Is International SEO More Important Now?

    May 5, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Ranking in search engines, particularly Google, is not getting any easier, but how often are you considering the search engines around the globe? Many in the industry see international SEO as only gaining in importance.

Do you think it’s more important for marketers to optimize for different search engines around the world than it used to be? Share your thoughts in the comments.

A recent report from BrightEdge indicates that the majority of search marketers think that it is becoming more important for sites to rank in global search engines. According to the firm’s survey, six out of ten believe it will become either “more” or “much more” important this year, compared to last year. 36% said “more,” while 27% said “much more.”

Global SEO

“SEO marketers at global companies aspire to reach customers worldwide, and drive leads, revenue and traf!c through global SEO initiatives,” says BrightEdge in the report. “Looking beyond a single country also helps them demonstrate a greater ROI on marketing investments. Not only does this boost marketing ROI but also maintains global brand consistency while accommodating local nuances. A global concerted approach to SEO marketing addresses these needs.”

Respondents were specifically asked about Chinese search giant Baidu, with 31% saying it would be much more important to rank in Baidu in 2013, and 10% saying “much more important”.

BrightEdge - Baidu

“With roughly 540 million internet users, 900 million mobile users and 388 million mobile internet users, China is the world’s largest internet market,” says BrightEdge. “Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, is one of the most valuable gateways to this large internet user base.”

You can download the report in its entirety here. It deals with numerous topics, far beyond the topic of global SEO.

Another recent report (via MarketingCharts) from Covario found that Baidu generated three times more global paid search clicks than Yahoo/Bing in Q1.

“I no longer believe it makes sense for any company to roll out an international SEO programme to multiple countries without also having a PPC campaign in place,” writes WebCertain CEO Andy Atkins-Krüger in a post for Search Engine Land about multinational SEO. “In some cases, we would recommend leading with PPC and landing pages first, rather than full blown (and relatively expensive) international SEO.”

He adds, “There are a number of reasons why we recommend this, but one is that user satisfaction on your site can be measured much more quickly with PPC than with SEO. Behavior really matters — so if you can study it first and quickly with PPC, your SEO efforts later will work out to be much more successful. I do worry that the association of search engine warnings with SEO being ‘bad’ are beginning to stick with people who are newer to the industry, and therefore, SEO is having a health warning attached.”

Dave Davies has a great article on international SEO considerations at Search Engine Watch, in which he concludes, “While expanding one’s market is generally a good thing, what people often forget is that you still have to maintain what you have, so make sure you have the resources. Many wars have been lost simply by trying to fight them on too many fronts.”

“If you have just enough resources to dedicate to a successful SEO strategy in your own country, it doesn’t make sense to expand in that you’ll be drawing resources away from the strategy that’s keeping the lights on,” he adds. “You need to make sure it’s the right decision for your business and if it is, make sure that you’re picking the right strategies to maximize your odds of success in the shortest period of time.”

In your international optimization efforts, you may also want to keep in mind some recent changes Google has made to its indexing systems. They’re now treating some country-code TLDs differently in terms of geography vs. generic. The list will change over time, but right now, these are the ccTLDs Google is considering generic: .ad, .as, .bz, .cc, .cd, .co, .dj, .fm, .gg, .io, .la, .me, .ms, .nu, .sc, .sr, .su, .tv, .tk and .ws.

Are you increasing your focus on international SEO, or are you simply focusing on your own region? Let us know in the comments.

  • http://www.quantisoft.com Howard Deutsch

    Yes, international SEO is important for any business that has products and/or services they can sell beyond their current markets. There also is another benefit of international SEO. One of the criteria Google appears to use in determining search position is the number of hits yur site receives. Added traffic from international sites can be helpful in increasing search position.

    We are a New Jersey based survey company doing business primarily across the U.S. We have recently conducted employee surveys and IT customer satisfaction surveys for companies in Canada, England, Australia and elsewhere thanks to the Internet.

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  • http://travel365.biz.tc Dr. Robert

    As Google shifts more to Google Places and marketers of certain industries go to geo-targeting, those of us in the international market have to be more vigilantly pro-active in our global SEO. I also see where Google is testing SEARCH w/o displaying URLs which means even LOCAL SEO will be more competitive.

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    really its good

  • http://wwwmarcoandnaplesrealestate.com Helga Wetzold

    With more and more Florida Real Estate purchased by international buyers internationalSEO becomes more important than ever.

  • http://businessoxygen.net Business Oxygen

    It is important for a multinational company… but for a small business whose primary aim is to provide service to local clients, local seo is still the way to go.



  • http://www.atlasbiomechanics.com teri green

    thanks, we been doing this for awhile

  • http://dikikezper.blogspot.com Diki kezper


  • http://www.sswebexperts.com SS Web Experts

    Really International SEO is more important now.

  • http://www.beeingsocial.in/ SEO Services

    International SEO is important because now a days every business person wants to expand their horizon to a bigger and wider market.

  • http://www.designedgifts.co.uk DesignedGifts

    International SEO will not doubt be important to large organisations but for the local businesses there focus will be localized SEO.

  • http://www.flashwebz.com Pete

    You can’t ignore international search engines. Google isn’t the only search engine and more so in the international arena. There are so many other search engines in use even if they are smaller seems to be a preferred choice in some smaller countries or towns. So you much take this into account to fully leverage your rankings and reach

  • http://www.paymentway.com.ua Saveliy

    International SEO is very important now. But SEO must be clean and honest.

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  • http://www.graciousstore.com Gracious Store

    For companies that sell their goods and services across the globe it will make sense to optimize for global search engines, otherwise if the target area of a business is within its local country, I don’t see the need to optimize for global search engines.

  • http://www.omawo.com Quentin sabanowski

    I really like M. Atkins-Krüger comment about testing the market first with a PPC campaign as it is a great way to find what keywords would work better for the SEO strategy.

    Lots of comments on local business, multilingual SEO could be beneficial. for example, I am French and there is more than 100,000 French citizens in London.

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    nosso site

  • http://www.cpasitesolutions.com/ kenny

    This is just an anecdotal observation. I have no hard data to back it up, but I’m pretty sure link spamming foreign language sites can be an effective Panguin exploit.

    I’ve noticed a certain competitor of mine has had a huge amount of success recently using a LOT of really skeevy level one links from foreign language sites.

    Again… this is only a hunch, but I’m getting the distinct impression that Panda and Penguin have not yet been implemented on foreign language sites, which actually makes sense for penguin anyway. Detecting spins is a pretty language specific function.

    • http://www.iwebmarketing.it matt@iwebmarketing

      Tested on my skin, penguin works on main languages (italian,spanish ecc.) as good as english.

  • http://www.iwebmarketing.it matt@iwebmarketing

    international and local seo together with target socials are what customers are looking for…

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  • https://plus.google.com/102273790461756622017/posts Brittany Howell

    International SEO is definitely growing in importance, but it depends on who you are targeting. If you are a company with a local focus, then obviously it isn’t on the top of your priorities list.

  • http://www.axiomseo.com SEO Consulting Port Orange Fl

    Is like in pertinence with search monsters like yandex and what not?

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    Nice article and appreciate the point of view of Howard Deutsch !!

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