It’s a concept that can short circuit my brain when I’m tired. International link building is effectively local link building in a foreign tongue, the desired consequence of which is to rank highly in local search results. The ‘international’ aspect is merely a question of perspective. Sites wanting organic visibility in other countries, need to think locally. This means considering how search engine algorithms select the most relevant sites for a given search query as well as knowing the interests and culture of your target audience.
Search Engines And Relevancy
If you consider that the main purpose of a search engine, whether it’s Google, Yahoo, or any other local engines (such as Baidu in China for example) is to show users the most relevant search results for any given query, we can gain some understanding of what might be required for our link building efforts. Links gained from sites which carry a country specific TLD will carry more weight with local search engines as they are deemed to be more relevant.
Build Links From Country Specific TLD’s
This means if you have a website and want it to rank highly with Google in Germany, obtaining relevant, quality links from .de websites is highly recommended. Google will view that your website is relevant to a German audience which will result in higher rankings with Google Germany.
Build Links From Sites Hosted In Target Country
Even better than choosing to acquire links from sites with country specific TLD’s, is to choose those that are hosted in the target country too. This will give a small boost in rankings as search engines will see added relevancy. If you are able to, hosting your site with a provider in the target country and using a country specific TLD, will add geo-targeting benefits to your campaign.
Build Directory Links
I know this is rather retro and not in keeping with modern search marketing such as content driven strategies, but the fact is that SEO in continental Europe and other countries is a few years behind the times, and local directory link building, can still work. The markets in some countries can be less competitive than those in the UK and US. In France for example, search development has been hindered through the use of their electronic telephone directory – Mintel. Directory link building can reap rewards with high rankings, but beware of relying on this as a long term strategy. These under developed markets are rapidly catching up.
I live in the UK and guest blogging is a common and effective link building strategy which I’ve had good results with. However, in some countries in continental Europe, guest blogging hasn’t yet penetrated the general SEO consciousness. The results I’ve had to outreach emails have ranged from ones of bewilderment as to why I should want to publish content on a site which isn’t mine, to demands for recompense. Outreach emails can be tricky too, if you don’t speak the language. A word of advice – don’t use Google translate and think you can blag your way to getting a guest posting. It’s both disrespectful to the webmaster you’re conversing with and will almost certainly guarantee no reply. Use a translation service for both outreach emails and content production.
Whichever country you wish to target a website at, links are still of major importance when it comes to ranking. It is important to get quality links from the region you are targeting as this gives a signal to local search engines, that the website is relevant to the geographical region in question. Some countries may be slightly behind in SEO tactics but this isn’t an excuse to rely on one or two link building tactics. Wherever in the world you wish to rank, creative link building strategies will be safer for your website and ensure long term success.