International SEO: How to build a global footprint

International search engine optimization (SEO) remains one of the foremost ways for a brand to establish their global digital footprint.

It is a hugely challenging endeavor that rewards those who find the right blend of global best practices and local-level insights.

Global trends like the adoption of a mobile-first approach should shape international SEO strategy, but this must be imbued with the usage trends that make each territory distinct.

If businesses can incorporate local insights and tailor their approach to the technical, linguistic and cultural nuances each new territory inevitably brings, SEO can be a scalable and highly profitable marketing channel.

This already sizeable opportunity continues to grow as the global internet population increases. There are now over 4 billion internet users worldwide, which is still only 53 percent of the total population.

While Europe’s internet penetration sits at 80 percent, the Asia-Pacific region remains at under 50 percent, and Africa is as low as 34 percent.

The trend is marked: Every year, the global digital population grows by hundreds of millions of people. As more people get online, they tend to use search engines to navigate the trillions of universal resource locators (URLs) on the web. According to a recent study by BrightEdge, 51 percent of that search traffic goes to organic search, too.

Statcounter reports that Google has a 92 percent share of all searches worldwide, but it faces serious competition for that position in important markets like China, Korea and Russia. As such, we should dig deeper before assuming Google is the go-to search engine globally.