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The Benefits of an Effective International SEO Strategy

benefits of international SEO

Imagine launching a product and seeing your marketing budget disappear faster than you can say “ad campaign”.  Digital advertising campaigns, like traditional physical-based marketing, can be a wild ride, with costs spiralling into thousands of dollars. We’ve all seen how they can drain resources. They demand hefty investments in materials, skilled personnel, constant tweaking and ongoing management. Developing an international SEO strategy, however, costs a fraction of that and can be implemented almost instantaneously for immediate gains. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to expand your business into new markets.

Ready to deep dive into the benefits of international SEO and its implications? Trust us, once you see what it can do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!

What Exactly Is International SEO?

International SEO is the practice of creating content and optimising your site to target an international audience specifically. The international audience can be a language group, a global region, or even a specific country.

Achieve this by creating content for your site that fits the sensibilities and tastes of your target audience while maintaining your global brand image.

From an SEO standpoint, the main benefit of an international SEO strategy is that it increases your presence on search engine result pages in different countries and languages. It will increase brand recognition in those countries, leading to higher conversion rates.

a woman doing international SEO to boost global business

How Is International SEO Different Than Local SEO?

Both local and international SEO seek to achieve the same thing – increase your presence on search engines. Where they differ is in the way they go about that.

Local SEO targets specific keywords and phrases relevant to your immediate geographic area. It helps rank your website higher among local audiences searching for products or services like yours in the nearby area. It’s like putting a spotlight on your business within your community.

International SEO, on the other hand, seeks to penetrate foreign markets by targeting the relevant keywords and phrases used in specific regions around the globe, aiming to attract the attention of potential customers abroad. However, it’s not just about language; international SEO also navigates cultural nuances and regulatory requirements unique to each region. For example, what’s acceptable to advertise in one country may be taboo in another due to differing standards and norms.

So, while local SEO tailors your online presence to the dynamics of your immediate surroundings, international SEO adapts it to resonate with a diverse global audience. It’s all about speaking the language—both linguistically and culturally—of the people you want to reach, wherever they may be.

Why Is International SEO Important for Global Businesses?

Don’t consider international SEO strategies a distinct marketing campaign. Instead, incorporate them into your business’s overall marketing campaign strategy as a vanguard for your brand.

Your brand’s international SEO strategy should introduce and familiarise foreign audiences with your products or services. Moreover, it should increase your brand’s visibility, the organic traffic you receive, and, most importantly, your global reach.

Studies have shown that the top search result has a CTR of 9.28%, which drastically falls to 5.82% and 3.11% for the second and third spots. This means the top spot receives thousands and even millions of clicks while the others get the crumbs.

It is what makes international SEO campaigns so crucial for business. They can mean the difference between receiving millions of clicks or just a few clicks each month.

how international SEO boosts visibility

Benefits of International SEO

Our clients have reported that increased reach, higher revenues, and more visibility are some of the main benefits of international SEO. Still, they’re not the only ones that exist.

Let’s explore in detail what benefits you can expect from our international SEO strategies and how they’ll affect your brand in the long run.

Reaching New Markets More Efficiently

According to Google, 39% of searchers’ purchase decisions are influenced by whether they can find a relevant search. This means that, even if you have a solid product, if they can’t find relevant information regarding your product in their region, they’re likely to be sceptical about the legitimacy of your product.

The best way to introduce an audience to a product is via advertising. That has its own set of hurdles that international SEO strategies don’t have to deal with.

In this regard, one of the main benefits of International SEO strategies is that they present a low barrier to entry into foreign markets. Compared to this, traditional marketing often costs much more to conduct successfully and must comply with several local rules and regulations.

Using international SEO to this effect will also familiarise the foreign audience with your product, making any future expansion endeavours much more manageable. 

Improved Global Brand Visibility

Another benefit of international SEO is that it increases your global brand visibility by making you a recognisable name worldwide. By placing you higher on search results, your brand will more effectively be able to ingrain itself in the public’s conscience, leading to word-of-mouth marketing and even more opportunities and recognition.

Of course, to achieve this effect, you need to comprehensively understand your target audience: their values, habits, and desires. Lacking to do so may even harm your brand’s visibility in the region.

Our specialists at BrainZ Digital always emphasise this point, as we understand how crucial it is for a successful international SEO campaign. No SEO strategy of ours is enacted without a firm understanding of the demographic we are targeting.

