Going Worldwide: 15 SEO Steps for a Successful Expansion

The creator’s views are solely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not all the time mirror the views of Moz.


Increasing your small business internationally is a superb solution to develop and scale your organization. Nonetheless, deciding to enter overseas markets entails making a number of selections and taking actions that set up your natural presence.

This text will information you thru 15 SEO steps to observe that can will let you conquer new markets efficiently.

Desk of contents:

  1. Deciding to go international
  2. Domain best practices
  3. Content transcreation
  4. Technical considerations
  5. Off-page best practices
  6. Bonus: Different search engines

Deciding to go worldwide

Globalization has made it simple for nearly any enterprise to broaden its presence internationally. Should you detect a nice alternative or a truthful quantity of visitors to your website from a particular nation, it might be worthwhile to focus on this market extra completely.

Nonetheless, coming into a new market with out strong preliminary analysis can result in wasted time and sources. To forestall coming into a market blindly, in-depth key phrase analysis and competitor evaluation can be utilized to assist make clear market potential.

1) Key phrase analysis

Native key phrase analysis will will let you collect information concerning the search quantity and visitors potential of search phrases associated to your product/service within the native language of recent markets. Moz Keyword Explorer is a superb device for this objective. 

Apart from search quantity, the Difficulty is a key metric to contemplate, because it defines how aggressive your key phrases are within the totally different languages and markets.

An overview of the keyword
An outline of the key phrase «electrical scooters» in Moz Key phrase Explorer.

Be aware: Pay attention to the truth that one-to-one translation of key phrases doesn’t all the time work. Phrases can have totally different meanings in several languages, and, in some markets, a number of phrases and phrases can be utilized as synonyms for the identical services or products.

It’s extremely really useful to have native audio system of the languages within the space you’re focusing on lead your key phrase analysis, as they’ll perceive the actual market and tradition effectively. If you do not have the sources internally to conduct the native analysis, you may outsource this job to a native skilled.

Moreover, utilizing Google Traits to review native key phrase developments might be a nice solution to spotlight areas with the best curiosity in your services or products. The evaluation of the curiosity over time and curiosity by area is a fast and good solution to determine developments and potential in a market.

Interest in the search term
Curiosity within the search time period «electrical scooters» over time and by area in Google Traits.

2) Competitor evaluation

Primarily based on the related key phrases and queries highlighted within the key phrase analysis part, you’ll be able to outline natural opponents in your new market(s).

Natural opponents are opponents on the Search Engines Outcome Pages (SERPs) rating for your goal search phrases. Some SEO instruments, like Moz, gives you an summary of the native SERPs for your queries. Primarily based on the related key phrases and queries highlighted within the key phrase analysis part, you’ll be able to outline natural opponents in every market(s). 

Natural opponents would possibly overlap internationally, however may also considerably differ from market to market. It is value checking through which international locations your major natural opponents are current, through which languages their web site(s) is/can be found, and the way qualitative their content material is, as it would show you how to decide which markets are value increasing into your self.

Probably the most engaging markets are clearly those with a excessive search potential and comparatively low competitors. It’s as much as you to resolve to enter extra aggressive markets, contemplating your explicit and out there sources.

Area finest practices

Very similar to in your house market, the selection of your area title and construction in new, worldwide areas can influence your native rankings, in addition to the notion of your model.

3) Web site configuration

Going worldwide necessitates adapting to a totally different nation, language, or each:

  • A multi-regional web site is a web site focusing on a number of international locations (airbnb.com).

  • A multilingual web site is a web site focusing on a number of languages (tiqets.com).

  • A international web site is a web site focusing on a world viewers (theculturetrip.com).

The variety of totally different web site variations obligatory depends upon the viewers you wish to goal.

  • Nation focusing on implies that you wish to goal one or a number of particular international locations. On this case, one web site model for every nation is required.

  • Language focusing on implies that you goal an viewers talking the identical language. On this respect, one web site model on this explicit language is required.

The different types and website versions needed depending on country and language targeting.
The different sorts and web site variations wanted relying on nation and language focusing on.

A worldwide web site strategy might be efficient in case your viewers is already worldwide and has no want for customization (e.g. a advertising and marketing weblog just like the Moz Weblog). Nonetheless, most people prefer to browse in their language, and it’s tougher for a area to rank in a particular market when it’s not localized.

4) Model title vs. localized title

Your area title might be both a title associated to your model/firm or a localized title tailored to the native market.

