International SEO works by first determining who is your target audience, your website users are and then deciding if taking a targeted approach to SEO is worthwhile. Check your site’s international traffic, organic search visibility from other countries and the volume and types of keyword searches that are taking place by your target audience.
The first step that international SEO calls for is determining how a website’s domain should appear for its country- or language-specific content. There are mainly three main domain types that international SEO can make use of: country-code top-level domains, subdomains and subfolders or subdirectories.
Country-code top-level domain names that end in two-letter country codes, such as example.es, are generally best for targeting users from a specific country. Subdirectories like example.com/es are best for targeting speakers of a given language wherever they happen to be located across the globe. Subdomains such as es.example.com are not recommended as they’re seen by Google as a separate website which have to build up their own authority.
International SEO usually also involves the customization of content in order to make it both appealing and familiar to a target demographic or region. This can also extend beyond language. Many regions and cultures have starkly divergent tendencies when it comes to everything from customs to humor. Making sure that your website is appropriate to your targeted region or user group, both in terms of language and message, can go a long way towards successfully attracting traffic from targeted locales.
Websites that field multiple requests within very short timeframes or that have diverse user bases that are located across the globe may benefit enormously from what is known as a content delivery network. At their most basic, CDNs are a sort of webpage syndicator, allowing people across the globe to be served a site’s webpage by a local server rather than an internationally located server. This can significantly reduce loading times, greatly helping retention.