International SEO Checklist for WordPress | Super Guide

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Carlos' Opinion
International Seo Checklist.

One of the aims of my website has been to go global.

Speaking several languages has also given me the opportunity to meet people from all around the world.

So the same question arises when it come to International SEO, how to reach international readers or customers?

Easy, be multilingual.

There are differenty type of international seo strategies that you can use.

Which one is the perfect one or the best one?

Well, it will depends on your budget and your focus.

If you are a big company and big resources, then the best way to do International SEO is to have several domains, and each serving the respective marketg.

You can just see the Amazon International SEO Strategy.

They are localized with a ccTLD. 

If you are not deep diving into analysing domains, give back again a look to the different Amazon domain names. 

They have a different domain for the US, for Mexico, for Germany, etc. 

This would be the best and optimal way of doing SEO, since the content is already focusing on the country.

But what will happen if I don’t have the big budget or team to manage different websites. 

Well, as blogger or small e-commerce shop, you can focus on having your main generic domain at .com, and then aim to other countries using folders. 

It has been already recommended by MOZ that using subdomains are not the best way for aiming to international markets. That it is better to have the subfolders for each language.

As I have been working on developing my blog for international audiences, I have focused on that strategy.

It has been just a couple months since I reactivated my blogger profession with more time, and I can say that it is starting to increase in numbers of worldwide visitors. 

There are different aspects to cover that in this article will tell you see the International SEO Checklist to take care about.

Of course, I will mention the importance of having WordPress Multilingual Plugins, like WPML or Weglot, which I already have mentioned previously their main differences.

What is International SEO?

The International SEO of WordPress is one of the most important concepts that you can find, but that every time is gathering more and more relevance for all the good results that it can offer for any thematic of a web.

Any website can be suitable to include an International Seo Strategy, only it must meet various requirements and it must be aware that it is an extra job that can give very good benefits.

If you are interested in increasing your international audience, read on to find out more about International SEO.

International SEO is a term, which in the end they started to use because it describes exactly when we mean to adapt our website to all countries or at least to those from which we get more visits.

International SEO can also be refered by internationalization of the web, where it promises you the success of your digital web since, in most cases, the users do not come from the same nationality.

Before we continue dealing with this concept, we would like to tell you that every company that manages to internationalize itself not only has better income but also a greater productivity, we don’t say it.

It is the AFI, or according to its acronym, the International Financial Analysts of Madrid, who indicate that: Companies that become international, regardless of their contribution, are more competitive, and they also resist economic changes.

So, if you don’t think it’s an advantage as soon as you read this, look at all the importance of the International SEO in WordPress.

What is the importance of International SEO?

From the beginning, we know that becoming an international company is not easy, there are many things we must think about, apply, analyze, measure results and take the necessary actions depending on it.

However, it is also well known that from great efforts you receive incredible results and that is what the International SEO offers.

The importance of International SEO relies also on the internationalization strategy of a Website. 

Therefore, if in your blog or e-commerce strategy, is to reach new audiences, to increase your different metrics, then an International SEO could be one part of that internationalization process.

If you are sure of this, then the International SEO is for you, because it is no secret that different users from different parts of the world can enter a domain.

What is International SEO for?

The frontiers in the world are getting smaller and in the internet it is not an exception, a web hosted in Peru can be the most recommended when we are looking for a recipe, but, it will not offer us the information we need if it is in another language.

Or if it is not adapted for Spanish, English, German, Italian, Portuguese, French or Russian, being enough reason for you to hit the back button and look for another website that meets the requirements you are looking for.

International SEO is not only important for this detail, but it offers more comfort and invites the user to stay, even if the information is not as effective as expected.

Otherwise, if the information you are looking for is completely satisfactory and also optimized for your country, we are completely sure that you will gain a recurrent user for all your posts.

Are you still interested in international SEO? Read on to get a head start on your competitors!

What are the basic principles of
International SEO?

It is important to clarify that, when the “basic principles of International SEO” are mentioned, reference is made to the fundamental aspects that must be kept in mind if the interest of reaching users from all countries through the Internet is to be maintained.

International Seo Checklist for WordPress

Keywords between regions.

To understand this we can take a simple exercise where we only need to enter  Google of our country with the unknown window of the browser.

Depending on our nation, we will see the completion of it. For example “google.de, or google.com”.

As you may have noticed, each country has a specific domain.

Now you will have to take any of your keywords and search for it in two different Google domains.

