Agencies & Brands lack experience when it comes to International SEO which leads to them making fatal mistakes. International SEO has certain myths surrounding it which need to demystified before you start implementing it. We have listed down the common International SEO myths below based on our experience.
5 Common International SEO Myths
Using a regional top-level domain
A common International SEO myth is that using a regional top-level domain (e.g. .ASIA) will enable you to rank higher in search results for particular a region. For International SEO, Google recommends using either ccTLD, sub-domain or sub-directory structure. The reason being that regional top-level domains (rTLD) are also treated as generic top-level domains (gTLD) by Google and don’t result in any SEO benefits.
ccTLD is better than sub-directory structure
ccTLDs certainly have an advantage over the sub-directory structure, but there is no credible data that proves that one is better than another. We have large brands like Samsung using sub-directory structure and still doing well in search results.
Local Servers vs. CDN
Marketers still believe in ranking higher in search results using ccTLD you need a local server as Google considers local server/hosting as one of the factors to rank a site higher. Google has stated that it doesn’t consider local servers as an important parameter when it comes to ranking a ccTLD website. Google, however, insists on using CDN instead to serve the site.
Another popular myth is the use of duplicate content across ccTLD. Matt Cutts from Google has clarified that carrying duplicate content across ccTLD doesn’t lead to any negative effect. Instead publishers & brands should focus on localizing language idioms, currency and other essential parameters for each ccTLD. However, the last time Google clarified about duplicate content was in 2011, and we don’t know for sure whether this rule still applies.
As a thumb rule, don’t just duplicate content on your site on to a ccTLD as it is kind of pointless. A gTLD (.COM) domain will always rank higher than a ccTLD if both have the same content.
HREF LANG vs. Auto Redirection
Webmasters tend to use some form of automatic redirection which detects users IP address and redirects them to another website or a ccTLD instance. Another widespread practice is to use the address language header to detect the user’s language preference and then redirect to localized content on a ccTLD or sub-directory version.
Google recommends against using automatic redirection and instead advocates correct implementation of hreflang. Proper implementation of hreflang should eliminate the need for automatic redirection. There are various reasons why Google recommends against using automatic redirections for example in countries like India we use multiple languages, users might use shared computers, impact on server load time due to all redirects, etc.
The above list is not exhaustive, and I would recommend that you check more myths shared in the Moz Article here. If you have a unique experience or myth that you have observed when implementing International SEO share them in the comments section below.