Michael Fielding, SEO Manager at Velstar


So, you’ve got big plans for 2021 – you want to take your ecommerce business global? There’s no better time to get started. However, before you do you’ll need to build a solid international SEO structure.

To help, I’ve put together a list of essential SEO techniques that you can use to achieve success overseas. By ensuring some if not all of these tactics are a part of your marketing strategy, you’ll be reaching international audiences in no time. Here’s what you need to do…


Localise Your URLs

First things first, to start selling internationally you’ll need to localise your URLs. This is where Hreflang annotations can come in.

According to Google if you have multiple versions of a page for different languages or regions, be sure to inform Google by implementing Hreflang annotations. Doing this will help Google Search direct users to the most appropriate versions of your page based on language or region.

When you use the correct localised URL, you will help to improve your ecommerce store’s position in search results within-country-specific search engines around the world. Increased visibility means more traffic, and more traffic means more sales!


CCTLD – Country-code Top-level Domain

A country code top-level domain is a great way to localise your URL. It’s not integral, but it can generate fantastic results. Rather than using a generic ‘.com’ domain – which could be based anywhere in the world, get specific! And use country coded URLs. Doing this will allow you to get ahead of your competitors because search engines like Google will prioritise your website ahead of generic ‘.com’ websites.


Implement Geo-specific Tags

Geo-specific tags are used to collect data and send signals to various search engines around the world. Search engines like Google read these signals and data to recognise who and where you want your content to be seen.

This means when you use geo-specific tags you can reach an audience in a particular country and improve your ranking for specific search terms related to that country/region.

Using geo-specific tags are a hugely effective optimisation technique because it will not only attract higher quality leads to your store, it will also improve user experience by providing them with the most relevant content related to their search.


Set Up Google Places Listings

If you have brick and mortar locations, you should set up Google places listings in Google My Business. This will help you appear in organic listings and redirect traffic back to your online store through backlinks.


Inform Search Engines About Localised Versions

To ensure your online store is seen by the right people in the right countries/regions you need to index your site with Google and localised search engines.


Local Link Building

Never underestimate the power of link building!

Chances are you’re already doing some kind of outreach marketing such as guest blogging, brand partnerships, online magazine coverage and social media collaborations to improve your ranking.

So, why not do this at scale? Start link building in a country or region where you want to build brand presence and sell. When you have quality links within a country it will significantly improve your brand’s visibility in that country which will ultimately improve your store’s authority and URL hierarchy.


Create Engaging Content

Finally, content really is king!

Search engines are more likely to rank your site higher if your content packs a punch. Simply put, your content needs to be unique and full of relevant keywords. It should engage, inform and delight your audience.

If you want to go global make sure your content is in the correct language – specific to the country/ region you’re targeting. And remember to research the differences in terminology. This will help search engines determine the language of your content and ensure your customers find your products.

In conclusion, to scale globally in 2021 you’ll need to implement these international SEO techniques, sooner rather than later. They’ll go a long way in increasing your brand’s visibility with the most relevant audiences and help you avoid any potential penalties. Happy scaling!