You will notice that, in most cases, the same keyword, regardless of whether the content varies or not, can be positioned in more than one place.

This is due to many factors, such as keyword traffic, for example.

We can also take into account the relevance that these words have in each of the countries in question, or the way in which users search for them, among others.

However, it is also important to understand that each region of the world may not only have its own structures, but also its specific vocabulary and different information needs.

This can make one country more responsive to an article than another.

What we mean is that content that has been designed only for a local audience may appear in the search results of other regions, but that does not mean that it will work among such users because it has not been written for the general global audience.

Original and quality content between countries in targeted language.

This is such an old and unforgettable premise, and as much as it is now about International SEO, this basic SEO rule still applies.

Both quality and originality remain a necessary standard.

In the natural positioning we have in our countries, we can easily identify what we think is quality content.

We can take tools such as Google Trends to see what issues may be relevant to develop on the spot, and make comparisons with the competition.

Now, since you know you have a huge sea of information ahead of you, just from your region, imagine the universe you can find with respect to several countries.

That is where we must understand that the greater the number of countries, the greater the analysis, the points of comparison, and the information we will have to combine and give rise to the process of creation.

Responsive content and website.

We are all past the time where we only looked for information from personal computers, with all the mobile devices in the market, that we can take with us, it is common to use them for our online consultations.

Having a responsive content on our website is vital.

This will allow everything, no matter the device, to adapt to your viewing standards, which will generate more traffic to your site compared to one that seems to have not loaded well.

Give importance to Hreflang tags.

This is a point where we can distinguish SEO from International SEO.

These are tags that are used under the purpose of allowing Google to identify the URL to be shown to the visitor, taking into account their language and where they are located.

You should always monitor and measure your results.

This is fundamental within any digital marketing strategy in which a SEO technique is included.

In the cases of International SEO it is more than vital to be aware of any movement, in one country or another, since it will be reflected in the results.

Got the principles?

As you may have already noticed, the basic principles of international SEO are no different from those of local SEO.

So you don’t have to be afraid of the name, which is the only thing that makes the difference.

Not to scare you at this point, but what comes easy can go easy.

It is not my intention to make international SEO seem difficult, since what I have explained so far is perhaps simpler than it seems, but the complication comes in having the strength to secure all points in parallel.

One of the points that create a certain level of complexity in what is the application of these techniques is the establishment of objectives in a correct way.

In the following section, we will describe some objectives of International SEO.

International SEO Target.

Once a company has made the decision to water itself through the Internet, it should always keep in mind these three types of objectives to be developed:

Target by Language.

This objective is present when your company is in charge of offering X product, and has the interest to offer it in another country of an specific language.

Imagine that a Mexican footwear company wants to sell its shoes in the South America.

If the Mexican company wanted to sell shoes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, where the same language is spoken just with minor diferences, as the same product is maintained, it would still be a matter of giving relevance to the language, and not the country.

Since Spanish is the mani language of the region, the international expansion is focusing on the main language.

What already creates a major advantage and what remains is to adapt to the semantics of the vocabulary.

Target by Country.

This is another model of targeting of international SEO.

And it is based on when the company has a mission to reach a specific country.

This undoubtedly places a new challenge on expansion.

Let’s take into account the same example we developed in the previous objective.

The Mexican shoe company this time wants to reach the UK and Germany.

The main objective of this Mexican company will be to showcase the product in English and German. What matters now is the cultural and country’s language adaptation.

Domain aspects of International SEO.

Defining the aspect of your international SEO strategy is fundamental. If you don’t know what we mean, this is nothing more than choosing the right structure for your website taking into account where the server is located, and implementing Hreflang correctly.

Site Structure.

When you get to this point you will need to have defined if your goal is the country or the language:

a. If you want to focus all your efforts on a group of countries that share the same language, you can choose an approach based on the selection of this language.
b. In cases where you want your content to reach a specific country or audience, the best choice will always be to choose the country segmentation. 

Based on this, it will be necessary for you to choose the structure that will benefit your objective:

ccTLD - country specific top level domain.

With this structure you can obtain a domain name together with the extension of the country you are trying to reach.

So you connect and geolocate your site by default. Example: www.ejmp.com.mx

This site structure is recommended for companies with budget to have specific and targeted businesses.

Subdirectories.

In this site structure, the website will be geolocated in a specific subdirectory that will belong to a root domain, which allows you to easily inherit its authority without having to start from scratch.

