What Are International SEO And Local SEO?

International SEO

international ball

If your site provides service in language other than English or operate in countries other than US, you need international SEO.

International SEO mainly concerns international Google sites because of Google’s market share globally.

International SEO may sound scary especially if you are not familiar with the local language, but many of the SEO principals still applies.

One of the most common mistakes that we see in international SEO is actually in English. It is a misconception that every English speaking country speak the SAME English.

Moreover, many companies utilize the same English content across their international site which causes self-competition issue, which we will discuss more.

Site architecture for international SEO

There are three ways to target international visitors via the site’s structure as indicated below. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages depending on how you want to target the international audience.

  • Sub-directories


http://www.example.com/en/ (English page)

http://www.example.com/es/ (Spanish page).

  • Sub-domains

http://br.example.com/ (Brazil site)

  • ccTLDs

http://www.example.com (USA)

http://www.example.com.mx (Mexico)

Local international search engines

In certain countries, Google is no the dominant search engine in which case we need to understand how local search engine works in order to enter the local market.

For example: Yahoo! in Japan, Naver in Korea, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russia.

In most cases, the foundation of SEO still applies, but it is important to understand the difference between these search engines and Google in order to create and optimize your site to rank high.

Resolving self-competition

When your business is targeting multiple countries that have the common language (US, UK and Canada for example), from business operation standpoint it makes sense to just use the exact content to save resource. However, this could lead to self competition and results in the site that has the highest authority out ranking other country site.

Image below shows IBM’s US site out ranking its Canadian site on Google.ca for search query “IBM counsulting”. This could potentially cause poor user experience, lost leads and sales.

We can help you resolve this issue by implementing hreflang annotation.

IBM- US site out rank canada site


Local SEO


If you have a brick and mortar business, you should consider utilizing Local SEO to boost your online traffic. Below is a list of local search results that Google shows on its search results. Your site will not appear under these results if it is not optimized for local search.

1) Local Carousel

local SEO carousel

It appear on the SERP. As you can see it pulls data from Google

2) Local knowledge panel

local SEO knowledge panel

A local listing and map pin with a Knowledge Graph panel showing on the right hand side. As shown below, the local listing with a map pin could appear on position other than the first position.

3) Local packed results

SEO local packed results

One of the most familiar local results that is blended with organic results. The typical pack are 3 or 7 results and can appear on any position within the organic results. There was a report that post Pigeon algorithm update, appearance of these packs have decreased noticeably.

4) Local near results

SEO local near results pack

The results shown in this block is purely local data pulled from Google Maps.

5) Google Map + pins

SEO google map results

Google map location details

The Google map box appears on the right hand side of SERP. Clicking on the pin will direct the user to full screen of Google Map along with the location information box.

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