Better User Experience

Most browsers have a translation feature, but relying on that feature alone is not enough to achieve brand localisation. Don’t simply translate. Instead, transcreate your website’s content from the ground up with the intent to attract a foreign audience.

The message behind the content should remain the same – what should change is the delivery of that message. It should align with the preferences of the culture or region you’re targeting, as that’s the most optimal way to better the user experience.

It should include scenes and faces familiar to the targeted region, as humans are naturally drawn to the familiar. This will make your brand seem more connected to the local audiences, leading to more favourable interactions.

International SEO practices will also improve the efficiency of your website for foreign audiences by reducing load times and fixing broken links, which tend to ruin the user experience. 

Woman sitting on the floor with a laptop, working on international SEO in a modern living room

Delivering Relevant Content to Broader Audiences

An international SEO strategy helps you understand and meet the needs of foreign audiences by creating content that is specific and relevant to their wants and desires.

Certain audiences react differently to specific content. International SEO strategies try to promote favourable content while underlining the less favourable aspects of that product regarding that region. It creates a more positive outlook toward your brand, generating more revenue.

A common tactic to achieve this is to create alternate websites for the same product but with slightly different content based on the region’s sensibilities.

This practically allows you to sell the same product but with an emphasis on the aspects that would make your product particularly attractive in that region.

Increasing Website Traffic, Conversions and Revenue

One of the prime benefits of international SEO that our clients often report is an increase in organic traffic to their websites. This can be achieved in several ways.

First, we conduct extensive market research regarding your product and its feasibility in the market you are trying to reach. Once we fully grasp the bigger picture, we create a content strategy plan specifically designed to attract the most clicks in the given region.

That’s just one part of our strategy, but it isn’t the sole one. We also meticulously analyse each part of your website and optimise its CTA placements to generate more CTR. This will ultimately increase the conversion rate and your revenue.

We don’t stop there. Our SEO strategies will also increase your site’s efficiency by creating relevant country-code and global-level domain links. This ensures that loading times are kept to a minimum and that content is always accurate.

Higher ROI

As mentioned, one of the greatest benefits of international SEO is its relative affordability compared to traditional marketing practices. Most monthly SEO retainer plans cost between $500 and $1000, but the ROI they generate can be as high as 200% on average.

Another way international SEO strategies save you money is by eliminating the need to pursue permits or procure materials. All that’s required is a team of specialists to create and conduct your SEO strategy.

The initial investment for an international SEO strategy is relatively minuscule, but its benefits can be felt almost immediately. Most clients report a significant traffic increase just one week after beginning their collaboration with us.

increase in ROI thanks to international SEO

Competitive Advantage

In the 21st century, the digital space is just another platform where brands compete for supremacy. An effective international SEO strategy is the best weapon for achieving supremacy.

It helps shape your image to be more appealing to international audiences. It increases your reach to those audiences and ensures that whenever they land on your page, they’ll be introduced to the most relevant information.

However, the most important benefit of international SEO in this regard is that it introduces you to the intricacies of the audience you’re trying to reach. It allows you to easily connect with them, leading to more effective brand development among them.

Get International SEO Right From the Start

Crafting an international SEO strategy is no easy feat. Multiple aspects have to be accounted for to even create a mediocrely successful strategy, never mind the months of support required afterwards to see it through to fruition.

This is the main reason clients trust Brainz Digital. We have the expertise to create an international SEO strategy and the perseverance to work with our clients until successful completion.

Here are just some of the things that have to be considered when creating an international SEO strategy.

Market and Competitor Analysis

The first step in any international SEO strategy is market research and competitor analysis of the specific region being targeted. This is required to determine which keywords and phrases are used in that particular region and how the masses approach them. It will allow you to more effectively plan your content strategies and what keywords to focus on at specific points and times. 

More importantly, market research will give you insight into the demographics of that specific region. It will allow you to tailor the content more accurately to attract the groups you want to attract.

As your domain authority grows in the region, you’ll be able to be more competitive with your campaigns. You’ll often be the first result to pop up whenever someone searches for your product or service type.

Keyword Research Tailored to Each Market

You should tailor the keywords and phrases to the nuances of the market you’re trying to enter. This step will also require some outside research, as you’ll need to figure out the slight nuances in the region’s speech patterns. You’ll also need to immerse yourself in their values and customs and gain insight into their search behaviours.

