Many B2Bs today are not just confined to the United States, and target customers from across the world. But, when it comes to SEO, how can you effectively optimize your website in order to improve your organic visibility in other countries? Here are some things to keep in mind when building and implementing your B2B’s international SEO strategy:
- It should be clear for users and Google to understand that a certain page is meant for visitors located in a particular country or speaking a specific language. Make sure that your site’s content, URLs, title tags, menu items, etc. are all translated to the appropriate language. Having a mix of English alongside a foreign language will confuse users as well as search engines.
- Use country or language specific URLs. Three main options for this are:
- Country or language specific sub-domains (fr.example.com) are ideal for targeting based on language rather than country (i.e. if you are targeting French speakers, not just people in France).
- Country code top-level domains (example.fr) are typically the best option if you want to target your site to users in a particular country.
- Sub-directories (example.com/fr/) are usually the easiest to implement and manage but the least effective from an SEO standpoint.
- Utilize Google Webmaster Tools to submit a unique xml sitemap for each site and set the country targeting preferences accordingly.
- Use page-level markup to indicate to search engine crawlers that there are alternate versions of a particular web page based on language variations. For example, hreflang tags and rel=”alternate” tags can be used to indicate that the French version of a page should be shown to visitors using Google in French.
- Make it easy for users to switch back and forth between the different versions of your website. That way, if they happen to land on the English version, they will intuitively be able to switch to the version most relevant to them.
- From grammar and usability to keyword choice, target your content as specifically as you can to your foreign audiences. While the easiest way to create foreign websites is to make exact copies of your English website that are just translated into different languages, you could end up selling yourself short in this scenario. By taking the time to do separate keyword research for the specific location or language, you may discover different ways of wording your content that would be more effective.
- Since the IP location of a domain is one of Google’s many ranking factors, consider hosting your foreign sites locally in the various locations.
- Don’t forget about off-site SEO factors. Are other websites in those countries linking to your site? Are people in those countries interacting with your content on social media?
Setting up and maintaining a successful international SEO strategy isn’t easy, but keeping these tactics in mind from the beginning can help put you on the path to success. Does your B2B target visitors from other countries? Let us know what strategies are working well for you!