International SEO: Why You Should Optimise Content for Locals

5 April, 2023
Maybelle Casiple
8min read


  • The Importance of Localisation in SEO
  • Factors to Consider in Localisation
  • Best Practices for Localisation in SEO
  • Benefits of Optimising Content for Locals
  • Best Practices for International SEO
  • Challenges in International SEO
  • Unlocking the Power of International SEO: Optimising Content for Local Audiences

Are you running an online business with an international presence? Do you want to expand your reach and increase website traffic from different regions? If yes, then you need to focus on international SEO.

International SEO is a strategy that involves optimising your website content for different countries and languages. With the rise of globalisation and digitalisation, targeting a wider audience has become more important than ever. However, it’s more than just translating your content into different languages, and it’s also about localising your content to cater to the needs and preferences of local users.

This article will discuss the importance of optimising content for locals and how it can benefit your business. We will also provide some best practices for international SEO and the challenges that come with it.

International SEO has become crucial in the marketing mix of businesses seeking to expand their reach beyond their home markets. When implementing international SEO, one essential aspect to consider is localisation.

Localisation in SEO refers to adapting your website and content to meet the needs and preferences of the local audience in your target countries. It involves more than just translating your content into the local language; it includes considering cultural differences, search engine algorithms, and geographic location to optimise your content for search engines and attract more traffic.

The Importance of Localisation in SEO

Localisation plays a significant role in the success of your international SEO strategy. Localising your content can improve the user experience, increase engagement, and drive traffic to your website. Here are some of the reasons why localisation is crucial in international SEO:

Better User Experience: Localising your content can help create a better user experience for your local audience. By adapting your website and content to the local culture, language, and preferences, you can create a more personalised experience for your target audience.

Improved Search Engine Rankings: Localisation can also help you improve your rankings. Search engines, including Google and other search engines, use a range of signals to determine the relevance and authority of a website. By localising your content, you can send positive signals to search engines that your website is relevant and valuable to the local audience.

Targeting Local Search Engines: Localising your content can also help you to target local search engines. Local search engines like Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia, and Naver in South Korea have different algorithms and preferences than global search engines. You can improve your visibility in local search results by adapting your content to local search engines.

Factors to Consider in Localisation

To effectively localise your content, there are several factors you need to consider, including:

Cultural Differences: Cultural differences can significantly impact how the local audience perceives your content. For example, colours, symbols, and images may have different meanings in different cultures. You must know these cultural nuances and adjust your content accordingly to avoid misunderstandings or offensive content.

Language Differences: Language differences can also pose a challenge in localisation. You need to ensure accurate and high-quality translation to maintain the integrity of your content. Machine translation may not be sufficient, and it’s essential to use professional translation services.

Search Engine Algorithms: Search engine algorithms can vary across regions and languages. You need to understand the preferences and requirements of local search engines to ensure that your content is optimised for local search results.

Geographic Location: The geographic location of your target audience can also influence how you localise your content. For example, the same language may be spoken differently in different regions. You need to consider these differences when localising your content to ensure it’s relevant and resonates with your target audience.

Best Practices for Localisation in SEO

To effectively localise your content for your target audience, there are some best practices you need to follow. These include:

Conduct Keyword Research: Keyword research is crucial in local and international SEO. Identifying the valuable keywords your target audience uses to search for your products or services is essential. You can use tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to conduct keyword research.

Implement International Friendly URL Structure: Your URL structure should reflect your international SEO efforts. You can use language targeting in your URLs to help search engines understand the language of your content and improve your international SEO efforts.

Build a Link Building Strategy: Link building is an essential aspect of SEO. Building high-quality backlinks from local websites can improve your search engine rankings and attract more traffic.

Benefits of Optimising Content for Locals

Optimising your content for locals has several benefits that can positively impact your business. This section will explore the advantages of implementing an international SEO strategy considering localisation.

A. Improved User Experience

One of the primary benefits of localisation in SEO is that it enhances the user experience for your audience. Creating relevant and relatable content for your local audience increases engagement and makes your website more user-friendly.

For example, suppose you’re a clothing brand that sells winter clothes globally. In that case, you might have a different product line for people living in colder climates, such as Canada, Russia, or Northern Europe, compared to a product line designed for people living in warmer climates, such as Africa or South America. By optimising your content for locals, you can tailor your product descriptions, images, and pricing to suit the needs and preferences of each audience.

In addition to relevant content, a user-friendly website is crucial in providing an excellent user experience. A localised website should have an easy-to-use interface and well-structured navigation to help users quickly find what they want.

B. Better Search Engine Rankings

Optimising your content for locals can also help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engines like Google consider several factors, including user location and language preferences, when determining the relevance of a website to a search query.

