International SEO: Things You Need to Know

International SEO: Things You Need to Know

One of the best aspects of doing SEO is that it is able to take your brand to not only a local audience, but also to an international one as well. Along with working with some of the most well-known and established clients in the Philippines, but also clients from different parts of the world.

SEO has helped branch people of different cultures and backgrounds together, with the goal of doing good business that would benefit both parties. This kind of business just shows how big SEO can be in the near future. When it comes to doing business with international clients, there are some aspects of SEO that you would have to do differently compared to doing local SEO. Here are the things that you need to know if you are thinking of doing international SEO.

Doing your homework

One of the first things that you need to do when starting with international SEO is to do some research on your client beforehand. You can take a look at their website and run a website audit and review by using tools like Woorank and Google Lighthouse, which would give you a general idea of how well your client’s website is performing.

Woorank International SEO Sample

The next step is to do some keyword research to look into possible keywords that can bring in traffic to their website. Keep in mind that the language of these keywords will tend to be foreign, so it is best to study up on their language to make sure that you’re getting them right. A look into Google Trends can help you track some of the most popular keyword in the area as well.

Google Trends International SEO

Getting a domain

One international SEO fundamental that you must do is to acquire a domain from country that your client is from, or planning to do business on. International domains will allow their website to be able to become more visible in their country’s search engines. Of course, another issue here would be domain availability, as there might be a chance that your domain might be taken by another website in that country.

Woorank ccTLD

Thankfully, you can use Woorank to look for the available ccTLD’s (Country Code Top Level Domain) which you can register. While using subdomains and subdirectories might be easier to maintain compared to using ccTLD’s, but will not give you the same amount of reach on search engines.

Foreign expansion?

When doing international SEO, it can mean different things for your client. Is your client planning to do business in a different country? Or is your client looking to target an audience that speaks a different language? Knowing the answer to these questions would help you know where to go and what to do. There are a lot of business and e-commerce websites that prefer to create translated version within their website, since their brand is already established and well-known in a lot of areas.

This factor is highly dependent on the size of your client, and the scope that they want to cover. Whichever method you decide to choose, this is a process that would help their brand gain more traction in the international market, and gain a bigger presence in the web.

Doing more homework

Other than researching about the most popular keywords, and doing a website audit, it is also best to do research about the countries themselves to get a grasp on the culture and language. This research can involve famous personalities, notable locations, cultural norms, local music and art, famous cuisine, and much more. You can delve into hours’ worth of content just by studying their culture alone, but this would definitely make your international SEO effort that much stronger.

This kind of research would prove valuable to the content that you are going to create as well. This means tailor-made content and designs that cater to your audience. You can create blogs about popular events in the country, or even create promotional content that features the most famous sights.

This rings true for the website design as well, as using certain colors and imagery would help attract more people from the targeted country. Having a culturally-sensitive touch ensures that you are able to grab the attention of the intended audience, and gain more traffic and leads.


The tag that is most associated is the hreflang tag. The hreflang tag helps users indicate that certain website has a foreign language version. A hreflang tag looks like this: rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”. The x refers to the language of the website. The language codes vary, and it is best to identify all of the ones that are contained within the website.

This is for websites that have translated copies, and is important, as it helps your audience get to the version of the website with their language. This helps boost your conversion rate, and makes the user experience that much better.


Just like local SEO, regional and geographical targeting is very important for international SEO. Optimizing your keywords with locations, along with creating a local SEO presence would help establish a business in that particular area. For example, a simple keyword + location combination like “Jollibee Milan” would instantly bring you results from the country itself. Using the right locations (which you would know from your research) makes it much more convenient for your users.

Jollibee Milan

As usual, the country and the nature of business matters a lot, as this would indicate whether or not you would be targeting a language, location, or even both. Knowing these factors, you would be able to establish a local presence within the country, which brings in leads.

Key Takeaway

International SEO is a similar SEO ball game with new rules that you should keep in mind. With factors like language, new locations, and culture coming into play, international SEO is an even more colorful world of SEO that opens up more possibilities and bridge diverse cultures.

If you have questions about International SEO, or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Share on:
Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.