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    International SEO

    international SEO

    Table of Contents

    Are you about to expand your business abroad or have you already gained experience in optimizing your website for the Dutch market? Then it’s time to get acquainted with international SEO. While you may already be familiar with the basics of search engine optimization, the international variant involves a bit more.

    International SEO is not just about translating content or choosing the right keywords with international keyword research. It requires a deep knowledge of local markets, an understanding of cultural nuances, and the skill to structure your website so that it is easily found everywhere in the world.

    These are essential components of an effective international SEO strategy. So let’s take a look at what international search engine optimization entails and how best to approach it.

    What is International SEO?

    International SEO, or international search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website for users in different countries and in different languages. This helps to make your site visible in the international market and improves your rankings in search engines outside the Netherlands.

    Within international SEO, we distinguish between multilingual SEO and multiregional SEO. Multilingual SEO focuses on offering content in different languages for users who share the same geographic location, while multiregional SEO targets different geographic regions, each with their specific needs and search behaviors.

    Multilingual SEO

    Multilingual SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website for users who speak different languages, but may live in the same country or region. This type of SEO is essential if you want to reach a broad and diverse audience within a country or region where multiple languages are spoken.

    Imagine you have a website that targets Belgium, a country where Dutch, French, and Flemish are spoken. An effective multilingual SEO strategy would ensure that your content is available in all these languages and that each version is optimized for the specific keywords relevant to the speakers of those languages.

    Multiregional SEO

    Multiregional SEO goes a step further by not only targeting multiple languages but also multiple regions or countries. This is particularly relevant for businesses offering their products or services in different countries, where each market has specific needs and search behaviors.

    An example of multiregional SEO could be a website that is active in both Spain and Mexico. While both countries speak Spanish, there will be differences in the terminology used, search habits, and cultural references.

    A multiregional SEO strategy takes these differences into account and adjusts the website content accordingly to ensure optimal visibility and relevance in each specific market.

    The Importance of a Good International SEO Strategy

    A strong international SEO strategy is crucial for businesses that want to grow globally. By optimizing your website for different countries and languages, you can reach a significantly larger audience, leading to more traffic, more leads, and ultimately more sales.

    International SEO not only helps in improving visibility in search engines in different countries but also enhances the overall user experience by providing content that is culturally and linguistically tailored to the audience of each specific country. This fosters user trust and engagement, which is essential for building a sustainable online presence.

    Furthermore, an effective international SEO approach ensures that your website is not only found but also understood and appreciated by people from different cultures, strengthening your brand and helping you stand out in a saturated market.

    Why is SEO in Other Countries Different from the Netherlands?

    SEO in other countries differs for several reasons from SEO in the Netherlands. These differences are mainly due to variations in language, culture, search intentions, and the use of different search engines.

    Language differences mean that certain keywords and sentence structures that are effective in Dutch may not resonate with or even be understood by non-Dutch speakers. Therefore, when targeting an international audience, thorough research into local keywords and expressions is essential.

    Cultural differences can also have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. What is considered persuasive or appealing in one country may be seen as irrelevant or even inappropriate in another. Therefore, understanding cultural nuances and adapting your content accordingly is crucial.

    Furthermore, search intentions can vary by country. What people in the Netherlands search for on the internet may be different from what people in Japan or Brazil are looking for. This means that you need to adjust not only your keywords but also the content you produce to meet local needs.

    Finally, the use of search engines varies from country to country. While Google is dominant globally, some countries have local search engines that are more popular, such as Baidu in China or Yandex in Russia. Knowledge of and optimization for these search engines is essential for successful international SEO.

    The Key SEO Elements for International Visibility

    To be successful in international SEO, there are specific elements that require extra attention. These elements are also important for national SEO, but in the context of an international strategy, they play a crucial role in how effectively your website performs in different international markets.

    In the following sections, we will delve deeper into some of the most crucial aspects of international SEO: implementing an international site structure, optimizing on-page SEO elements for different countries, and building a local backlink profile.

    1. Implementing an International Site Structure

    One of the first steps in expanding your website to international markets is to think about the structure of the site. The way you structure your international website can have a significant impact on SEO results.

    There are several ways to approach this, depending on your business goals and the specific markets you are targeting. Each of these methods has its own benefits, making it important to think carefully before rolling out an international SEO strategy.

    • Subfolders: Using subfolders for each language or region on your main domain (e.g., www.yoursite.com/en/ for England) is an effective way to organize content without the need for multiple domains.
    • Subdomains: Creating separate subdomains for each region (e.g., en.yoursite.com for English content) can be useful if the markets are very distinctive and need to be managed separately. Read more about subdomains and subfolders for international SEO here.
    • ccTLDs: Country-specific top-level domains (e.g., www.yoursite.de for Germany) can signal to both users and search engines that the site is specifically targeted at that country, which can help with local search engine rankings.
    • URL parameters: Although less common, URL parameters can be used to denote region-specific versions of a page. However, this is usually not preferred due to potential confusion and complexity in management.

    2. Optimizing On-page SEO for Different Countries

    Just like with SEO at the national level, it is crucial to optimize the on-page elements, such as titles, meta descriptions, and content, for the language and culture of the country you are targeting. This includes adjusting your content to local cultural nuances and ensuring that the language usage matches what is locally customary.

    3. Building a Local Backlink Profile

    Obtaining backlinks from websites that are relevant within a specific region can greatly help in improving your SEO performance in that region. Building a strong local backlink profile, possibly with the help of local partners and influential sites, is a powerful way to build authority and trust with local search engines.

    Important Considerations for International SEO

    When setting up an international SEO strategy, there are several matters that require special attention. These considerations are crucial for the success of your strategy and must be carefully implemented.

    Translating Content is Not Enough

    Simply translating content is not enough to meet the needs of users in different countries. Localization, the process of adapting your content to the cultural and social context of a specific country, is essential here. This involves not only adjusting the language but also taking into account local customs, cultural differences, and the specific search intentions in a region or country.

    Ensure Correct Implementation of hreflang Tags

    Correctly implementing hreflang and canonical tags is essential for multiregional and multilingual sites. These tags help search engines understand which version of a page is most relevant for a specific region or language, ensuring that users see content that is intended for them. Correct implementation improves the user experience and enhances SEO results.

    Opt for a Generic Top-Level Domain

    For businesses looking to expand internationally, opting for a generic top-level domain (gTLD) such as .com or .org from the start can be a wise choice.

    A gTLD has no specific geographic association and can therefore be more easily adapted for international users. This is especially useful if you later decide to expand into new markets.

    Consider Cultural Differences

    Understanding and respecting cultural differences is crucial in international SEO. What works in one country may be ineffective or even offensive in another. A thorough knowledge of the target markets helps you create content that resonates with local users and builds trust with your international audience.

    For Which Countries Do We Offer International SEO?

    At Space’M Online, we offer comprehensive SEO services for various target countries like a international SEO audit. While our expertise primarily lies in the field of SEO within Europe, our services also extend to markets outside Europe, enabling us to support a wide range of businesses in their international growth.

    Our team of SEO experts has extensive experience working in various markets and understands the unique challenges and opportunities each country offers. Is the country you want to expand to not listed? Feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities and opportunities.

    Whether you want to increase your presence in the European market or explore new opportunities in the United States, Space’M Online has the expertise to improve your website rankings and boost your sales and leads.

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