Search Engine Optimization

International SEO fundamentals for multinational and multilingual websites

If you want to take your business to international market and expand online presence of your business then the international SEO process would prove to be the best way to grow and reach the targeted markets. But you need understanding the crucial steps of international SEO to become successful in your efforts.

Let’s discuss what it needs to start international SEO process

  1. The research

The process starts with initial research that will help in setting targets. The research includes validating the starting point and determining potential of the site for international markets.

Your current international organic search status

The first step is to determine visibility of your business on international organic search, traffic, conversion and conversion rate. Answer the following question to find search volume and conversion.

  • Countries and languages in which your business is visible
  • Volume of traffic from different markets
  • Keywords used to target selected markets
  • Web pages that got maximum hits
  • Organic search CTR and conversion rate of traffic from targeted markets
  • Conversion volume and of each targeted market

By answering these questions, you can identify the countries and language markets where your business has visibility. Also you can determine trend and behavior of the international visitors from the identified markets.

If you see a relatively high or medium visibility with a positive trend or above quality conversion on organic search, you should validate these markets for their potential for organic search. But if you see a downward trend then you shouldn’t feel discouraged. You should move ahead on the next step that is organic search volume of the markets. If you find potential in the markets then you should collect more resources to improve visibility of your business.

Your international organic search potential

In second step you need assessing the potential of each country and language market that you identified in the first step.

Collect following data to assess potential of each targeted market

  • Find relevant keywords and phrases used by international visitors to search information on your business
  • Determine organic search volume of each keyword
  • Level of competition for the keywords
  • Your current search engine ranking for those keywords

You start with the keywords on which your business is already visible and then move on to others.

  1. Targeting

Find the countries and language markets where your website is visible on organic search. Also find whether these keywords can compensate your efforts on international SEO. Use the keywords in international SEO, if you find positive trends.

In case, you find that no country specific market has enough organic search volume for your business, you can target the language market. Volume of country specific market could be too low to start SEO but the volume could be higher in language markets in the targeted countries. Start targeting language market, when you are certain that country specific search volume won’t affect your business.

For example, an ecommerce site can be benefitted by location specific search than a software service that targets language markets. Amazon is a good example of location search and Skype is of language market.

This method will help in achieving the desired search volume and conversion rate before you migrate to the country specific markets to maximize probabilities of your site to connect with targeted audiences.

What you need doing is to change the site to country or language specific market depending on potential and limitations of your website.

  1. The optimization

Once the keywords are selected and the market (country and language) is identified, it is time to optimize to make the site visible for search engine spiders. Make it crawlable and indexable by removing elements that can result in misalignment issues with the site. Follow the best practices and recommendations for targeting country and language specific markets.

Wrapping up the international SEO fundamentals

International SEO needs intense research for locating relevant keywords and targeting markets and it also needs strict implementation of strategies made after studying the targeted markets and behavior of the visitors. Success in international SEO can be achieved only by taking calculated moves and avoiding mistakes.


International markets have high potential for business development and expansion. These markets can be divided into geographical and linguistic. It is for the SEO to determine which market to target and the best practices to be followed to achieve success.


Udit Khanna is a Digital Marketing Course professional at Expert Training Institute, an expert in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Social Media, etc. who helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Udit worked as a marketing professional for various startups and tech companies. He graduated with B.Sc from IGNOU with a dual degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Finance).

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