International SEO: Best practices for B2B multilingual sites

International SEO (search engine optimization) is important for businesses that are operating in more than one country. Optimizing your website for a global audience helps increase engagement rates and traffic. 

It’s important that you are always ranking on search engines for the language you are speaking. For example, if you want to reach searchers in Italy without speaking Italian, it might not be the easiest thing to do. 

Therefore, in this article, we are going to learn more about the best practices to follow for B2B multilingual sites. 

International SEO Best Practices

Choose the proper URL structure 

Your URL structure plays a big role in search engines. Google has its guidelines when it comes to managing multi-regional sites. However, let’s review what they have to say as we will start taking some examples with Italy: 

Country-specific domain (ccTLD)

For example, This is a country-specific domain, and helps you rank much faster in the specific location. It’s easy to analyze, but the only thing to look out for is for it not to be occupied. 

Subdomains with General Top-Level Domains (gTLD) Still country-specific, but doesn’t have any rank boosting. The subdomain is more likely to be available than with a ccTLD. 

Subdirectories with gTLD This is easy to maintain, but you need to make sure you use a content delivery network (CDN) to make sure that visitors are consuming the content fast enough. 

URL parameters is one example for this part. This isn’t a separate URL, so Google won’t see your translated content, and guess what? You don’t get any SEO benefits from this. 

We gave examples that you can use for each part, but as we mentioned before, it depends on the region you are targeting. We used examples with supposing that we are targeting an audience in Italy, but of course, you need to see which area you are targeting and create your URL structure based on that. 

Get help from an international SEO agency 

Google has around 8.5 billion searches daily, so it’s important to rank well if you want your website to be seen in a specific region. If you want to reach new markets around the world and have no idea on how to do so, getting help from an international SEO agency is the right choice to make. 

These types of agencies optimize your content for search engines in different countries around the world. It’s not just about translation, but these agencies know how to create high-quality content that communicate with audiences from different cultures. 

An agency offering international SEO services will help you with the following: 

  • Competing in new markets around the world
  • Building your brand in new markets 
  • Increasing your international sales from the countries you are trying to target 

If you are thinking of choosing an international SEO agency, here is a quick list that we’ve put together for you: 

  • Skale: Offers international SEO services in English, Spanish, German, and other European languages. With their international SEO services, you get SaaS link building, high-quality content creation, website migrations, and an SEO growth strategy. Skale has no boundaries and offers global services. 
  • Ignite Visibility: Offers international SEO services in multiple languages, public research, and social media marketing advice. Their main locations are in the USA. 
  • WebFX: WebFX is all about technical SEO advice, competitor analysis, high-quality content creation services, and international SEO services. WebFx’s location is in the USA. 
  • Delante: Great for helping you with your keyword research, translation services, link building, and giving you international SEO advice. Their main headquarters are in London, UK. 

There are plenty of international SEO agencies out there, but your choice will strongly depend on which one best fits in with your business requirements. 

Don’t forget to translate everything on your website 

When we say everything, we are also referring to the hidden parts of content that users don’t always see whenever they are visiting a website. When you create a multilingual website, it might sometimes be easy to forget about the hidden parts of your site. This is the text that is in the background and pages that users see only when they need to perform a certain action.

The ‘hidden’ parts of a website include: 

  • Metadata descriptions 
  • Meta Tag titles
  • URLs
  • Image alt text
  • Contact and checkout pages
  • Newsletters 
  • Error messages 

Meta Tag and metadata titles are really important when it comes to SEO, since they are the ones that will be displayed on Google’s search engine. 

Use keywords based on the location you are targeting 

There’s no such thing as universal keywords, nor is it simply using keywords for your region and each language that your site is targeting. For example, searching for cookies doesn’t have the same term in each country; in the US, they say ‘’cookies’’, but in the UK, they would say ‘’biscuits’’. 

Additionally, you need to see how high the competition level is. For instance, keyword competition in English would be much higher than in another language since most search queries are in English, but you can always use SEO tools to help you solve this problem. 

Semrush is a great SEO keyword-research tool that can help you find how competitive a keyword is in each region. Remember that the higher the competition, the worse it is for your website to rank if you don’t have a lot of incoming traffic. 

Localize your content

Localized content involves creating messages that connect to a specific cultural context, preference, and different behaviors associated with target audiences. This goes on a deeper level than just translations, but is connected to local customs and traditions. 

By localizing content, you can not only connect on a deeper level with your audience and improve engagement rates, but improve SEO performance by providing valuable content in many languages. 

Build up your local backlink portfolio 

Local backlinks show how reputable and valuable your website is to users, increasing search engine rankings in local search results. You can do this by engaging with local businesses, organizations, and even influencers that will help you earn quality local backlinks. 

Securing these backlinks will help your website become more visible, credible, and trustworthy in each language market you enter. 

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) 

A CDN is a network of servers that is placed in multiple locations. Its primary goal is to distribute content to users more efficiently. It’s important for your international SEO strategy for two reasons: 

  • Loading speeds: Helps websites load more quickly. CDNs make sure that users from different locations can access your website in a much faster way, reducing any delays. 
  • Reduces bounce rates: When it takes a website a while to load, users will most likely leave. High bounce rates will have a negative effect on your search engine rankings. CDNs tend to keep website speed optimized, retaining users, and keeping bounce rates low. 

Out of all the websites that Tooltester managed to test, the average loading speed of a website is around 2.5 seconds on desktop and 8.6 seconds on mobile. Therefore, if your website loads faster than this, or equivalent, it’s good results! 

Invest your time in quality translations 

Quality translations are important for multilingual SEO success. Natural-sounding translations make sure that the content resonates with your target audience and increases engagement and credibility. 

Our best advice to you would be to avoid AI translation tools since they are not as accurate and might not get the proper message across. Therefore, your best bet is to hire a professional translator that fluently speaks a language and understands the context of it. It may take more time for a professional translator to translate your content, but the good news is that it’ll be accurate and understandable. 

A website that is translated by the AI is easily distinguished and the worst part is that it makes you look unprofessional. Moreover, there’ll be more room for inaccuracies and this negatively affects your SEO ranking and increases bounce rates. 

Your multilingual site can become better than you think 

Perfecting your international SEO strategy might be a challenge, especially when you have to do so in multiple languages. Localized SEO plays an important role when it comes to attracting the right audience and providing your users with a good user experience. 

As search engines refine their algorithms, businesses need to adapt to the changes in order to stay competitive in organic search results across different markets. In a fast-paced digital landscape, working together with an international SEO agency, and with professional translators can really give you the hand you are looking for. 

About The Author: 

Tony Ademi is a freelance SEO content and copywriter. He has been in the writing industry for three years and has managed to write hundreds of SEO-optimized articles. Moreover, he has written articles that have ranked #1 on Google. Tony’s primary concern when writing an article is to do extensive research and ensure that the reader is engaged until the end.

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