Suppose your website is optimised for local SEO and includes valuable keywords in your content that your target audience is searching for. In that case, your website will rank higher in local search engines like Yandex for Russia or Baidu for China.

Furthermore, by implementing international SEO best practices, you can increase your website’s visibility on Google, Bing, and other search engines. This can lead to higher click-through rates and more traffic to your website.

C. Increased Customer Engagement

By localising your content, you can improve customer engagement with your brand. When your website’s content is relevant and relatable to your audience, you build trust and credibility with them, increasing customer loyalty.

Moreover, implementing an international-friendly URL structure and language targeting can improve the user experience and ensure your content is easily accessible to your target audience.

By implementing an effective link-building strategy, you can also attract traffic to your website from authoritative sources, increasing your website’s credibility and boosting your rankings on search engines.

Best Practices for International SEO

When it comes to international SEO, there are some best practices that you should follow to optimise your content for locals. These practices will help you create a strong online presence, improve your visibility and increase traffic to your website.

A. Conduct thorough market research

Before you start any international SEO efforts, conducting thorough market research to identify your target multiple countries and their local search engines is important. You should also research your competitors to understand their strategies and identify gaps you can exploit. This will help you create a strong international SEO strategy that aligns with your business objectives.

B. Translate and localise content

To optimise your content for locals, you need to translate and localise it. This means considering cultural nuances and idioms that may translate poorly into other languages. You should also use local search terms relevant to your target international visitors. For example, if you’re targeting a Spanish-speaking audience, you should use “zapatos” instead of “shoes”.

C. Implement geotargeting

Geotargeting is a technique that enables you to serve different content to users based on their geographic location. This can help you create a more personalised user experience and improve your chances of ranking higher in local search engines. You can implement geotargeting using various techniques, such as IP address targeting or through your website’s Google Search Console settings.

D. Create a localised domain

Creating a localised domain can help you build trust with your local audience and improve your chances of ranking higher in local search engines. For example, if you’re targeting a French-speaking audience, consider using a “.fr” domain extension instead of a “.com” extension.

E. Build high-quality backlinks from local websites

Link building is an essential part of any international SEO strategy. To build high-quality backlinks, you should create valuable content that appeals to your target audience. You can also reach out to local websites and request a link back to your website.

Challenges in International SEO

When expanding your business to international markets, it’s essential to consider the unique challenges of international SEO. These challenges may include technical issues, language barriers, and cultural differences.

A. Technical Challenges

One common technical challenge in international SEO is the issue of duplicate content. Search engines may need to know which page to show in search results if your website has identical content across multiple pages. To avoid this, you can use canonical tags or hreflang tags to indicate which version of the content is the primary one. Hreflang tags also help show search engines which page version should be shown to users in different countries and languages.

B. Language Barriers

Language is another challenge in international SEO. One major issue is ensuring that translations of your content are accurate and effective. Machine translations often result in awkward or incorrect phrasing, negatively impacting your brand image. Working with professional translators or translation services is essential to ensure your content is accurately translated and localised for your target audience.

C. Cultural Differences

Cultural differences can also pose a challenge in international SEO. Specific topics or phrases acceptable in one culture may need to be better received in another. Additionally, the tone of voice and style used in your content may need to be adapted to better suit the cultural norms of your target audience. It’s important to conduct thorough research and work with local experts to ensure that your content is culturally sensitive and appropriate.

Navigating these challenges can be difficult, but it’s essential to the success of your international SEO efforts. By addressing these challenges and implementing best practices, you can optimise your content for locals and attract valuable traffic from your target markets.

Unlocking the Power of International SEO: Optimising Content for Local Audiences

In conclusion, international SEO is crucial for businesses that want to expand their reach and tap into new markets. Optimising your content for locals can significantly improve your user experience, search engine rankings, and customer engagement. By understanding the importance of localisation in SEO, implementing best practices, and overcoming challenges, you can successfully reach your target audience in different countries and grow your business globally.

It is important to remember that international SEO is a continuous process and requires ongoing efforts to stay up-to-date with changes in search engine algorithms and user behaviour. By keeping your international SEO strategy in line with the latest best practices and staying vigilant of technical and cultural challenges, you can succeed in the international market and reap the rewards of increased traffic and revenue rewards.

In today’s global economy, businesses must adapt to the needs of their international audience to stay competitive. By investing in international SEO efforts and optimising content for locals, you can establish a strong online presence, build customer trust and grow your brand globally.

Our awards.

More brands that we’ve helped.

Featured insights from our team.

Get in touch.

We’d love to hear what you’re up to and how we can help.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.