Webmasters often talk about international SEO as if it were a completely different animal than regular SEO. They host conferences, they have international SEO webinars, they buy (and write) eBooks and so on and so forth. But at the end of the day, is international SEO really that different?
Let’s take a look.
The Language Issue
If your website isn’t in the language of the searcher, chances are you aren’t going to show up at all. In order to rank, you need to have your website(s) translated.
This is one of the big differences between international and national SEO. How do you write content that’s high quality and has personality, in a completely different tongue? How do you make sure the new piece of content has all the idioms, analogies, metaphors and examples written in a way that captivates attention? How do you make sure the cultural references that make sense in the United States are replaced with cultural references that make sense in whatever language you’re now talking to?
Creating content for another language isn’t just a matter of finding someone to translate your US content to your international language. Most translation firms simply do straight translations, where they take the English phrase and directly transpose it to another language.
In order to create high quality content that gets backlinks, you must get the language issue resolved.
In international SEO, a lot of people spend a lot of time on the infrastructure. They talk about how, when and why to buy local domains and TLDs. They talk about the benefits of a local domain versus creating a subdomain for another country. They talk about putting multi-language sites on the same TLD in different subfolders.
All this is valuable information, but it’s not where the important distinctions are. Anyone can buy a foreign TLD or setup a subdomain. This does not tell Google anything about whether or not you have quality content. All it tells Google is that your site is meant to be in a specific country.
These factors are good to pay attention to, but they’re not what will determine your ranking.