A Quick Primer On Building International Links For Your Website
Once you’ve established your company and used SEO to boost your traffic and improve your SERP ranking—what’s next?
While many businesses become comfortable in their stagnancy, the only way you can keep your position as an industry expert is by continuing to grow.
One of the top ways to nurture your digital presence is through international link building. This SEO practice can take your business to the next level, allowing you to set up shop as a global industry expert instead of a local one.
Table of Contents
What Is International Link Building?
International links are an essential ingredient in ranking your website for relevant search terms on some of the biggest search engines worldwide.
Also known as multilingual link building, it follows the same principles as typical SEO link building campaigns but on a much larger, global scale.
This ensures that potential clients from around the world can find you through valuable content on authoritative websites, thereby increasing your credibility. Additionally, this trustworthy content provides readers with value, boosts your business’s visibility, brings in organic traffic, and improves your website’s ranking on results pages.
When creating your international link building strategy, SEO specialists look for credible international websites from the location(s) you want your business to expand to.
Your SEO team then translates your website’s content to the appropriate language for the benefit of the local audiences who click-through to your pages.
An expert team of SEO professionals won’t just give you a direct translation of your pre-existing English content. Instead, you’ll receive unique, relevant, fresh content that is written in the correct context to inform and delight your new international audience—no matter where they are in the world they’re from.
This makes link building an essential component of good international SEO.
However, it can be difficult for webmasters and site owners to keep track of Google’s requirements for acceptable links. Add to this the further complexities of getting links from foreign websites, and you have a monumental task at your hands.
The Challenges of International Link Building
International link building is hard because you have to consider factors you wouldn’t usually think about during local SEO. Some of these issues include:
Your target country might have its own search engines. Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia instead of Google. Furthermore, some countries—including Cuba, Iran, and North Korea—have restricted access to Google and its services, while China has outright banned it.
Differences in language. You may need to optimize for English and a local language in case people do an English-language search in a country where it isn’t the primary language.
Differences in cultural sensitivities and understanding. An SEO campaign that works well in one country may not impress audiences in another. Understanding differences in culture is essential to effective international link building.
But countless businesses go through all that trouble because international backlinks help boost their page ranking.
Unique Factors That Enhance International Link Development
When your website is linked from other high-authority and respectable domains, it sends a signal to the search engines that your site is important, so they send more traffic your way. Expanding your business to another country is a massive milestone.
But, while you may be ready to introduce your products to a global clientele, it won’t happen without international link building and SEO practices.
And that is easier said than done.
Differences in cultural context, language, and search habits can make international online visibility seem like a tricky, far-away concept. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice, and you’ll need dedicated resources to give your website a more global appeal.
Here’s what needs to be done to improve your SERP results worldwide:
Provide The Best User Experience
Imagine you’re a German citizen reading an online paper written in Deutsch. You’re trying to be more environmentally conscious and, coincidentally, you come across a link in the newspaper for a company that sells bamboo toothbrushes. You click on the link—and find out that the company is based in Los Angeles and only services clients there.
Poor user experience is harmful to SEO. All SEO practices revolve around making the customer’s experience as fruitful and effortless as it can be to convince them to convert.
Therefore, SEO specialists need to ensure that they’re offering clients relevant products, services, and content while using international link building practices.
Using Appropriate Anchor Text
It’s vital to remember that European sites get many anchor text variations due to the different languages people speak. Many site owners link back to your website using their language, thereby causing your anchor text to be ineffective for targeted keywords and phrases.
SEO specialists ensure that your webpages have clear, understandable titles, so websites link to you using them. The webpage should be in the native language of the country where you’re offering your service. Some website owners will also connect to your article pages if they’re relevant and clear. It’s also essential to understand that some anchor text is necessary and helps your website build a healthy backlink profile. The best aspect of bringing your business online is that it is only a click away from customers across the globe.
But how can we make an international target audience aware of your presence?
Contact Websites That Link To Your Original Website
Businesses usually build websites in their native language and then make content in other languages, offering site-wide translations for international visitors.
Chances are that the original website will likely have many links from external authoritative websites.
In that case, request your link building team to assess any links that take visitors to your original website and reuse them for the translated website too. You’ll find several high-quality links this way—primarily if the original and target websites both utilize the same language.
An example could be an English-language website that’s targeted separately for the UK and Australia.
Similarly, if you’re based in the US and plan to expand to Spain, your SEO specialist will check for any Spanish websites that link to your US website.
However, most website owners don’t update their website’s links to provide visitors with your new local website’s link. This pattern is broken by website owners whose native countries primarily depend on languages that follow unique scripts—such as Korea or Japan.
For instance, as few as 2% of Japanese people in their native country can speak English fluently. Therefore, website owners in Japan will be willing to update their links and provide their readers with high-quality, niche-relevant, Japanese-language content.
Your SEO specialist should identify all the links that point to your localized website instead of its original one. Next, get in touch with the owners of each website to ask them if they’d be willing to work with you. Give them the URL information of the link you want their website to point to.
If your website uses multiple languages and has several local versions, it’s advisable to check for links that point to each one. It’s highly likely that you’ll find many links that lead to the wrong page or language website. In this case, you can contact the website owner to update the link.
That’s the key to building a robust link profile that streamlines user experience by helping them reach the ideal website for the location they’re in.
Use TLDs To Get Their Attention
Your website will rank higher on SERPs in your target country if you acquire backlinks that use country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).
ccTLDs are two-letter codes that websites use to indicate which country or district they’re registered in. Using ccTLDs helps you narrow down which websites will likely impact your site’s international rankings with a reasonable level of accuracy.
