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How To Begin Working In International SEO

Jo Turnbull

by Jo Turnbull on 10th October 2012

ColosseumJo Turnbull takes us on a whirlwind blog post that looks at how to get started in International SEO, with stories from Barcelona, Florence, New York and Las Vegas.

International SEO, also referred to as multilingual SEO and global SEO, means optimising sites and engaging in link building to increase the visibility of a site in foreign markets. Andy Atkins-Krüger highlighted the key differences between national and international SEO in his post on Search Engine Land and explained it’s more than just languages and domain types.

Types of International SEO managers

In short: An international SEO manager is someone who is responsible for SEO across different geographical markets, and this typically can occur in two ways. I recently met with the two types of international SEO managers when I carried out the State of Search Euro 2012 Roadshow. These types are:

1. Working in a local market

Most of the SEOs who I met worked in their local market. They optimised their sites and engaged in link building in their own language. It was interesting to meet the Swedish SEOs as they also worked with the other Scandinavian markets, Norway and Denmark where the markets are a similar size as is the culture.

When I met 6 SEOs in Florence, many of them worked in the travel industry and therefore they optimised some of their sites in English as well as in Italian. The English market was far more competitive than the Italian market, but they had to have a site in English if they wanted to attract visitors from outside Italy.

2. Working across multiple geographical markets

When I was in Paris, I met an international SEO manger working for a multinational media agency. Her role was to ensure all the countries within Europe were using the same tools to carry out SEO. Although she was based in Paris, she was responsible for the SEO strategy across Europe meaning she had to travel to each of these countries for training and meetings. She had to take a more holistic approach to SEO as she would not be able to optimise in each of the different markets, instead helping those in the local markets to be more efficient and effective when using the SEO tools.

How to become an International SEO manager

Conferences:
There are many training and conference sessions to introduce you to international SEO. I was fortunate enough to attend International Search Summit (ISS) in New York, organised by Webcertain which focuses on international SEO and social media. Their latest ISS was the day before SMX East and they have one in London and one in Las Vegas before the end of the 2012. At conferences, there is always the opportunity to meet other SEOs who work in different markets, and this will help you learn new ideas.

Training:
ISS also has an International SEO school in Barcelona which offers intensive international training courses across SEO, PPC and social media. For those who want to become more involved in international search, it is important to look into attending these sessions. They will provide the knowledge to optimise international sites with confidence.

Move abroad:
For those who really want to get involved in international SEO where English is their first language, one option is to move to a non English speaking country. To start with the work may involve working on sites in English, and may be based outside your home country. Once the language barrier has been overcome, it is possible to work within the host country and use the second language to maximize SEO potential.

I took a particular interest in international SEO as I spent most of my childhood travelling round the world and enjoyed learning different languages and about different cultures.

Anyone interested in International SEO should first attend a Search Marketing Conference, such as SMX and SES to meet other international SEOs and decide whether they would like the challenge of working across different geographical markets. After that it’s all about learning and continually pushing yourself to be better.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.

Image Source

Colosseum in Rome, Italy via BigStock

Jo Turnbull

Jo Turnbull

Jo Turnbull is a freelance SEO consultant and is the founder of SEO Jo Blogs. She is passionate about search and travel and took part in the first “State of Search Roadshow Euro Roadshow”, meeting 17 SEOs all over Europe. Jo is also the organiser of Search London which holds events every 6 – 8 weeks featuring key search professionals in the industry. Jo has a broad international background, having lived in many countries around the world. She speaks French, Spanish and some Japanese.

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