Your geographic target will be oriented towards the specific language. Example www.sample.com/es

This is the most recommended to keep the SEO power of your link building at one domain.

Subdomains.

The other option to localize the content is through the creation of different subdomains.

This way you can save resources and not spend in multiple domains, and still have different localized styles of content.

One example of it is es.sample.com and de.sample.com.

This site structure is the least one recommended due to to lose of Link Juice between the main domain and the subdomains.

Content Marketing Strategy in international SEO.

One of the most frequently asked questions in SEO is how to do it internationally.

International SEO is not an easy task, because if you have already tried at some point to internationalize a website, you will have realized that it is a job that can last a long time, depending on your experience and knowledge.

There are many aspects that you must understand and apply to your website to make International SEO correctly, do not worry, we want to help you in each of them, explaining them as clearly as possible.

International SEO

The best way to do international SEO is to know about content marketing.

Everything we have explained so far, and what follows is closely related to it.

Otherwise, the best thing is to learn a little bit about it.

The first step is to define your target, since you have it clear, it will be necessary to make a map with the countries you hope to reach in your internationalization process, and also to write down what would be your direct competition in the new markets you are entering.

Once you have done this, you can start evaluating the SEO opportunities in the countries you have defined.

This is done with a search in the respective SERPs so that you know what they have and can define the fundamental points of SEO that will make your digital presence strong.

You can do this, from the point of view of minimalism, with the help of analysis tools such as SEMRush, Ubersuggest and Google Keyword Research.

Besides using the same search engine from an incognito window and reading the suggested keywords can be used as ideas.

To have the research done will help you to have an overall of the topics you should aim and produce the content.

Once you have gathered the relevant information you can make a Content Marketing Strategy checklist with the following steps:

1. You will have to identify who will be your potential customer.

You may already have this figure defined in your region, but you will also need to create an image of a potential customer, or how is called buyer persona, in each of the new countries.

You can do this without even having the first one, and the Analytics tool helps you in the process.

What it will do is show you the trend that your audience has, and what are the topics and potential contents that you can explore in each of the new regions.

Another way to explore a potential client within international SEO is to use SEMRush, or similar SEO tools, that allow you to select the destination country and show you information such as keywords that provide better positioning within that specific world region.

What you have to be aware of at this point is to verify that the keywords that your tool has thrown you belong to the market sector in which you will operate, and also consider what will be the volume of search before using it on your website.

A good question to ask in order to find the potential customer is “Who is my product aimed at?

This question can be answered in very specific ways, such as “Men, older men who are looking to improve their health with organic products”.

You will want to focus on these people and find a solution to their current and perhaps future problems.

2. You will need to do an international keyword research.

This brings us back to what we have told you as the first basic principle of international SEO.

Apart from what you know, from that point, you can now also use the Keyword Research like Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Research tools to compare different domains.

Within this area you can also make use of Google’s predictive text, or, you can go directly to your competitor’s site and analyze the issues it addresses, which keywords it attacks, and plan your content better.

It’s quite a difficult job, especially when it comes to implementing each and every one of them in quite similar articles, however, it will be another quite important advantage that your competitors will eventually realize.

In the long term, you will surpass all the numbers of the thematic websites related to you and you will take an advantage that they will not be able to answer, because you will already have a very good priority by having more researched content.

3. You have reached the point of creating content.

With the keywords you have already chosen, you can get down to work creating content in the local language.

Of course, you can seek all the help you can get if it’s something you don’t fully handle.

If you are a company that aims to reach a country, but will provide the same service, this part should not be a problem for you.

But you may need to be aware of some minor adjustments regarding the content in order to properly reach the customers.

Sometimes it can happen that in one country a word is not called the same way, and that’s where we have to be smart about choosing terms that are used in more than one site.

At this point it always helps to define the concept to talk about the two terms as synonyms.

Although in some cases it will be necessary to create two completely different contents, in order to correctly attack the keywords.

Just be careful that it is not a duplicate, and that the situation really deserves it.

This way, resources are not spent unnecessarily.

Companies that want to speak to their audience in another language, but have the same service, this is an important point.

Many get carried away by the art of translation, and the truth is that it is something completely valid that the Google algorithm allows.

What should be avoided at all costs are those poorly done translations that have been generated from the use of some automatic translators.

There will never be a better than a person to take on this task, and if they are native speakers of the language in which the content is expected to be created, so much the better.

What happens with automatic translators is that they do not take into account the use of the language, so the translations of expressions, intentions, or benefits, are not imported correctly.

