How to scale your business internationally on search engines

By Adam Brown

Most online sites at some stage will want to expand, and one of the most common ways to do that is by offering products to an international market.

However, it’s not an easy or simple task by any means. This post will help you understand the risks, research and steps involved in expanding your business into an international market.

Considerations and research

Is it the right time to go international? Is there a need to go international? This very much depends on your focus for the future and the current needs of the business.

If you are increasingly having visitors to your site from international locations, now be may the time to start implementing an international SEO strategy.

There are, of course, a few things that you need to take into consideration – such as:

  • Are you able to implement ALL technical fixes?
  • Do you have the resources to carry out the work and manage each variation in the future?
  • If targeting a different language, do you have somebody to translate?
  • Is the business ready to carry out international orders and process transactions?

Once you have checked all the above, it’s essential to carry out further research. As with any new website idea or build, it’s all about making sure it’s a worthwhile venture.

One of the biggest research areas will be around keyword research to find out if there is demand in the locations that the business will be expanding into. It’s important to note that the keyword research should be done in the language you will be targeting, and location.

If all the above is confirmed and ready to go, the next stage is to plan the implementation.

Website structure

You may have seen a number of different implementations of international, each having different pros and cons. I tend to lean towards using subdirectories; however, it very much depends on the type of targeting you will be using.

These are the main structure types:

  • ccTLD – Domain variations such as example.fr, example.au
  • Subdomain – fr.example.com, au.example.com
  • Subcategory – example.com/au/, example.com/fr/

We have provided an example of the set up for a website using the subcategory URL structure for the UK and France. It’s important to note our main website is sitting on a .com as this tends to be the norm now. However this would work in the same way for .co.uk.

We’ve done this with variations that include both language and location, but this can be done with just language or just location.

This would mean that we add the following code to our website:

We can also add an X-default tag to this piece of code to be safe. This will tell search engines that if there is a URL that is not using this structure that it should default to the URL specified. This would change our code snippet to:

It’s important to note that this is only for Go to the full article.

Source:: Search Engine Watch

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