Domestic SEO was much easier than expected. How does that impact international strategy?
I accomplished what I thought is impossible for five pages on my site. We achieved page 1 and 2 ranks after launching a few months ago without creating any external links or social signals. One page's keywords has medium competition, but that page is getting a little link juice forwarded from it's previous domain. That site was not as well focused or well built for SEO, and never made it to page 2. The other four pages have low to low-medium competition and do not benefit from any legacy link juice.
The keywords for each of the pages target a different but similar niche product made by well-kown major multi-national corporations. We sell a generic replacement for those niche products. Each of the products has true global consumer demand.
Since launch the site has been tweaked to improve internal SEO and to enhance the ability to market internationally in preparation for an external SEO campaign. I was about to hire an SEO firm for link building, but now before doing so, I am rethinking my stratgey and hope to get some advice especially since this is my first foray into international SEO.
For SEO on the default pages I still plan on a little link building, but substantially less. It seems like it will be relatively easy to achieve top 5 with each of the products. (Actually, one is already there.) Does that make sense? What about long-term SEO maintenance? Do you think it's worth much of an effort?
We're using hreflang tags with xml site maps for the international URLs. The site maps for the first four new countries were just submitted to Google yesterday. The XML looks something like this:
<url> <loc>http://www.example.com/en-us/product1</loc> <xhtml:link href="http://www.example.com/en-us/product1" hreflang="x-default" rel="alternate" /> <xhtml:link href="http://www.example.com/en-in/product1" hreflang="en-in" rel="alternate" /> <xhtml:link href="http://www.example.com/en-au/product1" hreflang="en-au" rel="alternate" /> </url>
For now, we are only targeting English speaking countries so the only substantive differences on the pages is the currency of the prices. We're using a CDN to ensure fast page loads from a close-by IP address. In each of these countries, the competition for the keywords is not as strong as the US.
Do you think that we're likely to achieve similar organic SEO results by doing nothing? Do you think link-building will accelerate the ranking?