When you're just starting out with search engine optimization, it can be easy to fall prey to some of the myths that float around the internet about advanced SEO techniques.
SEO has changed in major ways over the years.
It's impossible to keep up with all of these changes unless you're constantly following industry news, studying the latest trends, and watching how your competitors are doing things differently from you.
To help you avoid any pitfalls and truly optimize your website, we've debunked the most common myths surrounding global SEO below.
One of the challenges of global SEO is that there are many different factors to consider when optimizing a website for international audiences.
In addition, not everything works for everyone.
This can make it difficult to know where to start or what to do next.
The start of international SEO can be tracked back to as early as 2006.
However, in 2010, in Google, things started to get really exciting.
The tech giant revealed some crucial hints that they use to detect geo-targeting, presented the pros and cons of the main URL structures, and gave loads of advice about what you should or shouldn't do on your site.
So, what makes international SEO so confusing is that:
- There are different guidelines, and not everybody understands them.
- Different search engines have different guidelines.
- It really depends on your budget, website authority, time, and staff.
- There are many technical tips and best practices to consider that may or may not work.
- Guidelines change over time, and it's challenging to keep up
- You must constantly measure and test your strategies to find out what works best for your site(s).
You might think that you need to have multiple websites to rank around the world, but that's not the case.
In fact, global SEO is more complicated than just ranking in different countries.
You don't necessarily need multiple websites to rank internationally.
In fact, you can work within the confines of your current main domain.
If you look at your website's analytics — and you don't have geo-tagging — chances are you already have some kind of traffic coming in from various languages and countries.
The only thing to remember when deciding if you need separate websites is that your new websites will start with zero authority.
If you want to rank well in multiple countries, you need to have a different website for each country, right? Wrong.
There are actually many different ways to structure your website for global SEO, and the best approach depends on the unique challenges of your business.
There are 3 options you can choose from :
- Country-code top level domains (ccTLDs)
- Subdirectories with gTLDs (generic top-level domains)
And even Google doesn't recommend only one structure and instead has published their pros and cons breakdown you can use for international targeting.
Myth #3: You Can Duplicate Your Website & Each Will Rank in Their Country-Specific Versions of Google
You need to take into account the different search engine algorithms, user behaviors, and cultural nuances of each country.
Duplication is NOT giving you an added boost.
It can not only be expensive but also ineffective as there will be cannibalization.
For example, if you have a site like mybusiness.co.ca that mirrors mybusiness.com, the latter will normally outrank the former.
This happens because geo-targeting is outweighed by the domain authority of the .com.
So, you shouldn't just host your site mirrored across multiple ccTLDs just because.
It's only effective if you can localize and differentiate each and every one of them.
Many marketers believe that geo-targeting your content is enough to rank for keywords in other countries.
However, this is not the case.
Again if you have two pages that are precisely the same and you geo-target them in Google Search Console, that doesn't mean those two pages will show up in the correct version of Google.
Don't get me wrong.
I'm not saying that you should neglect geo-targeting altogether.
However, different search engines use several clues to help them handle international content, including
- The translated content
- The translated URLs
- Local links, etc.
One of the challenges of global SEO is that your website needs to be accessible in multiple languages.
But, you can't just rely on URL parameters to indicate the language.
You need to ensure that your site is properly translated and optimized for each market.
If you need help, you can always hire a freelancer on Legiit.com for any translation needs.
And if our word is not enough, know that even Google recommends against using URL parameters to indicate the language.
The problem is that these parameters aren't trustworthy.
Sometimes they may be indexed; sometimes, they are not.
However, search engines always prefer unique URLs.
Advanced SEO strategies are always evolving, and what worked yesterday may not work today.
As a result, it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.
However, there are some myths about global SEO that just won't die.
Keep in mind that if a site layout and user experience work best in your core markets, this doesn't mean it will work across all markets.
And please don't rely on automated translations – it will only hurt your SEO efforts.