The Difference Between International and Local SEO

Ayraxs Seo


Can you guess how many users navigate to the second page of Google search results? According to Forbes, less than 1%! This stat highlights the importance of SEO in helping businesses achieve online visibility and search engine rankings in today’s expansive digital landscape.

However, the approach to SEO can vary significantly depending on whether your target audience is local or international. Most businesses lose significant sums of money and valuable time by adopting an SEO strategy that contradicts their business objectives. Therefore, before you choose your SEO route, you must understand the fundamental difference between international and local SEO.

In this blog post, we will dissect each strategy, highlighting the key differences between local and international SEO. This will empower you to make a well-informed decision while choosing the right SEO strategy for your business.

What is International SEO?

International SEO, otherwise known as global SEO, is the process of optimizing websites to attract traffic from an international audience encompassing diverse regions, languages, and cultural contexts.

Global SEO is suitable for businesses aiming to reach an international audience.

International SEO works by signaling to search engines that your site has content suitable for searchers based in a specific country. This allows search engines to easily identify the targeted countries and languages you use for your business.

Examples of businesses that are optimized for International SEO include online stores offering worldwide shipping, SaaS companies, financial consultancies, digital learning platforms, and media sites.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of optimizing websites that helps businesses appear at the top of local search results. Businesses aiming to target a specific geographical region such as a town, a neighborhood, or a city, optimize their websites for Local SEO to rank better in local searches.

This strategy is extremely beneficial for companies that have a physical presence in a particular geographic region.

Examples of businesses that are optimized for local SEO include retail stores, local diners, clinics, law firms, and local auto repair shops.

Key Differences Between International SEO And Local SEO

To settle the debate of local SEO vs global SEO, let’s compare these two strategies based on key SEO features.

  • Targeted Audience

The major difference between local and international SEO lies in the scope of their targeted audience.

International SEO has no geographical limitations and is more suitable for a global audience. This strategy is highly effective for businesses selling products or services globally, like e-commerce platforms or multinational companies.

In contrast, Local SEO focuses on a specific geographical area or community and optimizes content for local search queries. This strategy is more suitable for targeting clients within a limited geographical zone. Businesses with a physical presence, such as brick-and-mortar shops and service providers, can use local SEO to reach customers nearby.

  • Keywords Strategy

Effective global SEO requires meticulous keyword research tailored to each country and language to ensure businesses hit the mark by targeting the precise keywords that their audience is searching for. International SEO may target keywords like “best podcasting software” or “best protein powders.”

In comparison, local SEO requires a more local approach by utilizing specific keywords tailored to a particular area or locality. For instance, local SEO can target keywords like “plumbers near me.”

  • Content Demands

International SEO involves creating unique content tailored to each country and language. It is essential to create separate versions of the website for different countries to accommodate users with diverse cultures and languages. A global car manufacturer, for instance, would have to create separate pages of their website that are specific to each country in which they operate.

Conversely, local SEO is aimed at creating content that is localized to match a specific audience in a given geographical region. For example, a local Chinese restaurant might want to highlight the culture and cuisine of its city in its content strategy.

  • Link Building Strategy

Link building strategy for international SEO involves building links to relevant and well-known websites in every language and country. A software company might need to link to technology blogs posted by high domain authority websites in every country it operates in.

For local SEO, more localized backlinks are used. In this SEO strategy, businesses seek citations from local sources and connect with regional websites through backlink acquisition. It might include local businesses or community organizations directly involved with the local business’s location. For instance, a flower shop can get links from a local blog to increase its local search ranking.

  • Local Citations and Google Business Profile (GBP)

Optimizing businesses for GBP and local directories is an essential component of local SEO. This requires updating relevant business information such as name, address, and phone number (NAP) in online directories and GBP profiles. A local dentist in New York, for example, would want to make sure that their business information is updated in local directories.

However, local citations and GBP are not necessarily important for international SEO. For example, a global software company would have a target audience that is not searching for local businesses anyway.

  • Domain Structure

International SEO requires different domain structures, such as country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), subdirectories, or subdomains optimized for each country. A global retailer, for instance, may have separate domains for each country they operate in, such as for England or for Germany.

Local SEO does not require separate domains and can function on a standard domain tailored for a local business.

  • Budget

The operating cost of executing an international SEO strategy will vary depending on how many countries and languages the company is targeting. A global retail store that targets 20 countries would require a significantly higher budget than a local restaurant targeting customers in a specific region.

As Local SEO focuses on one particular region, it is usually a lot cheaper than international SEO.

How to Choose the Right SEO Strategy For Your Business Needs?

To choose the right SEO strategy for your business, you must identify your target audience.

  • Businesses that are operating worldwide with an international target audience should optimize for international SEO
  • Businesses that are operating within a defined geographical location catering to a local clientele should optimize for local SEO

Apart from that, you should consider your SEO budget and choose a strategy that aligns more with your long-term business objectives.

Propel Your Business with Ayraxs

Looking for a local SEO agency or an international SEO company to enhance your business’s visibility and boost your search engine ranking? Ayraxs will implement the perfect SEO strategies custom-tailored for your business to skyrocket your digital footprint and enhance your online visibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is international SEO important for businesses focused on getting traffic from a local audience?

No, businesses that have a local clientele and are not aiming to expand internationally should not optimize for international SEO. This will help them save costs and focus on their targeted audience i.e. local audience confined to a particular region.

  • Is SEO different in different countries?

Yes, different countries have different languages, cultures, and customs hence, SEO varies from one country to another.

  • What is the difference between local SEO and traditional SEO?

Local SEO focuses on optimizing a business’s online presence to attract local customers, whereas traditional SEO targets a broader audience without geographic limitations.

Ayraxs Seo

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