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Americans Don’t Understand International SEO

I’ve come to a conclusion, based on the number of responses (0) to various posts I’ve put up on the subject of International SEO, that Americans don’t know jack about the subject, and probably don’t have much of a reason (usually) to care.

I did get some enlightened help on one particular SEO message board I was on, but it didn’t look like these people were Americans.  Most of my fellow countrymen, by survey, can’t find the city of Budapest on a map, and have never heard of places like Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.  It’s unfortunate, since I’d be willing to wager that just about anyone in Dubai or Kuala Lumpur could point to New York or Los Angeles on a map. 

And they probably speak English, too.  Hmph.  Figures.  Apparently 90% of the Internet is written in English.

But here’s what I’m trying to accomplish with foreign SEO, and perhaps some other enlightened individual can assist. 

(and this is example text only, but is what I’m trying to put together)

Best Practices:
Encoding:  Set to UTF-8 and language set to local iso language code
HTML Titles:  Use foreign chars, UTF-8 encoding, title case
Meta Keywords: Don’t worry about translating these, not used by search engines
Meta Description: Custom-written SERP-friendly text written and translated
Page Filename:  For Japanese, Chinese, use UTF-8 local chars in links, and decoded ASCII filenames.  For Russian, Greek and Hebrew, use whatever is easiest to program.  For en_US and western european languages, use ASCII filenames in links and filenames, with transliterated “oe”, etc equivalents for accented characters

…or something like this.  Some stable guidelines like that.

Anyone with any bright ideas?

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5 thoughts on “Americans Don’t Understand International SEO”

  1. Pingback: Greek » Americans Don’t Understand International SEO

  2. Dont forget about analysing keywords in each market and translating accordingly (usually a direct translation of terms doesnt quite fit).

    Also, one should consider getting links in their own market and even more importantly hosting the site there. For instance, if my site is Portuguese, I’m better off hosting it there and getting links from other sites hosted in Portugal.

    And sort out the basic URL & db structure that works no matter what language it is in.

  3. Thanks for the answer. Do you have any experience with using non-ASCII terms in the URI? It does seem to be a non-standard practice, but didn’t know if anyone else had experience with this with regards organic SEO.

    Also, are there countries you’ve noticed where it matters (more than others) where it helps to have the site hosted in that country? I’ve definitely done some tests myself on main terms in foreign Google results (like,, etc) and it seems to be a mixed-bag.

  4. Dear turbotad,

    Are you ‘Jetteroheller’ ? I am just using this line here to try and get in touch with ‘JetteroHeller’. I found his/your fotos tonight via an email from and would like to exchange communication with you, if you want. I find your fotos inspiring and some of your comments/captions. I have no idea what a ‘networking engineer’ is or does. I live in a small town just south of Cologne, Germany, and I am a painter (art). I am newly enrolled on the VM online course and about to begin studying, which I am hesitant yet thrilled to do 🙂 .
    -Be nice if you’d respond.

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