On the other hand, it’s a risk to use paid links from domains such as .pl or .tg. While backlinks from these domains may improve your SERP ranking, a competitor may inform Google that you’re buying links, or you could get flagged.
Understand What Your International Customers Need From You
Countries can be poles apart even if they are situated right next to each other. Whether you compare the US vs. Canada, or Poland vs. Germany, you’ll see a vast difference in people’s likes and dislikes.
These differences often extend to how the locals approach and trust digital media and their parameters for trusted websites.
An SEO specialist can help you understand potential buyers as they set up your multilingual link building campaign.
Understanding cultural differences and local practices make a huge difference to your SEO content. The right professionals can help you explain why your products or services are beneficial to international customers within the frame of their culture and society.
If you’d like to get started early, check out this report by Reuters to understand the digital landscape of different countries.
Find Out What Content Works Best In Your Target Country
Potential clients expect you to offer them fresh, niche-relevant content. However, it’s not just the content that matters—it also matters how it’s visualized. Tools such as Buzzsumo allow you to check what type of content relevant to your niche gets the most backlinks and shares. You can check how to display your content in a way that appeals to your new audience and rank higher on SERPs.
Take Advantage Of Marketing Opportunities
The best kind of websites provide niche-relevant content to consumers all around the world in a variety of languages. They also maintain a consistent link profile while localizing content for native speakers.
Suppose you’re the founder of a company that sells automated machine welding robots.
A popular blog that focuses on developments in the manufacturing industry features one of your products. Content from that blog is available in six languages to readers in fifteen countries. Your business operates in ten of them.
Suddenly, your product is front-and-center in front of decision-makers and influencers in your niche.
It’s best to provide the blog writer with a list of your local URLs to ensure that they include the links you want them to. Since visitors to the manufacturing website will appreciate the improved user experience that relevant links provide, the website owner will likely update them without any issues.
Build A List Of Media Contacts For Outreach
Before launching a local website in an unfamiliar language, it’s prudent to perform link research and discover what other businesses in your niche are up to.
You’ve probably heard that in the world of business, contacts are everything. Building lasting relationships with journalists at niche-relevant publications can help you gain the backlinks you need. SEO specialists use dedicated analysis tools such as Moz, SEMrush, and AHREFs to find high-quality local websites that are likely to link to your website. These tools enable you to check the websites that link to your competitors’ and compare them with the websites that link to you.
You can use your competitors’ backlink data to find journalists at relevant websites and add them to your PR or media list.
Link research involves narrowing down your top competitors in every country you want to target. Additionally, your primary research should explore local companies that rank highest in searches that use your target keywords in every target country.
Use Tools To Master Outreach
When you’re contacting journalists or potential customers in a new country, you’ll need a native language speaker to write your emails. This practice will help you ensure that the reader will understand your content and that the email won’t be flagged as spam.
Using tools such as Buzzstream will help determine which efforts are most effective by tracking outreach through responses and open rates. Essentially, Buzzstream enables you to carry out A/B tests on your emails. If version A of your email gets more open rates and responses than version B on a sample size of your contacts, that’s the one you should use on the rest of your mailing list.
You can also use social media to reach potential customers in a new country through targeted Facebook ads and Snapchat stories.
Make The Most Of Every Link Building Opportunity
SEO specialists maintain that obtaining high-quality backlinks is the hardest part of their job. And it becomes even more challenging if you have a well-designed website with hundreds of pages and a reputation to maintain.
But that makes it more important than ever to take advantage of every opportunity and build high-quality backlinks. For example, your business events—such as marketing conferences or product launches—are not only places for industry experts to network but also an excellent time to strengthen your link profile.
Let your marketers interact with authoritative website owners to obtain high-quality backlinks organically. If it’s a launch, your company can gain links to its newly released product by networking.
While authoritative websites in the UK and the US dominate SEO link-building practices and English is among the most spoken and understood languages in the world, it’s easier to gain the trust of international customers by providing them with your company’s website in their native language.
Expert multilingual link builders will minimize the number of bounce rates your website experiences through accurate translations. SEO specialists will also ensure that all your URLs are unique when introducing additional pages for multiple countries to your website.
An SEO specialist who has the necessary experience and expertise needed to handle your international link building needs will also enhance the user experience for your website’s visitors.
Make sure that they:
Don’t just use the URL for the homepage since you’ll rank higher on SERPs when you utilize URLs for relevant pages your website comprises.
Obtain high-quality traffic by using the URL for the language and website local to each specific country.
Work with recognized websites by providing them with a URL list to include and request a link back to relevant local pages.
However, the problem is that marketers have little to no idea of the best practices involved in link building and SEO in general. Marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand in today’s age, so it’s imperative that you train all your employees to recognize the value of quality backlinks and how to receive them.
The best course of action is to incorporate the best international link building practices into your marketing team’s training materials and work processes. This way, these practices will become a part of your overarching digital marketing strategy instead of being a mere afterthought.
Ready To Start International SEO For Your Business?
While it sounds intimidating to build links in an international market, professional SEO experts can help you out. At SEO.co, we offer our clients the highest-quality white-hat link building process that will help them scale their business.
Our multi-step process enables us to identify and create valuable content and reach out to the authoritative news sites, blogs, and publishers in your niche to build backlinks. Our dedication to quality SEO will help you rank higher in SERPs, receive more organic traffic, and convert more leads. For more information, check out our detailed guide on what you should pay for link building services.
Contact us today for the best multilingual link building services and watch as your international business takes off.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International.
He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.