What is International and Local SEO? If you are looking for an effective way to boost your brand awareness, sales, and target audience, SEO or search engine optimisation is one way to do it in the digital landscape.
SEO has become an essential component for the success of online businesses. Every digital marketing specialist must have a solid understanding of SEO, how it works, and the differences between International and Local SEO.
If you already have a solid knowledge of SEO and its importance, you can skip to the third topic of this write-up. However, for beginners, start from the beginning of this article to gain foundational SEO knowledge.
What is SEO?
Also known as search engine optimisation, is the practice of strategically optimizing various parts of a website to improve its search engine organic result rankings. SEO has two primary goals: to identify search trends so that SEO professionals can create high-quality content to satisfy their demands. The second goal is to help SEO professionals create a website that search engines could prioritize.
In reality, SEO is as much about people and their behavior as it is about search engines. It entails understanding and analyzing what people are searching for online, their questions and the answers they want, the common words they are using, and the type of content they wish to consume. Recognizing the answers to such inquiries will allow SEO professionals to bridge the gap between consumers and businesses.
That being said, search engine optimisation comes with three major tasks:
– Recognize what online consumers are searching for that correlates with your products or services
– Producing relevant types of content that align with their desires
– Providing the right cues to search engine algorithms and crawlers by using different SEO techniques
Why is SEO important?
Whether you have a blog, online e-commerce store, or business website, SEO can help you acquire free and organic traffic from search engines. Listed below are the reasons why SEO is essential to your digital marketing efforts:
– According to Reliable Soft, over 70% of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 search suggestions on the results page. Therefore, you must apply SEO techniques to appear in the top search results to gain more visitors.
– SEO is not all about search engines and topping the search results. It is about improving user experience and website usability.
– Appearing on the top search rankings increases your authority in your niche.
– SEO gives you quantifiable results. You can track and analyze rankings, conversions, and website traffic, allowing you to tweak your efforts to meet your goals better. In addition, platforms such as Google Analytics provide a comprehensive list of actionable data, allowing you to observe every website user’s buying journey, including the pages they opened, the words they used before arriving on your webpage, and more.
International vs. Local SEO
The difference between International and Local SEO is precisely what they sound like.
International SEO focuses on boosting online presence on a global scale, whereas Local SEO focuses on SEO efforts to increase popularity and awareness in a local area.
While both types of SEO remain valuable, the one you should pursue depends on your products or services, the level of competition within your industry, and the demographic status of your target market.
Below, you will find distinct differences between the two approaches, their corresponding advantages to businesses, and how to apply them on your business website.
Also known as Global SEO, it primarily focuses on improving the search rankings of a website on an international scale through various global search engines. This SEO campaign is deemed more relevant for businesses targeting potential international clients.
International SEO often uses local SEO tactics, but more focus is on penetrating deeper into international markets.
Big businesses and organizations that ship products worldwide and established e-commerce sites use International SEO. Specific keywords are to be taken into account, but it is also equally important that the content appeals to various demographics and cultures. More often than not, a business using International SEO would need to have its content translated into multiple languages. This requires an accurate and reliable translator. Otherwise, it may lead to poor content that might jeopardize their authority.
Pros of International SEO
If your business offers products or services to international clients, or if you have been planning on expanding your target audience outside your country, you will benefit the most from International SEO.
Likewise, this type of campaign ensures a solid search presence, aiming to harness organic traffic from various countries (using multiregional SEO) and/or languages (using multilingual SEO).
It also ensures that search engines can easily detect the countries your business wants to target.
How to apply International SEO?
You need an optimized website before doing any kind of optimisation. Therefore, before you exhaust your international SEO efforts, ensure that your technical SEO strategy is at its best.
Define your approach.
Next, define your approach. Not all International SEO approaches are the same. For instance, a language-based segmentation approach may work best if you offer the same products or services to varying language audiences. However, if your business provides various products or services to different national markets, or operates under varying brand names, then approaching countries separately may deliver the best results.
Structure your URL for each localized content type.
When your website is ready, you need to properly structure your website’s URL to tap specific countries and/or languages.
You can do this using the common options:
– ccTLDs or country code top-level domains (the most expensive option, but the best one if you have webpages for specific countries)
– ccTLDs, or global top-level-domains (gTLDs) with subdomains
– ccTLDs or gTLDs with subfolders
– ccTLDs or TLDs with subdomains and subfolders
Localize your website content.
Additionally, make sure to cater to language differences. Localize your language, not just simply translate it. Proper, accurate translations should be done by people, never machines, because they are harder to read and comprehend. Similarly, it is highly recommended not to have your website automatically translated to a particular country/language version.
