International SEO

International SEO refers to optimizing a website so that search engines can easily identify which countries it targets and which languages it uses for business.

This is crucial for businesses operating in multiple countries and languages. It involves implementing technical SEO strategies that cater to various geographic and language-specific audiences.

Hreflang tag

The hreflang tag is an HTML attribute that indicates to search engines the linguistic and geographical targeting of a webpage. When a website contains content in multiple languages or variants for different regions, the hreflang tag helps search engines serve the most relevant version to users based on their language preference and location.


Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) are domain extensions specific to individual countries (e.g., .fr for France, .jp for Japan). These are powerful signals to search engines that a website targets users in a particular country.

Subdirectories with gTLDs

Global Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) are domain extensions not specific to any country (e.g., .com, .org, .net). Subdirectories within these domains can be used to target particular countries or languages (e.g., for French content), usually accompanied by hreflang tags for clearer targeting.

Subdomains with gTLDs

Similar to subdirectories, subdomains on gTLDs (e.g., can also be employed for international targeting. Subdomains may be seen as separate entities by search engines, which can be advantageous for managing different language versions of a website.

International sitemaps

An international sitemap is an XML sitemap that lists URLs along with their associated hreflang tags and other international parameters. This enables search engines to crawl and index language or region-specific versions of a website more effectively.

Content localization

Content localization goes beyond simple translation, it involves adapting content to suit the cultural context and societal norms of the target audience. This includes local references, currency, units of measure, and other locational nuances.

Read more in our guide on keyword optimization here


By using various signals such as server location, IP address recognition, and explicit declarations in Google Search Console, SEO professionals can geo-target to focus on users from specific regions or countries, optimizing local search results.

Search engine market share

Understanding the search engine market share in the target country is a critical aspect of International SEO. Different regions may have a preference for search engines other than Google, such as Baidu in China or Yandex in Russia, and thus, SEO strategies have to be tailored accordingly.

Automated currency converter

An automated currency converter can enhance the user experience for an international audience by displaying prices in the visitor’s local currency, potentially increasing conversion rates.

By implementing these elements of International SEO, businesses can ensure that their websites are fully optimized to attract and engage international audiences, comply with search engine requirements for multiple regions, and ultimately achieve better visibility and rankings on a global scale.


Why is International SEO important for businesses?

International SEO allows businesses to reach a global audience by optimizing their website for different languages and regions, increasing visibility and attracting more targeted traffic from around the world.

What are some key elements of International SEO strategies?

Key elements of International SEO strategies include implementing hreflang tags, using ccTLDs or subdirectories with gTLDs for country-specific targeting, creating international sitemaps, content localization, geo-targeting, understanding search engine market share, and employing automated currency converters.

How can businesses improve their international search engine rankings?

Businesses can improve their international search engine rankings by conducting thorough keyword research for each target country, creating high-quality localized content, building reputable backlinks from international websites, monitoring and analyzing performance metrics, and continuously optimizing their International SEO strategies based on data-driven insights.

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