Much less will they place the keyword you are using within the context you have given it.

Although, there have been huge advances on automatic translation, the human slangs or sences are difficult to translate by a machine.

WordPress Translation Plugins for
International SEO.

The WPML plugin is one of the best tools for international SEO.

WordPress Multilingual Plugin, or simply WPML, is a WordPress plugin that will allow you to transform your website, or monolingual blog, into a multilingual platform and thus reach the audience in the regions you are waiting for.

You can entrust the content of your website to this tool, since it has the ability to translate into more than 40 different languages without harming the SEO work you have done.

Apart from being an intuitive plug-in, it is equipped with resources to make the translation process much easier.

This is a plugin that has both automatic and manual translations, and the best of all, you can work in parallel.

This means that you have the ability to translate the whole site, and then make minor adjustments to any part of the content you think is relevant.

It is a reliable tool, which has been in use for many years in International SEO, and is perhaps the most widely used WordPress plugin in the world. This is also because it never stops being updated to improve the experience continuously.

Features that make WPML plugin the best choice.

Makes multilingual website management easy. Structuring your website may seem like a headache, but not with this plugin. After installation you will only have to select the languages and decide the way you expect to organize the content, having the ability to choose different domains for each language, and split them into subdomains or separate them by directories.

It supports SEO optimization. The structuring of the site will collaborate with the technical SEO standards. It also allows the optimization of other details, such as the use of each of the URLs, alternative texts, and other information relevant to international SEO.

Themes and plugins will not be a problem. WordPress is well known for the wide variety of themes it has, and these never stop being launched. WPML is highly compatible with most of them, as it works with other plugins such as Rankmath, Yoast, Avada, Woo, among others.

It gives you access to a network of translators. As we have mentioned before, it is best to have a manual translation from someone who knows the language. And this tool also gives you access to a large community of highly qualified translators. You can use them to make your website.

As you can see, this is one tool that can help you if you want to get started in International SEO, as it can help you a lot with the basic problems and also with the most advanced of this practice.

The translations are getting faster with the inclusion of Deepl in WPML and with very good results, being completely ideal when you do not want to waste time on corrections.

It is not only one of the most helpful applications for International SEO, but also one of the easiest to use, with the best technical support and most used today.

Weglot plugin, the newcomer translation plugin for international SEO.

If we have to tell you clearly what is Weglot in a few words, and that you understand its operation and popularity, then we will say that it is an online platform that gives you the ability to translate a website into different languages, in a very short time, through your plugin.

The truth is that the use of Weglot is not limited only to WordPress, which we know is one of the most popular CMS today, this plugin can also be used without any problem in others such as Shopify, Joomla, among others.

What stands out the most about this multilanguage plugin is that, in just a couple of minutes, you will have the flags working perfectly with the respective translations. And, from there, you can edit what you need so easily that even a child could do it successfully.

It has a free trial that lasts up to 10 days, which is more than enough to test all the features it offers, and to decide whether or not you want to pay for the subscription. The best thing is that you can do this test without sharing any payment information.

Once your free trial has finished, you can decide if you subscribe to Weglot , and there are different plans, which are paid monthly, so you can only cancel when you need to. You will not have to spend more money for services that really exceed what are the needs of your site.

Features that make Weglot plugin the best choice.

Fast translation. It is very simple to use, so you will have your website translated in just a couple of minutes.

Lightweight plugin. The loading speed of your website will not be affected, as it is a lightweight plugin. A point very in favor, since we know that the time a page takes to load can define whether the user stays on it, or not.

Compatibility. It is fully compatible with any Page Builder like Elementor, Divi, BeaverBuilder.

Accuracy of automatic translations. It differs from other multi-language plugins since it has a very efficient automatic translation, and you can also make manual changes when you need it.

IP language redirection. It depends on the country you are in, this plugin will show you the language you are using with IP redirection.

WPML vs Weglot

You can read more in detail in the post WPML vs Weglot.

Both plugins will help with SEO aspects and the translations of Metadata.

But if you are wondering which one to choose, the following position statements are recommended.

Do you have time, a lower budget or want to save costs in translation, you aim for big pieces of content, don’t have too much plugins on your WordPress Website, then go for WPML.

Why? WPML although it is adding automatic translation options and it has improved with the use of Deepl, there are some translations that can be done manually, or some tasks have to be corrected or redelivered.

