How To Do International SEO

More and more companies are now expanding presence overseas. And it’s not only their physical address that’s moving, their websites too. How do we make our sites capture their intended audience?

Here are some tips:

1. Locate your web host in your target market
If you’re considering China market as a priority, hosting in China may have advantages especially in light with its notorious blocking of sites based overseas. This said, China can be a challenging place to host as I often hear rants about performance issues.

2. Use domain names of these countries
This could pose an issue on domain age and inbound links (which can be remedied with proper redirection) but in the long run, the benefits of doing so may outstrip the risk we run across.

3. <META HTTP-EQUIV=”Content-Language” content=”ZH”>
Identify your site language through the meta declaration shown above (with ZH representing the Chinese language) though more sophisticated search engines should be able to detect language without intros. But since we’re not solely dealing with Google but with the locally popular search engines notably Baidu, this could be a necessity.

4. Use the language of your audience
If you are hosting a site for Chinese audience, of course write in their language (Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong and Taiwan and Simplified Chinese for mainland China)

5. Get links from sites within that target market
It would be of great help if we can get links from websites that speak the same language as our site not only for SEO’s sake but also for usability. Imagine if we get a lot of links from English-language pages to our Chinese-language site, people who have followed the link read English and would bounce off when they see a foreign language they don’t understand.

6. Spell words accordingly
This is applicable to languages that have a variety in spelling (why don’t UK English and American English adopt one standard?) like harbour vs harbor or meter vs metre. I tested search terms and they show up a combination of these keywords but I’d prefer to stick on the language my audience is comfortable talking (or typing as a search phrase).

7. Include addresses of the business on the content
This could help Google Maps locate the business when people specifically use such vertical search engine.