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How to ensure your website attracts an international audience

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Competition for search engine rankings has never been tougher, and even trying to get noticed in your home country can be a challenge. But what if your target audiences are in various territories?

International digital marketing is becoming an increasingly sought-after requirement for businesses new and established as globalisation and online shopping has made it easier than ever to buy or source products and services from anywhere in the world. 

And if your business is trying to attract customers from more than one country, here are some key considerations to ensure your website is visible in all the territories that matter to you. 

Pick the right domain 

First thing first is to make sure your domain name itself is geared towards ranking in different countries. 

Most websites with a local target will have a top-level domain that ends with a specific country code. For example, an Irish website will end .ie, a German site .de, and a UK site .co.uk. 

These TLDs tell search engines which country your site should rank in. But as a result, it means that websites with these localised TLDs can struggle to appear in search results within other international markets. 

It’s not impossible. For example, an Irish hostel with a .ie TLD will still appear to someone searching in Germany for a hostel to stay at in Galway or Dublin. 

But to really penetrate into a new market, your best bet will be to acquire a .com domain. 

The right language

Offering a selection of language options on your website not only builds trust and increases conversion rates, it also helps increase your website’s visibility in target countries. 

For example, if your website is in English but your target audience in Itay search Google in Italian, then your website pages won’t match up to what they’re searching. And if they don’t match up, they won’t rank. 

Translating your entire website is just one consideration here though – you also need to ensure that your translated pages render on a specific, indexable URL. This will mean that search engines can crawl and then index the translated versions of all your pages, and then show them in international search results. 

Another option is to offer different websites to target different zones, and have these websites already translated into the native language of that country. This is something that GORR, an international translation company has done. They have four websites, one in English, Czech, Slovenian and German. All these websites rank well, and because they appear to be localised websites to users, they convert well too!

An international backlink portfolio

The final step is to consider your website’s backlinks. Backlinks online work like word-of-mouth offline. It’s Google’s way of assessing if your website is trustworthy and should rank highly in search results. Because, if 10 websites are linking to yours, but only one website is linking to your competitor, then your website must be more trustworthy and have the best content. 

Linkbuilding in your home country is hard enough, but when it comes to international search engine optimisation, you also need to consider generating links from your target countries. 

So, if your website is geared to an international audience, but 90% of your backlink portfolio is from just the UK, then you should rank well in the UK. But, there isn’t enough international link clout there to convince a search engine that your website is also popular in another country. 

Read more: 10-point international marketing checklist

An effective way around this is to create a list of international competitors in your chosen territories and analyse their backlinks. A native Spanish competitor should have a backlink portfolio filled with all the Spain-based website links you need to start ranking well there, and you can analyse their best ones and look to replicate them!

Leave it to the experts

Here at Go Exporting, we’ve worked with numerous international businesses to get ranking internationally – and generate leads and sales too. 

Through international SEO, cross-border PPC and a range of other integrated digital marketing techniques, we can get your brand known in the territories that matter most to you. 

Learn more about our international digital marketing services here

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