducting thorough keyword research to understand popular local search queries.

Work with native translators and take cultural nuances into account to provide an optimal user experience.

Actionable Steps:

  • Customer Interviews: Conduct interviews in the local language to find how people search for your services.
  • Local SEO Tools: Use keyword research tools specific to the country or language.

Strategic Keyword Placing

Keywords matter, but their placement is equally crucial, especially in a global SEO strategy. Don’t just jam your website full of keywords; put them where they’ll have the most impact.

We’re talking about URLs, titles, the first 50 words, meta descriptions, and even image tags.

But remember, don’t compromise on readability. This is particularly important when your audience spans multiple cultures and languages.

A misplaced keyword can cause confusion or even mistranslation.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a global SEO agency, take your time to get it right.

If needed, you can always go back and optimise existing content to better align with your global keyword strategy.

Actionable Steps:

  • Local Content: Create localised versions of your web pages.
  • Meta Descriptions: Write culturally sensitive and engaging meta descriptions in the local language.

Hreflang Technical Optimisation

One way to guide search engines in presenting the right version of your site to the right people is through hreflang tags.

These little snippets of code serve as signals. They guide search engines to show the right version of a page to the correct geographic or language-specific audience.

Why is this important? Imagine you have a website that offers services in both the U.S. and the UK. The language might be English in both cases, but the cultural nuances and even terminologies can differ.

If your UK audience sees content filled with American idioms or references to U.S. locations, it could be confusing and less relatable.

This is where hreflang tags come in. They help you map out these differences and guide search engines in serving the correct regional content.

But they’re also crucial for avoiding duplicate content issues. Search engines aim to display a variety of results. If your website has many pages with alike content for different regions, it might set off filters for duplicate content.

Implementing hreflang tags correctly ensures that each version of your page is unique to its intended audience.

Want to read more about how to implement hreflang tags? Visit the Ahrefs blog.

Actionable Steps:

  • Hreflang: Put in place hreflang tags and make sure they target the correct country and language combinations

User Experience: Optimize for Readability and Mobile Phones

Search engines are all about algorithms, and these keep changing. Yet, user experience remains a constant focus.

Your text must be easy to read. For global audiences take into account readability in multiple languages and on different devices.

Write in a way that’s easy to translate. Use simple sentences and avoid idioms that won’t make sense to someone in another country.

Note that simply translating text is not enough. Think about the cultural details, colors, pictures, and designs that connect well in each target country. This will help create the best user experience.

Mobile-friendliness is just as crucial. Different countries have different mobile adoption rates and popular mobile devices.

Make sure to check your website’s user-friendliness on various popular devices in your target markets.

Actionable Steps:

  • Readability: Use simple language and avoid jargon. Run the content through translation tools to see if it holds meaning in different languages.
  • Cultural Icons: Include symbols or images that resonate with multiple cultures.
  • Mobile Optimization: Test your website on various mobile devices popular in target markets, like iPhones in the U.S. or Xiaomi devices in China.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

When you type a keyword into a search engine, you often see alternative suggestions. That’s Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) at work.

LSI helps search engines understand the context of your content by looking at related terms. Now, think about this on a global scale.

LSI keywords can vary by region or language. For instance, ‘website builder’ might connect to ‘web development’ in one country and ‘site creation’ in another.

It’s a good idea to research LSI keywords that are relevant to your target international markets.

Actionable Steps:

  • Semantic Analysis: Use tools that provide LSI keywords in the target language.
  • Content Modification: Insert these LSI keywords naturally into your existing content.

The copy on your website isn’t the only thing affecting your rankings. Links to your site from other sites matter too. In the eyes of search engines, these links become valuable when people click on them and spend time on your site. But here’s the catch for global reach: all links are not created equal.

International link building is often overlooked, but it can make a big difference in your international rankings.

A link from a reputable site in your target country can be much more valuable than one from a well-known site in a market you’re not targeting.

Earning backlinks from region-specific domains signals relevance and authority for that market.

Strive to get local links pointing to your localised pages to boost rankings in each targeted country.

Actionable Steps:

  • Local Partnerships: Partner with local influencers and businesses.
  • Local Directories: Get listed in directories popular in the target market.

Create High-Quality Content

Quality content is king, and that’s what gets shared. But remember, what works in one country may not in another.

Research your target market and audience to know which channels are popular. For example, YouTube is popular in many countries, but in China, you’d probably focus on platforms like Bilibili or Douyin.

And it’s not just about the platform; consider local tastes and cultural norms when creating content. What’s shareable in one culture might not be in another.

Grasping the fine points of local search engine rankings and their preferred content can give you an advantage too.

Find out the search engines your target markets prefer. Then, adjust your optimization plan to fit those preferences.

Actionable Steps:

  • Cultural Insights: Use customer data to find what type of content resonates.
  • Localized Visuals: Use culturally relevant visuals and idioms.
  • Local Social Media Testing: Test the performance of this content on one popular social media channel in the target market.

Content Marketing Strategy

Consistency is key in any content marketing strategy. Your message should stay the same, even if it’s packaged differently for different channels. But when you’re going global, this takes on a new layer.

Draft a content marketing strategy that details the message for each target group in each country and on each channel.

Include publishing dates that take into account local holidays or events.

A strategy that is both consistent and adapted to culture can make a message universally appealing. Without it, the message may fail to make an impact.

Actionable Steps:

  • Content Calendar: Plan around local holidays and events.
  • Adapt, Don’t Copy: Customize the core message to fit local narratives.
  • Message Adaptation: Conduct A/B tests to adapt your core message and find the one that resonates the most

Manage Multilingual Sites

Managing extensive translations across multiple languages can quickly become difficult.

Use CMS plugins, localization software, and international SEO tools. They make handling translated content, hreflang tags, and multilingual URL structures easier on a large scale.

Actionable Steps:

  • CMS Setup: Use a Content Management System (CMS) that supports multi-language content. Install plugins or use extensions that ease the process.
  • Hire Native Translators: For each target market, use translators proficient in the local language and familiar with cultural nuances.

Monitoring After Publishing

Once live, closely monitor website analytics for each target market. Focus on organic visibility and search rankings. Segment the data by country and language to understand how well your localised content performs.

Actionable Steps:

  • Analytics: Review analytics dashboard for each market.
  • SERP: Track organic visibility and rankings.
  • Segment: Segment data by country and language.

Looking for an International SEO Agency?

Global SEO is a must if you want to reach customers worldwide. It may seem complex, but with a clear plan, you can boost your search rankings and connect with a broader audience. From choosing the right keywords to managing multilingual sites, each step matters.

Looking for expert help? Silkdrive is an experienced International SEO Agency. We have the tools and expertise to make your global SEO efforts pay off.

Contact us to find out how we can work together to take your business to the next level, globally.