Top 3 challenges of international SEO

Posted on June 11, 2011


There are plenty of reasons to take your online business international. Being online makes it easier than ever to market yourself in other countries. If you’re trying to hit the top spots in foreign SERPs, however, you need to be aware of the challenges involved. Even if you’re only targeting English-language searches, international SEO has its own set of complications.

1. SEO strategies. Internet users will word searches differently in every country, and SERP listings will also look slightly different. It’s important to sketch out a separate SEO strategy for every international market you target.

2. IP addresses. Although Google has said in the past that sites operated out-of-country aren’t necessarily penalised in the rankings, Matt Cutts has admitted that local IP addresses are favoured. This means it is wise to set up a physical hosting presence for your international markets.

3. Real addresses. Again, Google tends to take physical location into account. If you’re an international business, it can be worthwhile investing in a post office box or two.

4. Market knowledge. Markets change in every country, and this is something to take into account in international SEO. Start competitor research afresh for every country.

5. Knowing your customers. It’s always important to bring SEO planning back to a customer level. The way you word your content and the topics you address need to suit your target market, so make sure you research and test. Ideally, if you are doing content, then use a company who has writers in several countries – specifically the one you’re targeting.

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