1. Identify your International SEO Potential
1.1. Validate your company characteristics from an international perspective:
Web content & development, Web goals, business model, company operations, geography, cultural & language factors, pricing & currency factors.
1.2. Take into consideration your current site International activity:
Use Google Analytics: Visits, conversions and conversion rate. Country & language. Volume & trend. Keywords & Pages. Traffic sources.
1.3. Identify your site current international search visibility:
Use Google Search Console: Impressions, clicks & ctr. Country. Volume & trend. Queries & Pages.
1.4. Research your international industry search activity:
Search engines. Country & language. Devices. Competitors. Keywords. Search volume, trend & seasonality.
1.5. Verify the number of conversions & visits for break-even:
You can use the International SEO ROI Calculator.
2. Target your International Search Audience
2.1. Set your International Target:
Country Target if your visitors location is a factor that influence your site operations and there are enough potential traffic and conversions per country. If not, language target.
2.2. Understand your International Audience behavior & characteristics:
Demographic characteristics, cultural factors, online buying preferences. Use tools and studies like TNS Digital life, ComsCore data mine and SimilarWeb.
2.3. Research your International Competitors:
Most popular products & content, unique selling proposition, weaknesses & strengths, other marketing activities, online community. Use Alexa, rnkrnk and Similar Web.
2.4. Define your International SEO Strategy:
With the previously identified information you can set the best SEO strategy, the keywords & pages to promote and define goals to target for each International market.
3. Develop an Internationally Optimized Site
3.1. Make your International content indexable with its own Web structure:
- For country targeting: ccTLDs (the ideal), Sub-Directories or Sub-Domains to target each country.
- For language targeting: Sub-Directories or Sub-Domains to target each language.
3.2. Create / Localize / Translate your International Website:
- Titles, meta desriptions, headings, navigation, text content and images, URLs, prices, currency, delivery information, etc.
- Get native help to avoid translation mistakes and make Web attractive for the targeted market.
3.3. Make your International Web versions easily findable:
Featuring a visible and crawlable menu and by suggesting your International versions when they're relevant, not automatically redirecting users.
3.4. Indicate your pages language and country targeting:
- Through hreflang annotations: Whether in your HTMLs head area and also or through your XML sitemaps. Use the hreflang generator tool to easily obtain the html tags with the right attributes for your country and language. Use the Media Flow hreflang tool to add them in your XML sitemap.
- You can also specify the "content-language" meta tag or html "lang", used by Bing.
- Additionally, if you're country targeting and using a subdirectory or subdomain under a gTLD (.com, .net, .info, etc.), use Google Search Console geolocation feature for each one of them.
4. Grow your International Search Popularity
4.1. Research your international competitors link building strategies:
Identify their link sources and the existing popularity gap.
- Link volume, sources & types. Linked content. Link quality vs. quantity. Link trend over time. Social Activity & Profile.
- Keep in mind than competition is usually lower than in the US.
- Use CognitiveSEO, Open Site Explorer, Majestic, Ahrefs.
4.2. Research your international audience profile:
Identify their behavior and characteristics to be able to connect with them.
- Favorite content topics & formats. Most popular social networks. Favorite media & blogs. Industry influencers.
- Use Buzzsumo & Followerwonk.
5. Grow your International Search Popularity
5.1. Create & promote useful and easy to consume assets to connect and build popularity among your International audience:
- Learn to leverage local sites & cultural factors. Track the response behavior in different countries. Build a relationship with local influencers & media. Identify what works better in each country to scale.
- Always have native support & validation for strategy & outreach.
- Use Pitchbox, Kerboo, Link Prospector, Buzzstream.
5.2. Align your company's activities for link building:
Your current product, content, marketing and even, operations activities to connect with your international audience.
5.3. Learn quick, be constant to become an authority:
Win the popularity race against your competitors by learning quick to connect with your audience, optimizing and being constant with your link building actions to become an authority in your international industries.
6. Measure your International SEO activity
6.1. Track your International Web presence independently:
Set each Web version in Google Search Console & rank tracking software for the relevant search engine. Enable profiles for sub-directories & sub-domains in Google Analytics. Create independent properties for each ccTLD.
6.2. Research your search visibility, performance & visitors behavior to make decisions:
Gather, segment and analyze the relevant metrics for each international Web version:
- Keywords & pages. Language, location, device & sources of traffic. Rankings, visits, conversions.
- Pay special attention to currency settings, cross-domain tracking, country & language traffic alignment.
6.3. More International Web Analytics:
7. Check your International SEO ROICalculate your International SEO process ROI by using the calculations from Himanshu Sharma:
7.1. By Number of Conversions:
7.2. By Number of Visits:
Or use the The International SEO ROI Calculator to do it easily here.
8. Now you know an International SEO process steps!
Other resources that you might find useful for your international SEO process are: