What Is International SEO?

International SEO is an optimization process in such a way that your brand, website, or product gets more traffic from overseas. It helps in managing your Search Engine Optimization settings making it globally effective i.e. International customers get attracted to it.

Different companies opt for International SEO because well, it gives them – Name (Brand Building), Fame (Again Brand Building), and Money (Well, that’s the whole point of business, right?). See, the thing is that keywords, SEO tricks, and all the things you are doing for your website in your targeted region may or may not work in another region, that’s where International SEO comes into play.

What comes in International SEO?

Before going for International SEO, make up your mind after proper research – are you ready to go international? This is a self-reflective question based on your current position in the market. Think about it! Read your website’s stats reports on Google Analytics and Search Console to assess the current position. Now if you are ready then the question arises- where to begin? Worry not, we will take you through this step by step.

1. Keyword Research

Research the keywords which are generating huge traffic in your location. Because people who will visit your website will first enter keywords in the search engine and then the search engine will show the results. But guess what, search engines list the site based on the user’s location and keywords, so if your content is not optimized according to that particular location, then nothing will happen. So research the keywords according to your location.

2. Website Structure Is The Backbone

How will your existing customers and new customers know that you are there for ‘them’ in other regions and languages also? Well, you have to do something unique and provide them the satisfaction that you are thinking about their language/country. That’s where website structure comes into play.

Websites structure clearly states whether the site belongs to that region or not. For example, - it clearly states that it is for United States’ citizens – it also clearly states that is for United States’ citizens
and there are other versions too – we will talk about them in the following points.


It is a top-ranking method for search engines to locate your site. Here you buy country-code top-level domain belonging to a particular country.

Examples: - for India – for The United Kingdom

Sub-directories or Subdomains

These are easy to set up and provide hosting flexibility. Example of subdomain geotagging is: – subdomain - subdirectory

These methods are much preferred because this way you don’t need to make changes in your main domain. You just have to work with subdomains based on the areas you are targeting. It also gives you freedom from making in-depth pages which can confuse your visitors and make your website messy.

But there are some cons too, they are not as strong geo-tagging partners as CCTLDs. And you have to make particular sub-directories as per the region and language you are targeting.


3. Never Forget the Language Targeting

Well, think about this, you have designed your website according to a particular region and it is really good but you are using the language of ‘your’ region. Where does that leave people living in your targeted area but don't know your language, they will go to other sites which provide content in ‘their’ language.

That’s where language optimization comes in. Many people tend to structure their website according to language rather than area. A language-based structure can also follow CCTLDs and Subdomains/Subdirectories methods. Language specifications will include the following things:

hreflang Tag

This tag is used by Google to specify which version of your webpage will be shown to user based on the language and country you have specified in it.

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en-US" />

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="ar-AE" />

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en-AE" />

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en-AM" />

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="de-AT" />

Above example will give you an idea, how to structure your website for a large number of areas and languages. Google will automatically show the relevant version of the web page to the user.

There is one thing though, don’t depend on auto-translation. They are not so good and not that much user-friendly that they can engage them. So go for manual translations for each language.

X-Default Tag

It is used when the area or language of the user doesn’t match any one of the terms specified in the page. In this case, they will be given a default page. This is good for crawling your site and gives you a strong impression in front of search engine crawlers.

4. Google Search Console is Your Friend

Google Search Console allows you to select your targeted country. That means the country you want to primarily target – Google will show your website in that country specifically. This is good and can be used for your benefit. Also, Google Search Console allows you to check whether your language tags are working properly or not. You can access Google Search Console from Here


International SEO is an in-depth process. It is very highly rewarding if done properly. So first go through these points, then find the strategies which can work for you. See, every business has its own strategy and that’s what makes the site rank. Also, don’t forget to register your business on Google Business and Bing Business. This will give you an edge and reach customers around the world. For more SEO Learning tips keep following us. I hope you reach a lot of users worldwide. Till then, keep working. Keep earning.

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Thirumalesh Prasad C G

Written by Thirumalesh Prasad C G

Thirumalesh Prasad C G (Thiru) is an entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO of Inboundsys, India's No.1 Hubspot partner agency, and an IT services company. Before starting Inboundsys, Thiru has had 12 years of experience working for various multinational IT products and services companies in India and abroad. He has been a significant member and worked as a user interface architect in designing the user interface for many web applications and products. In addition to running Inboundsys, he is also an advisory board member in a couple of other design studios and digital marketing agencies. He is a passionate blogger and a writer who loves writing on digital marketing, inbound marketing, lifestyle, philosophy, positive thinking, and motivation.

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