Some corporations select to localize their area title, because it permits them to incorporate key phrases which can be related to the goal market. That is, for occasion, the case for the web sites of the Auto1 Group, an automotive firm, which adapts its title to every goal market:

Example of domain names of the Auto 1 Group with localized domain names for different countries.
Instance of domains of the Auto 1 Group with localized domains for totally different international locations.

Generally, utilizing your model/firm title is really useful, because it permits you to consolidate model authority and consciousness amongst totally different markets. Nonetheless, in case your model title has an ambivalent which means or is difficult to pronounce in a sure language, it’s preferable to adapt your area title to the native market.

Example of a branded domain name that needed to be rebranded due to international expansion.
Instance of a branded area title that wanted to be rebranded resulting from worldwide growth.

5) URL construction choice

Geotargeting means serving the right model of your web site to customers in keeping with their location. On this context, the selection of the URL construction is essential, as will probably be a sign for each search engines like google and yahoo and customers.

Anatomy of an URL structure with different subparts.
Anatomy of an URL construction with totally different subparts.

URLs might be structured in three alternative ways to focus on worldwide markets:

  • ccTLD: country-code High Stage Area (.fr; .de; .nl,…).

  • gTLD: generic High-Stage Area (.com; .org; .internet,…) + native subdirectories (.com/fr; .org/de; .internet/nl,…).

  • Subdomain: native subdomain hooked up to the foundation area (fr.area.com; de.area.org; nl.area.internet,…).

Be aware: Some web sites use parameters (for occasion: www.domain.com ?loc=fr) as a way to show the content material to customers primarily based on their present location. This method is not recommended for geotargeting. As a way to optimize rating potential, every model ought to have its personal URL.

Overview of different URL structures with their advantages and disadvantages.
Overview of various URL constructions with their benefits and downsides.

There isn’t a proper or improper setup, as every of those URL constructions has its benefits and downsides. The selection of the construction must be made by making an allowance for the markets you resolve to penetrate, the area of interest you use in, and your out there sources.

The next parts additionally must be thought of:

  • Relying on the CMS you’re utilizing, the selection of the URL construction is likely to be restricted.

  • Some international locations have particular rules concerning domains. To have the ability to register some ccTLDs, a native residence or firm headquartered within the nation is important (for instance, in Norway).

Buying recommendations for different domain names and variations.

6) Worldwide focusing on with Google Search Console

For URL constructions utilizing a gTLD, you should utilize Search Console’s International Targeting report to let Google know that your web site targets guests from a particular nation. This characteristic will then be used as a native trace by Google. Yow will discover this report below the «Legacy instruments and stories» part in Google Search Console. As you’ll be able to observe, domains utilizing a ccTLD are geo-targeted by default.

International targeting report in Google Search Console for a French domain using a ccTLD.
Worldwide focusing on report in Google Search Console for a French area utilizing a ccTLD.

Content material transcreation

“Transcreation” is a portmanteau of the phrases “translation” and “creation”, and is the idea of adapting a textual content to a totally different language and tradition. When coming into a new market, it’s important to adapt your web site to native customers to make it ultra-relevant.

7) Content material translation

Creating model new content material is time-consuming. For that reason, when increasing to new markets, most corporations select to translate the content material of their authentic web site.

Similar to in your house market, the standard of your content material impacts your web site rankings. Translating content material with out correct key phrase analysis within the new language, in addition to data of your new customers’ search intent can result in poor, irrelevant content material that isn’t tailored to native customers. Spend a while increasing your content material improvement processes to account for potential variations.

And keep in mind: every thing must be translated in your web page, not solely the physique of the content material itself. This implies translating o-page parts corresponding to picture alt tags, URLs, meta titles and descriptions, and headers must be localized as effectively. If a number of languages are detected by search engines like google and yahoo, it might ship a sign of poor high quality and have an effect on your rankings.

8) Adaptation to the brand new nation

Cultural variations

Talking the language of a nation doesn’t suggest speaking to its individuals. Each nation has its personal slang and cultural variations by way of style, humor, and mentality.

These traits can differ enormously between international locations. Therefore the necessity to get the content material creation managed by a particular person native (or a minimum of acquainted) with the nation and its tradition.

Nation-specific editorial calendar

It’s necessary to maintain monitor of the nationwide and spiritual occasions and seasons within the totally different native markets. Every nation has its personal specificities, and your content material and promotions ought to align with it.


The foreign money used on a web site should ideally be the one of many focused nation. Within the case of a international web site, it’s a should to supply customers the chance to change foreign money with a foreign money selector. Most content material administration programs provide the likelihood to put in a plugin to handle this operate effectively.