Localizing a website may seem tedious, but with proper planning and technology support, you can seamlessly incorporate localization into your international growth strategy.
Use the right keywords for each specific country you’re targeting.
Using the right keywords is one of the most important efforts that should be included in your SEO plan. Again, note that simply translating your keywords would not suffice. A professional translator should transcreate them.
Work on your keywords on a case-by-case basis since not all keywords require transcreation. For instance, international industries such as IT and medicine have terms that should remain as is, so translating them will not help in any way.
Before finalizing your keywords, find out what local users are searching for and adapt your keywords to fit their patterns. For example, Children’s Day in the UK is different from the same holiday in Peru. Meaning, that users in both countries will scour the Internet for gift ideas at other times of the year.
Create content for local cultures.
You should familiarize yourself with the latest activities, events, and holidays that are taking place in the countries you are targeting. You can create content and put it onto your designated country pages using the local news information. Do not publish content about the current trends in the UK on your designated webpage for your Australian prospects.
While International SEO focuses on targeting potential international clients, Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a website for local searches. In other words, Local SEO efforts attempt to improve the visibility of small brands, especially brick-and-mortar businesses, to potential customers in the area and nearby.
Local SEO is more technical and distinct than general SEO, as this type of campaign is mainly focused on having your business dominate close-range search results. Local SEO offers results related to a potential consumer based on their current location. Therefore, the keywords used in your website content should be used for the targeted area to increase the likelihood of having your website ranking on the search engine result page.
For instance, if you are providing car repair services in Cardiff, and you want to rank your website for “car repair services in Cardiff” or “best car repair services in Cardiff,” then your website must consider the following keywords on your website content.
Pros of Local SEO.
According to Google data, 76% of consumers who search for a nearby product or service actually visit the business within a day. This only shows that Local SEO strategies can improve your visibility and sales in many ways.
Aside from increased visibility among prospects in your area, here are other advantages of using Local SEO:
– Increase in local web traffic
– Boosted foot traffic
– Improved online visibility
– Enhanced brand authority
– Increase in customer loyalty & returning clients
How to apply Local SEO?
Set up a Google My Business Account.
An optimized Google My Business Account is the easiest and most effective way to get your business visible on Google Maps and Google Search local results. Provide all the vital information in your account to appear in Google Search local results, Google Maps, and the Google Search Knowledge Panel.
To improve your Google Business Profile, you must:
– Verify ownership of the business
– Publish accurate and latest information
– Include your business logo, operating hours, payment methods, a list of your products or services, and a lot of images
– Invite your customers to leave a review
– Respond to customer reviews
– Post announcements to your Business Profile using the dashboard of Google My Business
Encourage customer reviews.
Customer reviews improve not only your Google My Business visibility. It also encourages other prospects to engage with your business and encourages returning customers.
Here are some pointers you can apply to encourage customers to leave reviews:
– Ask the customer to leave a review after a transaction
– Send a post-purchase email encouraging customers to write a review
– Respond to existing customer reviews, making sure you keep everything professional. Do not react aggressively to negative reviews. Instead, take it as an opportunity to let your customer and prospects know that you are willing to improve moving forward.
Create content based on local news and events.
Appear an authoritative figure in your niche publishing content revolving around the current local happenings.
For instance, you can publish articles and videos around local events, activities, or stories. You can also set up location-specific web pages on your site with premium local content if you cater to various parts of a region.
Optimize your website for mobile devices.
A study from Acquisio in 2017 claims that 75% of mobile searches suggesting local intent produce offline visits within a day. This only confirms that you can increase your in-store visitors and sales with a website optimized for mobile devices.
A good, optimized website for mobile devices has the following features:
– A website that loads in less than 3 seconds
– Has big, readable fonts
– Contains fewer images and copy
– Great user design and experience
Use online business directories.
Business directories such as Fourquest, MapQuest, Yelp, and YellowPages help local businesses acquire more visibility and improve SEO performance.
Your company listing should include the following essential information across all online business directories:
– Business name
– Phone number
– Link to your website
– A concise description of your business
What type of SEO is best for your business?
The right type of SEO will highly depend on your business goals. Now that you have a solid understanding of International and Local SEO, you can assess which type of approach best fits your current goals.
If you are a small business with an offline store and want to be more visible in your area or region, then a Local SEO approach may benefit your business better. However, if you’re going to expand your business reach and tap into international clients, you should do an International SEO.
However, if you are still looking for more information about International and Local SEO, reaching out to a team of SEO specialists may help take the guesswork out of SEO for you.