How to optimize your website for international rankings

Is your website available in multiple languages? Do you sell your products internationally? If you have an international website, you have to ensure that Google and other search engines index your web pages correctly. This article helps you to get your web pages into the right local versions of Google.

international SEO 2020

There are multiple ways to offer international website content. Some ways are better than others.

1. The best way: use local domains for each language

Country specific domains are the best way to serve international content. For example, use yourcompany.com for the USA, yourcompany.de for Germany, yourcompany.fr for France, etc.

It’s much easier to get ranked on German search engines if you have a .de domain. Customers from Germany also tend to trust German website with German content more. If the local website for Germany only contains German content and a German domain then it is very easy to understand for website visitors and search engines.

A website that contains English, German, Spanish and other content is more difficult to understand for both search engines and website visitors.

2. Let your visitors choose which language they want to see

Another way to present international content is to let your website visitors choose the appropriate version. Your homepage contains a country and language selector to let users choose their favorite version.

After the selection, the user should be redirected to a web page that has a unique URL, i.e. each language version should use unique URLs. For example www.example.com/en/page, www.example.com/fr/page, www.example.com/de/page, etc.

If you decide to use this method, it is important that your web pages use the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation for the country selector page, which was specifically created for these kinds of pages.

This method is more confusing than the first method. It’s easier to make mistakes that can lead to problems with search engines.

3. Redirect visitors automatically

Instead of letting your website visitors choose, you can also redirect them based on their location and their language settings. You can do this with 302 redirects or by dynamically serving the right HTML content.

This method also requires the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation and you must also make sure that the language pages have individual URLs.

Automatic redirects can be annoying. For example, if a person from the US is on vacation in Europe, it is not good if the US version cannot be accessed then. It’s also easy to make mistakes that can lead to indexing problems if you use this method.

Regardless of the method that you use to present your international content, all of your pages should have rel-alternate-hreflang annotations.

Check your local rankings and check the accessibility of your web pages

The ranking monitor in SEOprofiler enables you to check the rankings of your web pages in 169 countries. You can check your rankings from all 99,000+ locations that are supported by Google. If you want to know how your website is ranked in a particular region, the Ranking Monitor is the right tool for you.

In addition, Googlebot must be able to access the different language versions of your web pages. You can test this with the website audit tool in SEOprofiler.

Improve your website now

Getting high rankings for international websites is even more difficult than getting high rankings for regular websites. If you haven’t done it yet, try SEOprofiler now to improve the Google rankings of your web pages:

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".