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Aiming to target other countries with your website?

If you are aiming to target other countries with your website, and you’re taking the exercise at all seriously, then I’d recommend engaging the services of an SEO consultant with a proven track record at doing this. International SEO can be hard. But here are a few thoughts anyway.

Firstly, to do international SEO well, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with ‘hreflang’ tagging and some other technical aspects. These are how we tell search engines where the page is targeting, and many websites get this very wrong. The fact that articles like this can be written about misconceptions shows how complicated it can all be.

Secondly, you’ll need to understand when and where you need local sites. A site for each country can be a worthwhile investment, but it comes with a price, in terms of maintenance as well as creation. There are also issues such as where the site is hosted; the search engines may not be picky about this now, but the response speed can be affected.

Thirdly, search engines recognise bad translations. Getting these done by native speakers, preferably in the country being targeted, should be a no-brainer.

Finally, you’ll need to understand the web users in the target country. In most of the world, things might be all about Google; but don’t assume that’s always the case. In some countries, the sort of people you might be targeting might speak one language but make web searches in another (e.g. English).

Put all this together and I’m sure we can all understand how difficult it can be to convince search engines that our sites are more relevant than similar ones located thousands of miles closer to the search engine user. I’m not saying don’t try …but at the same time, don’t expect miracles on the cheap.