Anyone at least moderately familiar with SEO best practices has a good understanding of both the importance of link building as well as the fundamentals of the approach, but for those who are just getting up to speed, here's a quick synopsis.
What is Link Building?
Link building is a tactic or series of tactics that increase the number of websites linking to a particular page or domain. Some factors in this approach include:
- How many links are pointing to a specific page or a domain from other unique domains?
- How are the links positioned and what text is included in the hyperlink on the page they live on?
- What are the unique characteristics of the site(s) linking to the page or domain?
A website with a large number of inbound links to pages can enjoy a boost in rankings when a search engine deems those links as valuable. The value is determined by authority, relevance, popularity, and other ranking mechanisms that make up the algorithms of Google and other search engines.
Think Like an International Search Engine
To take this approach to an international campaign means building upon the foundation of domestic link building practices and beginning to think how a non-domestic search engine might look at it.
Here are a few questions to ask, using India as an example:
- Is the information on your page relevant to visitors from India?
- Are people in India writing about the topic on this page, and do they consider this particular site a good resource when they do?
- Are other popular sites and authors in India linking to this website?
Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)
Whatever your target countries are, you should make sure that you have websites that are based in that country linking to your pages and domain. Target specific regions for link building efforts by soliciting and acquiring links from target ccTLDs that match the country or region you are targeting. For instance, if you were targeting India, you would want to make sure that several websites with the domain .in are providing backlinks.
To help with your efforts, there are several SEO tools that allow you to analyze your backlinks by location and/or ccTLD, which should make this easier, especially if your SEO campaigns are targeting multiple countries.
The Media Relations Component
A good link building campaign has a lot of similarities to a media relations or PR initiative. You want to get reputable sources to write about you, and ultimately link to you. Not all news outlets will hyperlink to your site, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Find popular sites in the country you are targeting and create a plan to solicit links from them. This applies not only to larger news sites, but also to bloggers who are often more likely to provide a link to your pages.
Don't forget directory sites as well, many of which can be country-specific.
The methods to acquire these links are similar to a domestic campaign, but the individual outlets are sure to vary from location to location.
One thing that you shouldn't do is to assume that your link building strategies can be exactly the same as they are for your domestic efforts, even if some of the tactics do bear a striking similarity. Make sure you invest the time and effort to truly understand the media culture of the countries and regions you're targeting.
To put this in perspective, consider the effort you have invested in local link building efforts and remember that the same type of research and education will be required in each region you target.
Finally, remember that, like any other SEO effort, link building needs to be real and genuine if it is to be truly successful. If you don't have anything valuable to offer audiences in your target country, you need to rethink your objectives. With a solid value proposition, however, it is really just a matter of getting up to speed on your new target country.