It’s essential at this step to research the keyword gap, i.e. which keywords in your specific niche are being overlooked or are considered “weak.” Low-volume keywords should be capitalised upon initially until your domain authority grows in the region.

Once your site gains a foothold in the region, you may start competing for more “competitive” keywords that receive the most search volume.

Another important factor to consider is the search engines themselves. Different regions of the world prefer different search engines, and each has its own standards that you have to account for when trying to rank in that region.

Language vs Country Targeting

Targeting a language group versus targeting a specific country has slightly different requirements. When targeting a language group, your main efforts will revolve around translating your content into the standard language of that group.

This is different when you’re targeting a specific country. You’ll have to account for the practices in that country, the relevant events and phenomena, and their preferences.

Even if two countries speak the same language, you should avoid using the exact same SEO strategy when applying your brand. For example, in the US, consumers would search for a ‘sweater,’ while in the UK, they would look for a ‘jumper’. Tailoring your SEO strategy to accommodate these nuances can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility and appeal, leading to higher engagement and better conversion rates in each market.

What’s more, to truly captivate a region, you must use resources endemic to that region. The links you include in your content should be local to that region, and the media present should have local features. The way you present information should be in the standard the region uses (dates, currencies, fonts, etc.)

Illustration of a globe surrounded by flags and SEO icons representing international SEO strategies

Choose the Right URL Structure for Your International Website

Choosing the right URL structure for your website will give you credibility and make it easier for users to understand that the content is specifically for them. It will also help search engines for which the content is intended and push it toward them.

It’s essential to use a variety of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), global top-level domains (gTLDs), and various subdomains and subfolders for those gTLDs.

Country-specific domains are beneficial for separating websites into their relevant countries. However, the caveat to this is that they’re limited to a single country. Additionally, the more ccTLDs you have, the more expensive it will be to maintain them.

Global top-level domains present an alternative to this. They’re generally better if your website is hosted on multiple servers worldwide. However, their drawback is that they’re often vague and target a language rather than a specific country.

Thankfully, subdirectories and subdomains solve this by allowing you to separate domains into specific categories.

Localise, Don’t Translate

Each region has its own preferences, customs, and habits. To that end, your efforts should be directed toward localising the content to cater to that region’s desires and needs.

Simply translating the content isn’t bad – it just isn’t enough to get the audience’s attention. The content should be in line with the circumstances of that region and reflect their realities rather than just being translated into that region’s spoken language.

For example, Mexico and Argentina are both Spanish-speaking countries. However, advertising winter gear to Mexicans will likely not get you the desired response, as they have no use for it. The opposite is the situation with Argentinians, as Argentina has some of the coldest climates in South America.

The point you’re trying to achieve with localisation is relevance. Sharing the same language does not mean that two people share the same experiences geographically, historically, politically, and economically. This is why translation isn’t the best solution in most instances.

Technical Foundations

Once you’ve created content and have the relative links for it, it’s time to give it a hreflang tag. Hreflang tags are HTML attributes that tell search engines who the content on the site is intended for. They usually come in three parts:

  • Link rel = ”alternate” – This indicates an alternative website version.
  • Href = ”https://language.website.com/page” – This is the alternate page for the targeted language or region.
  • Hreflang = ”language” – This specifies the language of the new page.

The main reason you should use hreflang tags is so that users from a specific region can see the relevant websites at the top of their search results rather than being redirected from your main website.

When implementing your international SEO strategy, be mindful of duplicate content. This usually happens if you directly translate the content from one page to another. This is bad because it may lead to keyword cannibalisation, i.e., your pages “eating each other” in search results and harming each other’s ranking.

Avoid this by using canonical tags to signify which page is the canonical or primary and which pages are the alternatives. This will ensure that similar pages on your website don’t compete against each other but rather with each other against competitor pages.

Need Help Expanding Globally With International SEO?

Creating and providing an international SEO strategy is no easy feat, as there are dozens of factors that need to be considered for it to turn out favourably. Ultimately, it should be best left to the professionals. That’s where we can help.

If your goal is to enter another market, let BrainZ pave the way for you and make your expansion as ideal as possible. Let us hear about your goals. We’ll develop a personalized strategy that will see those goals realised.

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