Semalt Advice On How To Move Your Site From Local SEO To International One

Local SEO or an International SEO What's Right for You - Markivis

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Local SEO? 
  3. Local SEO vs International SEO
  4. What to Optimize for International SEO
  5. Conclusion 


No one wants to remain local. The number one reason a business or a brand migrates from owning just a physical store to having a social media account and a website is simply to go international. Internationality brings diversity and, best of all, awareness (visibility). You can only reach so many people by staying local. But when you move things up to the international level, you can widen your audience reach and even make more sales. 

What about when you add in SEO? The truth is that SEO makes the whole story behind locality and internationality slightly different. Already, SEO makes a business go global. It includes the employment of certain skills and tools to help online content rank (or, in other words, get popular) for specific keywords. So how can something that makes your website popular (SEO) stay local? Read the full guide below on Local SEO, what it means, why it's important and how it relates to International SEO. At the end of the guide, you will also be able to tell when you should or shouldn't move from local SEO to an international one.

What is Local SEO?

For the sake of beginners, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. For generations now, SEO has been a major part of search engines, website development, and all things that appear on the internet. It is a part of little things such as online adverts and more major things like a company website. SEO also appears on social media platforms, blogs, sites, podcasts, online video platforms, within every image, and in many more places. As long as it is online and you can find it after searching, it has gone through some sort of optimization for search engines. 

Local SEO applies the same understanding but for a targeted purpose. When it comes to Local SEO, the content is optimized for search engines within a restricted boundary. In other words, if your business is under local SEO, you can only be optimized (popular) for users within the geographical region your SEO plan is set for. For instance, if you are optimized locally for Connecticut as a cleaning service, all the SEO tools will be employed so that your business pops up in searches that are made in and around Connecticut - hence the word 'local.' 

In that case, Local SEO does not in any way mean that your business or SEO plan is hidden from the world. It only means that the tools are equipped to help you build awareness within a specific region only.

Local SEO vs International SEO

The meaning of Local SEO has already been established - SEO tools and activities for a high website rank within a geographical location. Logic will then have it that international SEO is the exact opposite - SEO tools and activities employed for a high website rank globally. Though the difference between the two is already clear with their definitions, there is a lot more embedded in these concepts. Below are 4 differences between local SEO and International SEO.

1. The Goal

The goal refers to the motive for employing these tools. The reason behind adopting SEO is to rank on search engines for a keyword. That is, if you have a website on archery, you want to be known in that niche as a trustworthy online source for information, services, or products related to archery. The goal of Local SEO is to create and solidify brand awareness around a certain location. This means that the target is not necessarily just to be known as a trustworthy source but also to become a monopoly in that region alone. International SEO is to build on pre-existing awareness for a competitive edge and global recognition. 

2. Reach

Reach refers to the amount and type of audience that a website or content attracts. When a website has a good amount of reach, more visitors can be expected and increased sales are likely to follow. For local SEO, the target is to reach prospective customers within a specific region. Most of the time, local SEO is adopted to build a strong and loyal customer base within a small, controllable region. As for International SEO, it is generally employed to gather a wider audience. Here, your website is shown to the world and so the world is your audience.

3. Tools

Tools that are employed for each of these parts of SEO are specially utilized because of their guaranteed results. Though you can try to use any of the broad list of SEO tools available, it wouldn't work as well as when you employ the techniques specially designed for the SEO form. With that said, local SEO employs Google My Business, On-Page Signals, positive online reviews, a strong backlink Profile, Online Citations, statistics from behavioral Signals, and local content among others. When it comes to international SEO, the tools get a bit broader. You would have all the skills embedded within local SEO, alongside geotagging, localization, a website with engaging and optimized content, technical SEO, on-page and off-page SEO, website redesign and responsiveness, SXO, and so much more. 

4. Users

Local SEO is better when it comes to conversion of internet users to loyal customers. Therefore, businesses that will benefit from local SEO are startups, small-scale businesses, companies with a geographical location, and large-scale businesses that benefit more from close-proximity customers. Companies within the latter mention include gym centers, restaurants, hospitals, and so on. The kind of businesses that can benefit from international SEO are those that sell to a global audience. This can be true for e-book sellers, e-commerce stores that adopt deliveries, large businesses with branches all over the world, and so on.

What to Optimize for International SEO

Before jumping into the steps, you should know whether or not moving is the best thing for your website. You should only migrate to international SEO from local SEO if:
If you apply to any or all of the above criteria, you can move on to migrating. Here are the ways to optimize your website for international SEO.

1. Language Translations based on Countries and Regions

It is a no-brainer! When you go international, you are bound to encounter linguistic barriers and regional specificity. Even though many companies presume that English is widely spoken, it is best to translate all content to a few additional general languages like French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and so forth. If your target viewers are dispersed over several areas and speak various languages, this would be useful. You might not need to worry about the language disparities if the optimization is only regionally distributed, such as in America, some Asian countries, or Europe alone. In this case, you can sit back with English (US), Chinese, or English (BR) respectively. Additionally, you might need to go back and review the translations after working on the languages to make sure that the meaning of some words remains the same when they are translated from one language to another. For instance, if you are marketing your mattress and pillow materials with an adjective like "breathes," which in another language meant "respire," it would be very deceptive.


2. Optimize for Special Search Engines 

Google, Bing, and Yahoo may be names you are already familiar with. What about Baidu or, though? Sounds odd, right? You probably don't reside in China, which is why. Since you are attempting to reach a global audience, you must consider the requirements of every region, including those where a different search engine is utilized than what you are accustomed to. Therefore, in your efforts to improve your website's Google ranking, you should also do the same for other search engines, especially those that are widely utilized in various parts of the world.

3. Update your Keywords and Content / Product

Recall that the whole essence of SEO (regardless of the type) is to rank for relative keywords. In that case, when you are moving from local SEO to international one, your keywords also have to change. While you might still be able to add the names of states and countries, it cannot be limited to one region alone. Further, you might also need to update your content and topics for a wider audience. For instance, if you are accustomed to selling products for equatorial countries, you have to widen your product available for those living in the temperate region as well.


Moving from local SEO to international SEO is not only extensive and time-consuming, but it is also quite difficult if you wish to handle every step on your own. It is preferable to either hire professionals or, even better, outsource your SEO requirements to a qualified SEO company. You would be able to boost your productivity by doing this, which would also raise your odds of success and lower your risk of making mistakes.