Local SEO vs International SEO: Which One is Right for Your Business?

Closeup of pins on world map journey travel | Local SEO vs International SEO: Which One is Right for Your Business

In the world of digital marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a crucial role in improving a website’s visibility and driving organic traffic. However, SEO is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are different strategies to consider, such as local SEO and international SEO. Understanding the differences between these two approaches is essential for businesses to make informed decisions about their SEO efforts.

In this article, we will explore the nuances of local SEO and international SEO, highlighting their key features, strategies, and benefits. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which approach is best suited for your business.

1. What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a targeted strategy that focuses on optimising a website to generate leads and brand awareness from local searches. It is particularly beneficial for businesses with a physical presence in a specific geographical area. With local SEO, the goal is to attract customers who are searching for products or services in their local vicinity.

Importance of Local SEO

Local SEO is essential for businesses that rely on local customers. According to Moz, 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. This means that a significant portion of online users are looking for businesses, products, or services near their location. By implementing local SEO strategies, businesses can increase their visibility in local search results and attract relevant local traffic.

Strategies for Local SEO

To optimise a website for local searches, several strategies can be employed:

1. Keyword Research and Optimisation

Keyword research is a fundamental step in any SEO strategy. For local SEO, it’s crucial to identify relevant local keywords that potential customers are likely to use when searching for products or services in your area. These keywords should be incorporated into your website’s content, meta tags, and headings to improve your visibility in local search results.

2. Google My Business Listing

Creating and optimising a Google My Business (GMB) listing is vital for local SEO. A GMB listing provides essential information about your business, such as address, phone number, business hours, and customer reviews. By claiming and optimising your GMB listing, you increase your chances of appearing in the coveted local map pack and Google’s local search results.

3. Online Reviews and Reputation Management

Online reviews play a significant role in local SEO. A BrightLocal survey found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when evaluating local businesses. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and promptly addressing any negative feedback can significantly impact your local search rankings and reputation.

4. Local Citations and Directories

Creating consistent and accurate business listings in local directories and citation sites can improve your local SEO. These listings include your business name, address, phone number (NAP), and other relevant information. The more accurate and consistent your NAP information is across different directories, the better your chances of ranking higher in local search results.

5. Local Content Creation

Creating localised content that caters to your target audience’s interests and needs is crucial for local SEO. This can include blog posts, articles, or landing pages that address local topics, events, or trends. By providing valuable and relevant content, you can attract local visitors and establish your business as a trusted authority in your area.

2. What is International SEO?

International SEO, also known as global SEO, focuses on expanding a business’s reach across borders and targeting customers in different countries and regions. Unlike local SEO, international SEO requires a broader approach that considers language, cultural nuances, and technical aspects for global visibility.

Importance of International SEO

In today’s interconnected world, businesses are increasingly targeting customers beyond their domestic markets. International SEO allows businesses to tap into global markets and reach a wider audience. According to SEMrush, 70% of marketers consider international SEO a top priority, highlighting the global reach of online businesses.

Strategies for International SEO

When implementing international SEO strategies, businesses should consider the following:

1. Language Optimisation

To effectively target international audiences, businesses must optimise their website content for different languages. This includes translating website content, meta tags, headings, and other on-page elements to ensure that the content is relevant and accessible to users in different countries. Additionally, hreflang tags can be used to indicate the language and country targeting of specific pages.

2. Country-Specific Keyword Research

Keyword research for international SEO involves identifying relevant keywords in each target country or region. This ensures that businesses are targeting the correct keywords their international audience is searching for. Localising keywords and adapting them to local language variations is crucial for optimising content for different countries.

3. Technical Considerations

International SEO requires technical considerations to ensure that search engines understand the language and country targeting of your website. Implementing hreflang tags, which indicate the language and country targeting of specific pages, is essential for search engines to deliver the correct version of your website to users in different countries. Additionally, international SEO involves optimising website speed, mobile-friendliness, and ensuring proper indexing and crawling for different regions.

4. Cultural Adaptation

Understanding the cultural nuances and preferences of your target audience in different countries is essential for international SEO. Adapting your content, imagery, and messaging to align with local customs, traditions, and cultural sensitivities can significantly improve your international SEO efforts. This includes considering local holidays, events, and cultural references in your content.

5. Backlink Acquisition and Outreach

Building high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites in different countries is crucial for international SEO. This involves outreach to relevant websites and publications in your target countries to earn backlinks and increase your website’s authority and visibility in international search results.

3. Key Differences between Local SEO and International SEO

While both local SEO and international SEO aim to improve a website’s visibility and drive organic traffic, there are key differences that businesses should consider when deciding which approach to prioritise.

Factors Local SEO International SEO
Target Audience Specific region or city Multiple countries and regions
Content Needs Low, focused on one region High, unique content for multiple countries
Cost of SEO Low, focused on one website High, managing and optimising multiple websites
Competition Depends on region-specific keywords Country and keyword-dependent
When to Use Businesses with a target audience in a specific region Businesses with target customers spread across multiple GEOs

4. The Final Verdict

In conclusion, both local SEO and international SEO have their unique advantages and strategies. Choosing between local SEO and international SEO ultimately depends on your business goals, target audience, and expansion plans. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Local SEO is Right for Your Business If:

  • Your business relies heavily on local customers and has a physical presence in a specific area.
  • Your products or services are location-specific, and you want to target customers near your business.
  • You want to establish a strong online presence in your local market and compete with other local businesses.
  • Your budget and resources are limited, and you want to focus on optimising your website for a specific region.

International SEO is Right for Your Business If:

  • Your business operates globally or wants to expand its reach to different countries and regions.
  • Your products or services can be marketed to an international audience.
  • You have the resources and budget to invest in translating and localising your website content for different countries.
  • You want to tap into new markets and reach a wider audience beyond your domestic market.

Ultimately, a combination of both local and international SEO strategies may be beneficial for businesses with both physical and online presence. It’s important to evaluate your specific business needs, target audience, and growth objectives to determine the right approach for your SEO strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Q1: Can a business focus on both local and international SEO simultaneously?

Yes, businesses with a physical presence and an online store can benefit from implementing both local and international SEO strategies. By targeting local customers through local SEO and expanding their reach to international markets through international SEO, businesses can maximise their online visibility and attract a diverse range of customers.

Q2: How long does it take to see results from local and international SEO efforts?

The time it takes to see results from SEO efforts can vary depending on various factors such as the competitiveness of the industry, the quality of the website’s optimisation, and the consistency of SEO efforts. Generally, it may take several months to start seeing significant improvements in search rankings and organic traffic. SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, optimisation, and adaptation to changes in search engine algorithms.

Q3: Can businesses with a limited budget still benefit from SEO?

Yes, businesses with limited budgets can still benefit from SEO by focusing on specific areas that provide the highest return on investment. For example, local SEO strategies can be implemented at a relatively lower cost compared to international SEO. By prioritising key areas such as optimising Google My Business listings, acquiring local citations, and creating high-quality localised content, businesses can improve their online visibility and attract local customers without breaking the bank.

Blog post by Adam Burrage

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