An example of different settings regarding language, country, and currency.
An instance of various settings concerning language, nation, and foreign money.

Technique of cost

Every time doable, it’s good to adapt to customers’ preferences and provide them totally different strategies of cost. Some technique of cost are fashionable and particular to some international locations, corresponding to IDeal within the Netherlands and Klarna in Sweden.

An example of the ASOS website with different payment methods depending on the country.
An instance of the ASOS web site with totally different cost strategies relying on the nation.

Use of particular characters

In sure elements of the world, individuals:

  • Use a non-Latin language (Cyrillic, Chinese language, Japanese,…).

  • Use particular characters (ß, ü, å, œ, ç, ø, ñ,…) of their language.

URLs have to be written and served solely utilizing the ASCII (American Customary Code for Data Interchange) character set. As such, URLs containing particular characters must be encoded into a legitimate ASCII format by browsers, as a way to be adequately processed. Most browsers help non-ASCII characters and serve them unencoded to customers. Nonetheless, when copy-pasting URLs within the browser, encoding is seen (see instance beneath).

An example of an encoded URL in the Russian language by Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).
An instance of an encoded URL within the Russian language by Germany’s worldwide broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).

Due to this fact, the usage of particular characters in URLs makes them much less «share-friendly.» Moreover, some search engines like google and yahoo have issue parsing and recognizing URLs with particular characters successfully.

A workaround to this situation is to make use of phonetic transcriptions. For example, Should you goal the Chinese language market, you should utilize Pinyin (the romanization of ordinary Mandarin) in your URLs, as a substitute of Chinese language characters.

Whether or not you resolve to transcribe your URLs or maintain particular characters is as much as you. As all the time, the perfect technique is to contemplate it from a consumer’s standpoint, and what kind of URLs they would favor to see.

Native rules

Native rules must be taken severely and have to be revered as a way to keep away from potential authorized points. For example, the European Union’s Basic Knowledge Safety Regulation (GDPR) applies everytime you monitor and analyze information from EU guests, even when your organization is positioned outdoors the EU.

Related rules apply in different areas. In Japan, they’ve the Act on the Safety of Private Data (APPI), and California has the California Client Privateness Act (CCPA).

Within the US, accessibility is a severe subject (see the Americans with Disabilities Act). To conform and keep away from authorized complaints, corporations should follow the internationally acknowledged Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Should you’re not acquainted, inform your self about the different local regulations.

9) Exterior hyperlinks

As all the time, as a way to improve your content material, it’s really useful so as to add outbound hyperlinks to different related native web sites.

Outbound hyperlinks are a good, pure manner to offer extra insights to your readers and context to the various search engines concerning the subject you’re masking.

Serps take note of the standard of the outbound hyperlinks contained in your content material. Due to this fact, it will be significant that your content material solely comprises outbound hyperlinks to authoritative native sources. Authoritative native sources are hyperlinks to pages which can be related by way of high quality (sources invaluable for guests, topic-relevant, reliable authors,…) in addition to by way of quantitative metrics (natural visitors, Area Authority, …). Outbound hyperlinks needs to be editorially and naturally positioned into the content material and level to up-to-date sources, ideally in the identical native language.

Technical issues

10) Hreflang implementation

In a world context, the hreflang tag helps search engines like google and yahoo (like Google, Yandex, and Seznam) outline which URL model of your website needs to be served to guests from a particular space, or who communicate a explicit language.

Hreflang attributes are useful to forestall indexation points resulting from duplicate content material, within the case the place the identical content material is delivered in the identical language to totally different geographical areas. They’re used as “hints” by search engines like google and yahoo, that are free to disregard them.

Hreflang can be implemented in three alternative ways: By way of the HTTP header, contained in the <head> of a HTML doc, or inside a website XML sitemap.

An instance of an hreflang implementation within the supply code.

11) HTML lang & the Content material-language meta tag

Whereas Google and Yandex solely check with the hreflang tag directions, another search engines like google and yahoo (Baidu, Naver, and Bing) use totally different tags to determine localized content material. HTML lang is an attribute that specifies the language used on a net web page. The content-language meta tag is used to point the language and nation for which the web page content material is meant for. Pay attention to what’s wanted within the search engine(s) of your new area. 

An example of a hreflang attribute, a content-language meta tag, and a HTML lang attribute for a website with an American-English audience.
An instance of a hreflang attribute, a content-language meta tag, and a HTML lang attribute for a web site with an American-English viewers.

12) IP-based redirection

Location-based redirection is the idea of redirecting customers to the right native interface primarily based on their IP location/browser language.

