There are many ways to get international links. Like anything when it comes to link building, it isn’t easy. If you know the blunders ahead of time, your odds of actually getting a link will greatly improve.
Global Link Building: Avoid the 5 Biggest Blunders
When it comes to international SEO, most of the rules are the same: have a site that can easily be crawled, make sure your pages are ripe with relevant content, and have good quality links pointing to it. However, this is easier said than done.
U.S. link building tactics quite often don’t work in other countries. This is one major reason why people call international search experts to figure out what went wrong.
To increase the odds of getting a link, here are the top five biggest blunders companies should avoid when they venture to global link building.
1. Not Focusing on Directories
If you roll back SEO about 10 years, you’ll find the two most popular ways to get links were through directories and link exchanges. There were so many directories and their accompanied submission software submitting to them that search engines weight from their links gradually waned. Pretty soon, the U.S. went from thousands of “relevant” directories to a tiny handful that mattered.
Outside of the U.S., it’s a different story in many cases. Directories in many countries are common and hold a lot of weight. They are also easiest to get into if you find relevant ones. Remember, like Yahoo, many directories require payment.
2. Same Language, Wrong Country Links
Ever wonder why your U.S. website.com is still ranking over your website.co.uk? You followed all of the rules, got a ccTLD, hosting in your target country, and even de-duplicated your content. It’s most likely because you have U.S. links and their corresponding anchor text linking from the U.S. to your UK site.
Just because the language is the same, if you want your links to really count in the UK, get UK originated links.
3. Link Buying
This is a biggie and I only reluctantly put it here as number three in order to hide it from the GEA (Google Law Enforcement Agency). I agree with Google that participating in paid link networks will get your site banned if you get caught.
Yahoo Japan was literally spammed to death because of not regulating paid links. Their users ended up using Google Japan to search because the results were so bad. All that’s over now that Google Japan powers search for Yahoo Japan.
However, outside the U.S., you will find that the most useful sites to get links from have a webmaster or SEO specialist that expects some sort of payment for their hard work in getting their site to its current level. Besides that, it’s widely known that every bit of space on a site has unprecedented value. Unless you’re willing to budget some money to PayPal off to a German webmaster, your best opportunities for linking may be missed.
4. Translated and Offensive Content
I grew up with a family that had French accents on my father’s side and Greek on my mother’s side. It was pretty insulting to them when just because they have an accent someone would slow down and speak to them with simple words. Similarly, I see sites who do a quick Dutch Google translation and ask their Dutch webmaster to link to them.
Just because you could halfway understand a translated Russian to English page, doesn’t mean in other languages they can understand your content. It’s insulting and some cases can be downright offensive to those in your target country.
Do your readers and yourself a favor: get a native to really translate your content to the target market. (Including same language content…American English translated to British English.)
5. Poor URLs
In many cases this is a blunder that you don’t have much control over. You can run out and get a ccTLD, have a directory structure, or even a subdomain structure that has your webmaster tools allocating the spiders to the correct country’s content. It’s not about spiders in this case. But the problems arise when you’re trying to get links.
Many directories in other countries will only let you have the root URL listed. So if yoursite.com/fr/ is submitted, they may have it link straight to yoursite.com missing the entire French benefit.
Often, webmasters make mistakes as well. For example, I’ve seen links to deyoursite.com when it was submitted as a subdomain de.yoursite.com.
Also, your URLs should be entirely localized. For example, yoursite.com/French should be yoursite.com/francais/. You don’t want to risk losing your chance on a link because the URLs aren’t localized, even if your content is.