If your business is local with absolutely no reason to make a global presence, it is better to use local SEO and get maximum output from the local customer base.

However, businesses selling products or services internationally need to plan well in advance regarding their marketing strategies.

Global SEO means making your website accessible, readable, comprehendible, communicable, and appealing to a large customer base – the whole world!

When you think of global SEO, a certain uncertainty creeps in – this is generally because analysing the trends of such a big customer base is difficult!

Let’s concentrate on a few standard Global SEO techniques that will help you with optimising your webpage for global customers.

Once these steps are followed, you are almost there, just a few customisations to suit your business, and you should be at the top of global search results and attract quality traffic to your website.

To start with let’s look at some basic steps:

  • Website content must be of a superior quality

    Do not spam the page with keyword repetitions. For global search engine optimisation, the content must be written in a comprehensible language, such that customers over the world can interpret easily.

    Avoid flashy language (whereever possible), as well as jargon.

  • Avoid targeting keywords with local references.

    This will categorise your website into the local market and affect your global ratings.

  • Always have a “translator” option.

    Customers over the world need not know the language of your website. You need to customise your website to reach the maximum number of global customers. Avoid using automatic translators where content of your website is concerned.

    Translate it manually, review it thoroughly and then place it on your website for customers to read. 

  • Use webmaster tools to further optimise.
  • Buy a domain name, with your local extension, and host your website in the targeted country.

    Optimising for your global presence does not mean that you hide your current location. It means, that make your services, products available and accessible to all types of customers, all over the world.

    Also remember that search engines have an option for customers to search products either locally or from all over the world, or even by languages.

  • Do not stop when you get a good ranking. 

    Global SEO is an ongoing process, with the ever changing market trends, new technologies and algorithms adopted by various search engines. There are even new search engines launched.

Martin Ebongue

Published 4 October, 2011 by Martin Ebongue

Martin Ebongue is CEO at SEOinnovators and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (11)

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aside from the internal areas you can improve upon the biggest challenge with global SEO is the lack of companies who can effectively do the job. I've heard many claims from large US based SEO companies about thier global footprint only to discover that this means they've hired a german speaker based in an office in London or that it is farmed out to "Partners" of questionable quality and experience. Even more cloudy once you get to Asia and Japan.

almost 7 years ago

Tarek Reda

Tarek Reda, Digital Marketing Manager at Freeplay Energy

I think the translation shouldn't only be applied to content on the website but the whole SEO campaign including on-site and off-site activities. For example a German site should have anchor texts and other SEO elements for link building in German, since the users will be searching in German anyway.
Countries like China are even more complicated, as not only do they use different language but they also use different search engines - e.g. Baidu - with different ranking algorithms.

almost 7 years ago

Guy Redmond

Guy Redmond, Digital Marketing Engineer at Nestle

In a previous role, we noticed certain keywords were driving traffic from countries we would never had thought to target, so we targeted them with localised PPC and created landing pages to match the language.
Conversion from these campaigns was high, 30-35%,(site average was around 1%!)

A big part of ‘going global’ is customer service.

To be successful, it is best to have local support for your customers, or manage the expectation of the customer, before they have to contact you. i.e. explain in the contact page that the customer service department is in Leeds, England and which languages you can communicate in.
After all, there is no point having a German website, when you customer service department is in Scotland...

almost 7 years ago


Janaki Pendyala

In a case where the client has a product that can be sold locally as well as globally, I feel geo specific sub domains can add value to local seo without diluting the global ratings.

almost 7 years ago


Alice Morgan

This is a field I'm very familiar with. I've designed a global SEO strategy for a major car company (for local implementation on the basis of centrally defined best practice tenets) and I have also designed and now run a similar programme for a pan-European car maker.

Finding the right agency is key to success (and I have come across the problems that Michael mentions - a lot) but so is keeping everything as simple, achievable and easy to explain as possible. What's good now is that SEO is so embedded in content strategy and we're not so concerned with nitty gritty details like keyword density. Much more interesting.

almost 7 years ago


Stacey " seo man " Dean

Nice points Martin. So many folk assume having a website means that they are global. It is not enough. The translator option makes great sense and so too at not stopping as the market is everchanging. Thanks

almost 7 years ago

Martin Ebongue

Martin Ebongue, CEO at SEOinnovators

Michael: Thanks Michael for your valuable input, I couldn’t agree more. Getting quality SEO work done is a challenge in itself.

Tarek Reda: Agreed, language barriers could create barriers for online businesses themselves. As you pointed out, German speakers will search in German anyways – it’s up to us to make provisions for our customers worldwide.

Guy Redmond: This was indeed a valuable input for us too! Having the language options on the “contact” page available for users can even help in customer retention, knowing that there is not only a website that they can read in local language, but also customer support they can talk to in local language. We shall continue to post many more similar posts and encourage participation to share our SEO experiences to build a stronger SEO community. Thanks for your comments.

Alice Morgan: Simple text content does matter. Thanks for your comments Alice, we ran into similar problems too.

Stacey: Thanks for your comments Stacey, SEO implementation is an ongoing process, and we need to keep ourselves updated with the latest trends and news to get top rankings.

almost 7 years ago

Edward Cowell

Edward Cowell, SEO Director at Guava UK

Is this article meant to be a joke or did you simply cut and paste a bunch or comments from different places, because it clearly looks like you haven't thought about it or just don't understand the intricacies of maximising a global search presence properly.

For a starter these two comments are contradictory:

- Avoid targeting keywords with local references.

- Buy a domain name, with your local extension, and host your website in the targeted country.

almost 7 years ago

david carralon

david carralon, Head of SEO EMEA & APAC at Career Builder


I dont think it is so simple. I am not sure I would advise so lightly to 'Buy a domain name, with your local extension, and host your website in the targeted country'.

There are far too many considerations to take into account before you can recommend buying local domains to a company that aims to go global. For example:

- will they have enough resource to penetrate into those regions/countries and promote their brand to locals
- will they have the resource to buy local domains and also meet the legal requirements of buying those local domains
- do they need quick wins or a long term international SEO strategy
- how easy is it for that company to garner links judging from their niche? they may be in a highly competitive environment where supporting local domains with link building will be unaffordable

Often it is easier to kick off into international markets with a more humble approach to International SEO like subfolder approach as part of their main gTLD domain, and the move onto local domains once the roadmap and benefits becomes clearer.

almost 7 years ago

Martin Ebongue

Martin Ebongue, CEO at SEOinnovators

Edward: Well, the points may be better put in this way:

Avoid targeting keywords with local references – this refers to the fact that using localized keywords for example “SEO implementers in UK” could work well with local SEO, but pose hindrance in global SEO.

regarding the second point, "Buy a domain name, with your local extension, and host your website in the targeted country"
– This is means that you can buy domain names with local extensions and yet optimize it for a global market.

I have received several queries from people wondering if what impact a local domain (with local extensions) could have on their global market and SEO strategies

Thanks for giving lme an opportunity to clarify.

David: Thanks David for your valuable comments and opinion. Right, this article was targeted to a very general “to do’s”. Research for each company’s resources and strategies can be individually considered, and recommendations drafted accordingly. Thanks again for your interesting inputs to the post.

Janaki: Thanks for your comment Janaki, sub domains would really add value to clients that have products for global as well as local market.

almost 7 years ago


Steve Broomhall, Online Marketing Manager EMEA at Johnson & Johnson Medical

So does that mean having multiple domains for each local market will get better SEO results? Or should there be one domain with local subfolders?

Does anybody have any views on the best domain strategy for Global SEO?

almost 7 years ago

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