When IP-based redirection is automated, it might stop search engine bots from crawling your web site. More often than not, Google bots are crawling web sites with US-based IP addresses. Every time IP auto-redirection occurs, spiders will likely be restricted and solely capable of crawl a single model of your website, leaving different website variations undiscovered and subsequently doubtlessly not crawled and listed.

Screenshot of tweet from John Mueller explaining that Googlebot crawls mostly from the US.

Furthermore, IP-based redirection can have a destructive influence on consumer expertise. Think about you’re in Japan, and also you wish to learn an article in French. You positively do not wish to be compelled to work together with the Japanese model of the area.

A substitute for geolocation-based redirection is to make use of non-intrusive geo-based pop-ups/banners or guide location pickers to counsel that customers be redirected to the native model of their selection.

Example of a non-intrusive geo-based banner on marksandspencer.com
Instance of a non-intrusive geo-based banner on marksandspencer.com
Advice regarding splash pages interfaces.

13) Server location

Previously, your bodily server location was utilized by Google as a native sign, however that’s not the case.

Nonetheless, server location impacts website velocity, as information should journey by way of a community of bodily cables. The nearer a web site server’s location is to its guests, the quicker it would load.

In case your website’s server is positioned in a totally different area than your guests, you should utilize a Content material Supply Community (CDN). A CDN is a community of servers geographically unfold all over the world that host and cache web sites’ static belongings (picture recordsdata, JS, CSS).

The advantage of internet hosting a few of your sources on a CDN is to cut back the web page load time, as these sources will likely be served regionally close to the customers’ areas. As well as, some CDNs add an additional layer of safety to your web site by offering firewall safety features.

Off-page suggestions

Off-page SEO refers to all of the actions that you just carry out outdoors of your area as a way to improve the user- and search engine notion of its relevance, reputation, trustworthiness, and authority. An off-page SEO technique is essential as a way to achieve a world atmosphere.

14) Nation-specific hyperlink constructing

Hyperlinks stay one of many major rating elements. When coming into a new market, hyperlinks facilitate your website’s discovery by each search engines like google and yahoo and customers. On the very starting, SEO ought to work along with different departments such as PR to construct hyperlinks to their homepage and create model consciousness.

When your website is technically well-grounded and serves customers with qualitative content material, it’s time to begin buying related, native backlinks. By receiving backlinks from authoritative sources in every focused nation, you’ll have the ability to compete and impose your native presence.

Set up a country-specific outreach technique for every market, as every one will likely be totally different. Some ways that work effectively in a single nation may not be so environment friendly in one other one. It’s essential to all the time alter your strategy to the customs of the person market as a way to construct invaluable partnerships.

The next practices are really useful within the worldwide backlink acquisition course of:

Recommendations for country-specific link building.

15) Native citations and NAP consistency

Native citations are any point out of your small business data on-line. Native citations matter if you’re carried out in a number of international locations and have bodily addresses, as they will let you strengthen your native presence. Your web site NAP might be discovered in your web site in addition to on Google My Enterprise and different social media pages and native directories.

If search engines like google and yahoo uncover totally different addresses, they, in addition to your customers, is likely to be confused. Be certain to stay constant along with your Title, Handle, Telephone (NAP) in your native citations within the totally different international locations that you’re current in. Moz has a free tool to confirm the consistency of your citations within the US, UK, and Canada.

Bonus: Totally different search engines like google and yahoo

When speaking about search engine marketing, we largely think about Google, because it’s essentially the most used search engine on the planet. Nonetheless, in some markets, Google will not be the most important search engine.

For example, in China, most individuals use Baidu, and in Russia, individuals use Yandex. Different fashionable engines are Naver in South Korea, Seznam within the Czech Republic, and Yahoo in Japan.

Everytime you intend to enter these markets, it’s important to take time to analysis and pay attention to some specificities associated to those search engines like google and yahoo. For instance, beneath are some key worldwide SEO parts to think about for Baidu.

Overview of the Baidu search engine.


Deciding to broaden your small business or web site into a new market will not be one thing that needs to be unexpectedly tried. From the SEO facet, it requires a lot of thought, cautious consideration, and time to do it proper.

When coming into a new market, your worldwide SEO technique ought to encompass:

  • Learning market potential.

  • Choosing the proper area and URL construction.

  • Geotargeting and adapting content material to native customers.

  • Growing authority and visitors regionally.

From selecting the best construction and geotargeting, to writing compelling content material tailored to your native viewers, an efficient plan must be designed that takes into consideration your organization sources and market potential for efficient and profitable growth.

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