• Gavin Sutherland


  • David Iwanow

    But seriously very much appreciated the time and effort you took to put the post together, your awesome!

    I know TripAdvisor just kill it on this topic as they usually have both international and local versions dominating the search results to a level that seems like spam…. but does well for them commercially…

    I have two points that I think need to be explored further, the first is potential impact of Panda on what amounts to duplicate content if not done correctly. Search engines don’t always seem to understand the meta language tags, struggle to understand between AU/UK/US English language and Bing webmaster tools doesn’t allow for geo targeting last time I checked. Also there are common issues that the bigger business operation often overshadows new international expansions.

    The second is what happens if you are running from a ccTLD currently and want to expand globally? You can’t always secure the TLDs you need so do you fight against Google’s logic and try and get your ccTLD ranked globally or register a whole new domain/brand for a standardised launch globally?

  • Atlasseo

    Hi Aleyda, you have written a very instructive article. Thnaks a lot

  • Brian Jensen

    Aleyda, thanks for putting together such a comprehensive resource! You mentioned tools like SEMrush and Search Metrics Essentials that I am excited to start using during my own regional keyword research process. Your breakdown of the pros and cons of using ccTLDs, sub-directories and sub-folders was very thorough.

  • Stu Morris

    Great post Aleyda,
    The breakdown was well done. Theses are the real world type post that help many new adventurers into the SEO space, thanks.David tripadvisor does it so well because of their copy and inbound links, and Brian search metrics is one of the best tools I have used for reports.

  • Gavin Sutherland

    Sorry don’t know what happened to my original post! What I meant to say was good post, very thoroughly covered!

    It is interesting that some websites can often get away with less than perfect functionality i.e. non-crawlable country changers and still perform well in localised SERPs.

    Strength of brand enables them to achieve this supported obviously by a mixture of other geotargeting signals such as WMT targeting, XML sitemaps etc.

    Where a site does not have a particularly strong brand or unique keyword proposition, a language only targeting approach may prove problematic.

    Visibility in localised SERPs may be compromised in attempting to compete against sites actively targeting localised markets using various strategies whether these be on-site / structural / directory targeting etc. or off-site activities designed to increase exposure in specific geographic regions.

  • Eilidh MacRae

    Some really great tips! All very detailed, clear and concise. Thanks for this!

  • Aleyda Solis

    Thanks Brian! I’m glad is helpful.

  • Aleyda Solis

    Thank you!

  • Aleyda Solis

    Thanks for sharing your experience Gavin! Indeed, if you’re looking to attract much more visibility from a specific set of countries having a country targeted (instead of a language targeted) approach is much better :)

  • amirg

    Well you describe it good. The seo goes international way and its language also preferred. In every country they have do some seo tactics to get better rankings.

  • Aleyda Solis

    Hi David! Thanks for your comment. About content duplication, the cases are much lower now with hreflang although I will definitely give tips in the next post of the series that will be about the implementation phase. About the other situation, if the .com is definitely not available and there is no way to claim it using brand or company name arguments, instead of trying to rank a specific ccTLD in another country or globally, which could be challenging if you had already worked on target it to a specific country and could potentially look less relevant also to global or other country users, I would use a .org or .net TLD and if they’re neither available I would use or as an alternative for what should be Although it would be less attractive from a branding perspective and ideally I would go for consistency among all the TLDs and ccTLDs, it would be more relevant and scalable than targeting a ccTLD globally or in another country.

  • GC

    Hi Aleyda, thanks for the comprehensive post. Could I pick your brain on something? What do you think about websites where the language is the same (UK & US for example) and they are unable to implement hreflang tags, but their content is the same. Not only is the content the same with only slight country-specific variants on each page, but the domains names are not and, but and

    Do you think Google will still recognise that this is content competing in different SERPs and that it is okay? Or that and are different websites competing with duplicate content? They are interlinked through a global menu.


  • Amit

    Well its rocking that you use semrush its one kind of good point to know the competitor level. And you ask that seo goes international of-course it is using language translation and linking it would be much viral.

  • AJ Mihalic

    wait….you can geo-target subdirectories in GWT?

  • Gus

    Short answer….Yes… I also was surprised when I discovered this. I thought you had to geotarget the whole domain or use the ccTLD.

  • Alessandro Bellucci

    Muy interesante, gracias Aleyda.

  • Shrikrishna Potdar

    This is very helpful article. I liked detail explanation about domains. Due to info graphics it became easy for me to understand the concepts easily. Thanks for sharing

  • subrat choudhury

    Hi, this blog is really instructive. I would like to know more about this.
    Birmingham search engine optimisation

  • Kim Troskie

    Thanks for the very detailed article Aleyda, us SEO’s need to keep up with what is happening in this ever changing industry. :)

  • Dawn Wentzell

    This is where we’re sitting with our Latin American growth. Most of the growth is currently focused in Mexico, but we have a few clients and prospects in other Spanish-speaking countries. We don’t have the resources to build language-country sites for each country at the moment, so we’re left wondering whether it’s better to do a generic Latin American Spanish site or a specific Mexican Spanish site.

    (As an aside, Brazil is also a new growth area, but we are building out a specific Brazilian Portuguese site.)

  • Simon Broskov

    Good article about international SEO, with a lot of good illustrations! I miss some deeper considerations in relation to the code of the website though.

  • Marzena Nowakowska

    Well written! Good and informative article. SEO definitely went international, but if you have a tool that is prepared for such situation (by providing results from many different countries and languages, like Colibri Tool ) you shouldn’t be worried. It’s an opportunity, not a threat.

  • Marco Russo

    Hola Aleyda,muy buen post. Pero tengo una duda sobre como mejorar el
    posicionamiento de un site en Suiza, en la web hay 3
    idiomas diferentes (alemán, italiano y francés), aconsejas el utilizo
    del “hreflang” ? tanto en cada contenido de los 3 idiomas que en el
    sitemap ? Y si cuento con una , y tiene más de 100 idiomas en
    subdirectorios y ccTLDs ?

    mucha gracias ;)

  • Alex.Christopher

    i have .com and site. both sites have exact same product, exact same product descriptions, and everything is the same. I want .uk for the UK market and .com for US and other countries. My question is should i add this

    to both the .com and .uk site?

    Appreciate your quick response

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  • Spook SEO

    This is such a well written article. I believe that the very first step to set our international SEO strategy is to identify our online business opportunities based on our online business model and operations, our current visitors demographics and behavior and lastly our industry international potential.

  • mony