7 SEO Localization Strategy Steps to increase Traffic

Websites that are aiming to grow their traffic have a great opportunity to reach new readers, visitors and customers by applying a SEO localization strategy.

It is not a secret the advantages of the internet for businesses, and those who want to grow overseas can easily do it with the support of a correct SEO localization strategy.

Following up we will discuss what are the advantages of developing a search engine optimization localization strategy, the difference between SEO Localization and SEO translation, and we share the steps that are helping us to reach new visitors from all around the world.

SEO localization Banner
Written by
Table of Contents

Why develop a SEO Localization Strategy?

SEO experts already know the advantages of this digital marketing strategy to grow the volume of traffic that a website receives. 

There might be the misconception that SEO is a free tactic to gain visitors, but certainly, the investment is done in several areas of SEO such as content creation, blogger outreach, link building, keyword research tools, and some other SEO tools to optimize a website.

But overall, it lowers the customer acquisition cost in comparison to other digital marketing strategies such as SEM, social media ads, or email marketing.

The traffic that is obtained from search engines already has a user intent behind what they are looking for, bringing up better opportunities to reach business targets.

A successful SEO strategy will be the one that is paired to business goals and also understand the needs of their visitors search.

In terms of International SEO strategies, the focus in mind is to go global and reach a wider audience.

A fast business expansion with the help of search engines is possible with website localization.

Business owners who have a global SEO mindset, or who have SEO specialists on their teams, can be achieving great success just by implementing a localization SEO strategy.

As our efforts to grow our website, we have implemented a localization SEO strategy that has helped us to gain ranking in search engines in different countries for SEO keywords.

It has been more than a year that we have strongly focused on content localization, but we still have been missing more work on international link building.

SEO Localization

As you can see in the graphic, by the end of 2021 we saw an increase on clicks in Google Search Console, but afterwards we have been stable in the number of clicks in 2022.

As well, with our global SEO tactics, we have reached visitors from all around the world in the last year.

Our SEO efforts focus for the rest of the year is to keep up the SEO translation, content localization, the use SEO tools such as Writerzen to optimize content, and to focus even more on international link building.  

Analytics Map SEO Localization
cropped view of seo manager sticking paper with seo illustration on glass

SEO Localization vs SEO Translation

There is a big difference to denote between SEO translation and SEO localization, but the first one goes with the other.

For websites that want to reach audiences from other parts of the world, it might be enough to use now artificial intelligence improved translations, but it will still miss the part of translation localization.

SEO translation might only focus on the content translation and the translation of the Meta Data.

There are already WordPress translation plugins, Shopify Apps, Wix Addons and so on, that can support with the SEO translation task.

But in order to rank in other countries, it is also neccessary to do the keyword translation localization, because even if the translation is correct, the sense or user intent with such keyword might not be the same in other language.

This is the goal of website localization when doing International SEO, to understand the culture to properly target languages and users.

7 SEO Localization Strategy Steps to Increase Traffic

Following up we share some SEO practices for a proper localization strategy.

1. Analyze the Target Country, Language and Culture

Before you start implementing your International SEO strategy, you must analyze which countries will you aim for, which are your target language, and most important, learn the behaviours and cultural adaptations that have to be done.

As an example, Latin America is a big region being Spanish the main language. But the Spanish from Mexico is not the same as the Spanish of Argentina or the Spanish of Ecuador, in the sense that there will be words that are not used for the same meaning.

There is avocado which in Mexico is “Aguacate” and in Argentina is “Palta”. 

And so there will be differences between the regions such as the arabic speaking countries, balkan countries and those who base their alphabet in cyrilic.

But this cultural differences are known when working with locals or native speakers, that is why it would be recommended to search for international SEO experts of the country to do the further cultural and translation localizations.

2. Website Translation Plugin

If you are using the most popular platforms to create a website such as WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, Wix, Bigcommerce, and Squarespace, you should not worry of needing to add html code to be able to have a a multilingual website.

Brands such as WPML, Weglot, Conveythis, Bablic and Translatepress are among the best translation plugins that can be used for website localization.

