International SEO Optimization for New Target Markets

When expanding into areas of the world with different languages, it is important that you start to rank well in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). For each country, your digital content needs to not only be translated into the local language but also to be localized to conform to the expectations of your target audience. Take into consideration the following five tips for optimizing your international SEO ranking.

Consumers Prefer Their Native Language

According to Think With Google, 75% of people prefer to use and buy from websites that are in their own language. To rank higher in search engine results, it is important that content and keywords are in the language of your target audience and that they are localized specifically for your intended consumers. There are several ways to help this process along as described below.

Domain Names

Make sure that you buy a domain names with the specific country extension of the country you are choosing to do business in. You can choose to build your site in the local language and host it in the domain name you have purchased. The new site would be the same as your original site but translated and localized for your target audience. Alternatively, someone clicking on your country-specific domain name could be directed to a sub-directory of your original site. Replacing .com with, for example, .jp for Japan for China can make a big difference to your search result rankings.


Changing the location of your website is called geo-targeting. Google enables geo-targeting so that you can make your site more relevant to your new audience. To change the geographic settings of your website, use your Webmaster Tools account and go to Site Configuration. Geo-targeting gives your website a fighting chance among locally-owned websites which would normally rank higher on a SERP than your website based in another location.

Loading Speed>

No matter the country, websites that load faster rank better. This is especially true for certain regions that don’t have access to broadband. A busy website with too many images can take a long time to load and be abandoned before it is fully accessed, plummeting your international SEO ranking. If this happens often enough, your search rankings will drop. Studies have shown that any loading time over three seconds is considered slow and can cause you to lose you about 90% of your visitors. Therefore keep your web design uncluttered and make sure that it only contains relevant content.

Translation and Localization

The last and final piece of the puzzle to getting higher search engine rankings on the international market is to have good-quality translation and localization of your website. Using machine-based translation software can speed up the translating process but cause your translation to miss out on crucial localization elements like cultural nuances. On the other hand, a human translator with in-depth knowledge of the language and culture will do a much better job of writing a more natural translation, but this could take a lot of time. The best solution is for a human translator to partner with top-quality translation software to speed up the process.

Why Use Localize?

Localize provides you with a host of tools that enable you to translate your website into multiple languages. Your expert translator can make use of features like the Translation Dashboard and In-Context Editor to make sure that keywords and key phrases are not just translated literally but are localized for your target audience so they are more natural and acceptable. Visit our website to find out more.

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