International and Multilingual SEO

International and Multilingual SEO

Over the course of the past year, many companies with international Web sites have approached my company. They were looking for the “easy” way to optimize their sites for each country. You might be surprised by the issues that many of these large companies face.

When I hear people comment that “SEO isn’t that difficult…just build a Web site that is search engine friendly and that’s pretty much it,” these are the kinds of issues that tell me, “No, it’s not that easy.” There are little things, here and there, that if you weren’t a practicing SEO, you may not take into account.

Here are a few challenges that companies with an international Web presence face, and some advice for how to create an optimal Web presence that can do well in international search engines.

Domains

When it comes to doing things “the right way” for SEO, it all begins with domain selection. That’s true whether it’s for one Web site to be promoted in the United States, or for a group of Web sites you’re optimizing to promote your business internationally.

For international SEO, you really should have a TLD (top level domain) for each country you’re targeting. This is more complicated than you might think. Many countries mandate that you have an actual physical business location in that country before you can obtain a TLD. To gain a German (.de) top-level-domain, for example, you must operate an office in Germany.

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Katia Reed
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