SEO and International Issues

Wed 7 October 2009 14:20, Jaap Jacobs

As a European I’m very curious what Americans would try to reach customers outside the U.S. I’ll give you an overview of the SMX session “SEO & International Issues”. It provides tips and tricks on how to reach visitors outside your own country trough SEO.

SEO and International Issues

Translating your content
If you want to start abroad you properly have to translate your content. Translation is not an effective process. The word that you carefully choose goes miles away how people search. You should research them and use native speakers, preferable have experience with online marketing. But also be careful when entering a country with a similar language. What you want to do is creating different content, because otherwise search engines intend to see it as duplicate and you will have low rankings.

Use local domains
One .com domain would be better for page sculpting and it creates an easier infrastructure, but you want to use local domains in order to rank higher in countries abroad. With a local domain it will be easier to obtain links and it will increase your conversion rates. You want those local links, because of localized search results. So local domains help to rank higher. But it differs which countries you want to target. You can also use your domain name in order to rank localized. If you want to rank in Miami for “Miami Plumbers” you might want to register

Don’t choose new countries based on analytics. Visitors could be searching in English while they are Dutch. Look at the potential search volumes and conversion rates. But also look at which search engines are the most important for you. You have local search engines with huge market shares like Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China.

Server location and user location play a big role in your appearance. Hosting your website in the same country would be the best option. It gives search engines another reference of where you come from and your site should be positioned in localized results. That’s also why you should be careful when you decide to work with another hosting company.

Research is the basis for effective SEO!

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Comments (2)


  • Jaap,

    I would suggest to use the expression "localisation" instead of "translation".
    Definately having fully trained native linguistic like we have here at is important.

    Local domains: Probably the most frequently asked question ever about multilingual SEO. There are 3 different possibility to indicate the geolocation of your site Local TLDs, Sub Domains, Sub Folders. I normally prefer the first one for 2 reasons:
    First: it help ranking in Local big player like Yandex and Baidu.
    Second: it help to convert. An Austrian user is more likely to click and buy from an .at domains than from a .de even if both the site are written in German.

    Targeting: agree. In some industries not English users do search using English terms. And once again that's why a translation is not the answer: a localisation will consider this issue.

    Hosting: I agree again. I have to say that having localised titles, metatags, content is by far the most important part of an international search engine optimisation but every little thing may help :-)

    Here you may find a list of the top 10 factors to consider when planning a multilingual SEO campaign

    thanks Davide

    Do 8 okt 2009, 15:34

  • Hi Jaap,

    Nice post! I am so happy people finally started to write about international search, and not only about .COM!

    For me the main aspect of localization is content. Content, content and again content! You can still rank with English backlinks in, say, Sweden, or rank in NL, while being hosted in Belgium. Not saying that all these factors are not important of course, but...

    First of all, if the content is translated, it is usually very easy to spot. People do not trust such sites that much. People do not convert that well. Besides, if people can spot that the content is translated, search engines can probably spot it as well. Then your site is not regarded as a serious source..
    Yandex, for example, is extremely good at it. Spots translations very quickly and lowers your rankings.

    The best thins to do is to hire a local copywriter, who will rewrite the content in a proper local language, not translate it imho.

    Do 8 okt 2009, 18:18


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