They will help out with different aspects that are required for an International SEO strategy, such as the setting out the URL Structure, SEO content translation, Meta Data translation, automatic translation, creating the correct Sitemap to be submitted to international search engines and technical SEO aspects such as Hreflangs.

The big advantage of such translation plugins is that they can do most of the work automatically, saving you time in the process of website localization.

We recommend Weglot for E-commerce stores built up in Woocommerce and Shopify.

We recommend WPML for Content Websites like online news portals, magazines and blogs in WordPress.

We recommend Conveythis if you are looking for a lower cost alternative of Weglot.

We recommend Translatepress if you have a small website and want to start for free.

3. Define URL Structure

As discussed in our article of the International SEO checklist, a website has to define what will be their domain strategy in order to move forward with it.

ccTLD, or domains focused in just one country are already targeting the specific region within their domain name.

This global SEO strategy is recommended for businesses who have the resources and and a team of SEO specialists tht can focus in just their specific domain for the targeted region.

Having ccTLD will certainly target directly a region, but this also means that the SEO efforts done will be concentratted in just that particular domain.

Here we have the example of Amazon, who has specific domains for the countries where they operate.

In other hand, if you are just starting, small business, solopreneur or have a small team, than you might prefer to start with a Subfolder structure, which will be seen as for german, and for french.

This way the SEO practices done for linkbuilding will remain in the main domain, and it won’t be split into multiple domains.

As your business grows and your brand has a strong position in the market, then you can start analyzing if stay the same or move to a ccTLD. 

A great example of website localization with subfolder structure is Canva.

They have an awesome team full of SEO experts doing blogger outreach worldwide to build up the SEO authority of a well established brand.

4. International Keyword Research

As mentioned, there will be words in different languages that might not have the same user intent.

An international Keyword research will require advanced SEO tools for a proper analysis.

When you select a keyword research tool with the intention of doing global SEO, make sure that the database where they get their information complies with worldwide data, this way you can be doind the keyword research for the specific country you are aiming at.

The research will help you to evaluate the search volume of your keyword and help to make the decision if the translated word is accurate or if you will require to do furhter localization.

5. Content Localization

Once that you have done your Keyword Research and created your amazing piece of content, you can move on to do On Page SEO optimization with tools such as Writerzen that will help you to polish your text with semantic and Google NLP keywords.

Plugins that are using artificial intelligence to do their translations will have a certain level of localization, but to do further enhancement, content marketing tools like WriterZen and Surfer SEO will level up your game to reach SEO success.

This is a key factor for your website localization strategy, since the content is an important backbone structure to be able to rank in international search engines. 

6. Hreflang and Technical SEO

Hreflangs code is required to tell search engine crawlers that your website has content in different languages.

With the Hreflang tag code search engines will know which page should be shown to international visitors.

Thanks to the multilingual plugins, there is no action required since they take care automatically of adding the Hreflang code to the website.

Also, it is important for a succesful SEO strategy to set properly technical SEO aspects.

Make sure that you have your SSL, a mobile friendly website, a fast website that is optimized for Core Web Vitals, and that the Sitemap is added to international search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex and Baidu, if you are aiming for the chinese market.

For SEO success, Rank Math is the best SEO plugin for WordPress that can help to optimize SEO content but as well to check out technicalities of your website.

7. Build Country Specific Backlinks

It is already known the importance of a link building strategy as SEO tactics to rank high in search engines.

When it comes to a global SEO strategy, then it is required to have also a strategy to build links from the target countries.

If you have a polyglot team for blogger outreach, then you can start out from there, but if languages are not your thing, you can buy sponsored posts from trusted international sites.

Backlinks Gigs from Fiverr might not be the best quality, and to build up SEO authority it is best to get links from websites that have high DA, high DR and organic traffic, and those are rare to be obtained from Fiverr.

Traditional guest posts or PR is probably the best way, but if this is not an option for you due to language or time, then the following websites can be a great source of sponsored posts and guest posts.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from USA, India, Pakistan.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from Spain, Mexico, France.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from Spain and European countries mainly.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from different countries.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from Germany and European countries.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from Poland.

Sponsored guest posts to get backlinks from France and European countries.

More about SEO