What is International SEO (ISEO)?

International SEOInternational SEO (also called ISEO) incorporates the methods, tactics, and processes used to optimize a website to rank in the organic search results of a search engine like Google or Bing in specific target countries. The simple purpose is to attract visitors to your website from multiple countries, provide them with compelling content, and then to affect a conversion (a sale or a lead). Studies by Cisco Systems demonstrate that 56% of the internet’s content is in English, but only 27% of its users come from English-speaking countries. Accessing the non-English speaking market allows you to potentially more than double audience and growth. Accessing the English-speaking market outside the United States has even more potential for growth.

The Basic Steps to International SEO Success.

  1. Create a Strategic Plan

The basic steps to an International SEO plan primarily follow the same steps to developing a national SEO Plan.  A good primer on developing an SEO plan can be found in this article on MOZ. The primary difference is that you are usually working in a completely different language dependent on the target country.  Even when working in other English-speaking countries you need to develop and follow a strategy for content unique for each target nation.

  1. International Keyword Research

The best way to conduct international keyword research is to travel to your target country. However, that’s not often practicable. Fortunately, there are several resources available to give you access to the world of internationally used phrases at your fingertips without the cost of a plane ticket. This article in Search Engine Journal will show you 5 tools for just that purpose.

  1. Review and Approve International keywords

This process can benefit from the assistance of a translator.  Keywords aren’t always as they appear especially when we add in colloquialisms and jargon.

  1. Develop Content Plan and Identify Authors

What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your strategy. Identify authors by beginning auditions and have native speaking editors review and comment on the content quality.

  1. Provide Instructions for Multilingual SEO Authors (i.e. Provide Basic SEO Training)

Writing for SEO can vary from other types of writing. Provide the authors with basic SEO training to ensure that keyword stuffing is not used, and that solid SEO writing techniques are applied.

  1. Insure Use of On-Page SEO Optimization Methods (Title, Meta, Keyword Density, Alt Tags etc.)

Just because we’re writing in a different language doesn’t mean that we don’t follow SEO 101 for on-page optimization.

  1. Verify Content Uniqueness (i.e. Check for Plagiarism /Duplicate Content Issues)

This is self-explanatory, but it’s even more important to run these checks when the content you are reviewing isn’t in your native tongue.

  1. Create Technical Plan/Strategy Employing International Silos of Content Consistently

How you are going to present this content is extremely important.  Are you going to use a subdomain approach (country.yourcompany.com), subdirectory approach (yourcompany.com/country/content) or top-level domain approach (yourcompany.com.uk)? These decisions need to be determined before you begin.

  1. Create Localized Web Pages Within Silos

Do you have locations/offices in other countries? Utilizing them in the design and content silos is important.

  1. Develop Content Flow Approval and QA Process

Who are the stakeholders? How is the content flow going to be approved? Translated? Reviewed?

  1. Implement Ongoing Multilingual Content Development Strategy

Again, self-explanatory

  1. Implement Technical SEO Best practices Throughout the Site

Self-explanatory, thought best practices do change over time, and it is important to stay on top of best practices in order to give your website the best opportunities in your most important keyword spaces.

International SEO

What Are the Benefits of International SEO?

In the opening of this article we looked at a few numbers, and why opening to International languages can expand your opportunities online, but here are some of the key the benefits to using SEO Internationally.


  1. The Results are Low Cost (In Comparison to AdWords and PPC)
  2. Definite Increase in Traffic
  3. Higher Brand Credibility Because People Generally Trust Google
  4. Typically Better ROI (Return on Investment) Than Normal Ads
  5. Your Competitors Are Doing It
  6. Takes Your Business to the Next Level
  7. With 250 Million Websites on the Web, ISEO Makes You Stand Out
  8. 60% Of Clicks Go to the First Organic Result
  9. You’ll Have Access to Data to Guide Your Web Development and Marketing Teams
  10. Long-term Results

Get Started Today

International SEO is just a part of our comprehensive list of SEO Services. We hope you found this useful as you make your decisions regarding your International Search Engine Optimization strategy.  If you are in need of assistance on your international SEO, please fill out a form and we’ll be glad to provide you with a free consultation regarding your project.