International SEO VS. Local SEO: Optimize Wisely for Your Online Business

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

When marketing your e-commerce business, you should never underestimate SEO. While it won’t give you instant results, it will help you get tons of free traffic in the long term.

However, before starting your SEO journey, you should first know one thing – are you going with local SEO or international? This article will help you pick the best SEO route for you and how you can get started.

Differences Between Local SEO & International SEO

It’s easy to distinguish each one apart! The only difference between them is who you target. Local SEO targets smaller groups of people, such as countries and cities. And the international one looks to get traffic worldwide!

You might be interested in international SEO as it has the potential to bring more traffic. And while that’s great, I suggest you first understand the strengths and weaknesses of both SEO types.

These are a couple of things that make local SEO great:

  • Less Competition: While there’s an opportunity to get more traffic with international SEO, there’s also stiff competition. However, for local SEO, there are fewer competitors, so it’s easier for you to rank on the first page.
  • Better Conversion Rates: According to RVS Media, 28% of all local searches result in sales. That’s more than one-fifth of the traffic.

But do keep in mind that you’re losing the opportunity to get a lot of traffic with local SEO. So which one should you choose?

Well, there is no wrong answer here. That’s because it all depends on you and how big your market is. You won’t benefit from going international if you’re a local brick-and-mortar store with an e-commerce store. However, for more extensive e-commerce or dropshipping business, it’s best to target globally.
Photo by Sarah Blocksidge

Tips for Improving Your SEO

Now that you’ve decided on the SEO type, it’s time to give you some tips to make your website more optimized and start getting organic traffic.

Tip #1 - Targeting a Language

The first thing we should do is target the correct language. That way, we can narrow the people who search for our products. So what language should we choose?

Well, the answer’s different depending on the type of SEO you chose:

  • For International SEO: It’s best to stick with English! However, you should also try making your online store multilingual to target other markets.
  • For Local SEO: If you’re a local business, it’s best to pick the language of your country.

Tip #2 - Using the Right Keywords

Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO! Without them, no website would rank in search engines. And to make sure you target the right keywords, you need to do keyword research!

However, doing this is a bit different depending on the type of SEO. Let me explain!

Let’s say you’re looking to improve your local SEO. Well, for this, you should find different keywords:

  • Location Keywords: These are keywords that end with a location. So, for example, a location keyword would be "marketing agency in Seattle."
  • Keywords in Local language: Another way to target local audiences is by using keywords in the local language.

For international SEO, long-tail keywords may be a good idea to meet the needs of a border audience.

Tip #3 - Going beyond Google

While Google is the biggest search engine, you shouldn’t overlook its competitors. That’s because other search engines could be more prevalent in other countries!

Other search engines you should consider are:

  • Baidu – China
  • Yahoo – Japan
  • Naver – South Korea
  • Yandex – Russia

If you’re an international e-commerce company, the same applies to you! With this, you can improve your search results in other countries!

Tip #4 - Create a Link-Building Strategy

Apart from keywords, there’s one more aspect you need to get right. Without links, Google won’t rank you as high as it associates linking with high-quality content.

Although there is no definitive way to do it, there are a couple of practical ways:

  • Guest Blogging: If you can write for a popular blog, then you can easily link your store to the blog post. Not only does it help you get more traffic from the blog, but it also helps you improve your search rankings.
  • Influencer Marketing: Whenever you have a campaign, it’s great to take advantage of it and link your store briefly. And if you’re looking to improve your local SEO, it’s best to use local influencers.

These are just a few of the ways you can improve your link-building. However, whatever you do, make sure you don’t fall for link-building services. That’s because you usually won’t get good quality links back, which could worsen your search rankings.
Photo by Damien Lusson


As you can see, both SEO types are great and work well depending on your business. Instead of letting this information collect dust in your brain, why not start implementing the tips?

(Contributed by Andreas Ojala & Hermes Fang)

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6 years experience in digital marketing. A gracious loser, not a lousy winner.


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