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1. Identify your International SEO Potential

Validate your company characteristics from an international perspective:

Web content & development, Web goals, business model, company operations, geography, cultural & language factors, pricing & currency factors.

Take into consideration your current site International activity:

Visits, conversions and conversion rate. Country & language. Volume & trend. Keywords & Pages. Traffic sources. Use Google Analytics.

Identify your site current international search visibility:

Impressions, clicks & ctr. Country. Volume & trend. Queries & Pages. Use Google Webmaster Tools.

Research your international industry search activity:

Search engines. Country & language. Devices. Competitors. Keywords. Search volume, trend & seasonality.

Verify the number of conversions & visits for break-even:

You can use the International SEO ROI Calculator.

2. Target your International Search Audience

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.

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 Google's GDN Research.

Research your International Competitors:

Most popular products & content, unique selling proposition, weaknesses & strengths, other marketing activities, online community. Use Alexa, rnkrnk and Similar Web.

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

Make your International content indexable with its own Web structure:

Don't use cookies or scripts to show it through the same URLs.

Enable a specific Web structure for each country or language:

  • 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.

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.
  • Internationalized domain names can be tricky: It's better to transliterate for non-ASCII characters.

3. Develop an Internationally Optimized Site

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.

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 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 gTLD, use search engines Webmaster Tools geolocation feature.

4. Grow your International Search Popularity

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 Open Site Explorer, MajesticSEO, Search Metrics, Link Risk, Social Crawlytics.

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 Followerwonk, Topsy, Simply Measured and Google trends.

4. Grow your International Search Popularity

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 BuzzStream, Link Prospector, CognitiveSEO, Google Alerts.

Align your company's activities for link building:

Your current product, content, marketing and even, operations activities to connect with your international audience.

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.

5. Measure your International SEO activity

Track your International Web presence independently:

Set each Web version in Webmaster tools & rank tracking software for the relevant search engine. Enable profiles for sub-directories & sub-domains in Google Analytics. Create independent properties for each ccTLD.

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.

More International Web Analytics:

Take a look at International Web Analytics by Daniel Smulevich and Analytics for International Scenarios by Ani Lopez.

6. Check your International SEO ROI

Calculate your ROI by Number of Conversions:

International SEO ROI by number of Conversions

Calculate your ROI by Number of Visits:

International SEO ROI by number of Visits

Original SEO ROI calculations by Himanshu Sharma.

Calculate them with The International SEO ROI Calculator

You're now an International SEO Explorer!

It's the time to go for an International SEO adventure: You know which path to follow to develop a succesful International SEO Process.

Other resources that you might find useful:

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