WPML is still slower than Weglot. Also, you can have more control on the budget and decide how to spend you translation credits. WPML doesn’t have a word count limit control, therefore you can decide to translate manually or automatically.

Another negative side of WPML is that sometimes it may cause some plugin code errors between others. Although it is compatible with many plugins, WPML adds code into your website, and in comparison to Weglot, it doesn’t add that much code.  

Yo don’t have time to take care of translations, a decent budget, you aim for low number of translated languages, have your WordPress Website with many plugins, Woocommerce or different platform like Shopify, then go for Weglot.

Why? Weglot has an automatic translation that is very accurate and you don’t really have to take care much about it. The translation is fast and accurate.

They set different prices for their plans, so depending on your word count and number of languages is the plan that you will have to choose. One negative aspect of Weglot is that there has to be a more control on the number of translated words on their side. Therefore if you have too much content, and if you want to aim to multiple languages like me (7), then Weglot might not be an option for you.  

If you just look to translate to 1 or 2 languages, than it would the a good fit for you. 

Another recommendation to take into account is that if you are using many plugins, specially Woocommerce, what you don’t want is that something crashes your website. Is not that WPML doesn’t work with Woocommerce, but there might ocassion that you might have to deactivate some plugins and sometimes WPML as well. This will make that some code gets affected, and in consequence que you reactivate WPML this might bring up multiple posts in different languages on the main language. 

What my low knowledge of IT-developer knows, is that Weglot’s translation database is not stored in WordPress, therefore there are less sort of “accidents”. Probably a problem that you want to avoid for your E-commerce WordPress Website. 

Or if you are using a platform such as Shopify, well… there are no much good translation apps for shopify, therefore the best translation app for Shopify is Weglot. 

International SEO WordPress Plugin
Rankmath.

When it comes to International SEO, and as SEO as it is, there are some wordpress plugins that support with the On-Page and Technical aspects of it. 

One plugin, that is considered to be the best one right now is Rankmath. 

Rankmath is a SEO WordPress plugin that supports WordPress websites with different SEO aspects.

Some of Rankmath features are :

Compatible with multilingual Plugins. Have your targeted keywords and metadata in different languages.

Built-In Advanced SEO Analytics Module. You can have your SEO analysis inside WordPress.

Rank Tracker. Keep track of which keywords are ranking and having more impressions and clicks.

The Most Advanced Schema Generator. In comparison with Yoast, Rankmath has a Schema Generator that supports to give a structure to your pages, products and posts.

Keyword Comparison & Google Trends Tool. Do your keyword research with Rankmath.

XML Sitemap. The Sitemap is generated automatically by Rankmath.

Automated Image SEO. You will have support with the Alt-tag text of your images.

Google, Bing, Alexa, Yandex & Pinterest Verification Tool. Easy integration with search engines.

One thing to consider when doing International SEO is to grab attention to the different search engines.

We already have talked about the importance of a multilingual website.

Having a multilingual website with its MetaData in its corresponding language will be another of the steps to consider when aiming for International SEO. 

But also, it is important to take into consideration the different search engines that exist.

Google might be the leader, but there are also another search engines that can bring visitors from different places of the world. 

So don’t underestimate the verification processes that Rankmath offers with Bing, and Yandex.

As Microsoft search enginge, Bing also has 923.5 million global visitors per month, according to Statista. And Yandex has 3.27 Billion Visitors per month, according to SimilarWeb. Or even Baidu if you want to reach China, but you need a chinese number to register into it, as far as Carlos’ know. 

So you have an option for real International SEO and expand to new countries through this search engines.

International SEO Checklist Infographic.

As a sum up, or remarking some important aspects that were covered in this webpage, here is an Infographic.

Of course a in depth checklist might need to pay attention to more details, but in overall some key aspects are mentioned.

International SEO Checklist infographic

Taking into account all the aspects we have given you about international SEO, and the benefits of the WPML, Weglot and Rankmath plugins, you are now ready to start building your website to reach potential customers around the world.

With this article, a little long we know, but with enough information to not jump in with both feet in the water and run the risk of drowning, you will already be sure of how it works, its advantages, disadvantages and many of its features.

You can take it as the super guide to International SEO WordPress to avoid mistakes that may affect the positioning in the market you want to reach, we suggest you put into practice each of the knowledge mentioned.

So go ahead! You will have in your hands, the best access in communication for your company, no matter the size or the product you want to position, just using an appropriate website that facilitates the development of our proposal and reaches to empower more customers in the world.

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