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The Internet allows us to find and interact with a global audience that we wouldn't have dreamed of reaching in the past. But bringing your website to people across the world presents some challenges that must be considered with respect to search engines and how they view the pages of your site. A fundamental thing to remember for international SEO is that the different search engines people use in different countries can vary quite a bit. While Google and Bing might cover the majority of US-based searchers, other countries will have different search engines altogether. Think of Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russia, both of which have an overwhelming majority of the search market in those respective countries.
Remember that search engines usually have geography-specific versions of their engines designed for the different regions of the world. Everything from the layout of the search results page to the language and types of content they think is relevant for a user in a specific country can be very different across these geo -targeted search engines. The first step to getting serious about international SEO is to have your site's content translated and regionalized to the appropriate language and country combinations you are targeting. This is going to take some time and resources and it's not a place to cut corners.
If you don't have the proper resources in-house, there are some very good translation and interpretation services out there that will ensure that the quality of your page translations in other languages is just as high as the content written in your original language. Once you have the content translated, it's also going to be important that you create new pages on new URLs for your different language content, and that you provide an easy way for users to switch languages on any page of your site. It's also important to consider that although the same language can be used in different countries, there are lots of different flavors, dialects, and cultural differences from country to country.
If you operate in Mexico, Argentina, and Costa Rica, you might consider having not just one translation for the Spanish language, but three for the regionalized versions of each of your pages. As you put your translations and regionalized pages up, make sure to take a look at the data you'll be gathering in your web analytics solution. This is where you'll be able to see which search engines are driving what kind of traffic to which regionalized sections of your website, and you can use the same fundamental measurement and optimization concepts to ensure that you're finding and leveraging opportunities, as well as creating and promoting content that speaks to users in their own languages.
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