International linkbuilding

So, you have finally decided to venture outside your local market and appeal to an international audience. The good news is that you can do it with the right international linkbuilding strategies.

Since the internet is used in different countries with varying languages and search engines, such as Baidu and Yandex, brands that want to go truly international must consider all of them. Today, top-ranking pages on Google have 3.8 times more backlinks than the ones found on positions 2-10. 

However, all links aren’t the same and the results they fetch differ significantly. If you use the right SEO link building strategy, it can change your online game for good. This write-up will take you deep into the international SEO tips and tell you how you can build a dominant online presence on a global scale. 

What is International Linkbuilding and Why Do You Need it? 

International linkbuilding is getting hyperlinks on other websites’ pages that lead to your website. These links serve as a signal indicating that your website is trustworthy and offers something valuable. Moreover, using the right keywords can also rank higher for them in search engines. For instance, if you’re a business based in the UK and want to expand to other markets using specific keywords, a robust international linkbuilding campaign can work wonders. 

Backlinks are usually divided into three types:

  • Natural or organic links are those you get based on the quality and appeal of your content. 
  • Manually-built links are the ones you get through efforts like guest blogging and partnerships. However, it’s important to contact reputable sources for these links.
  • Self-created links are created by yourself when you submit your website to directories, comment sections, or forums.  

Website Identification for International Linkbuilding 

International linkbuilding is indispensable for expanding your brand, but relying on high-quality, trusted websites is equally important. These websites have a strong backlink profile and are highly relevant to the industry in which your business operates. Moreover, they have up-to-date information with high levels of engagement and user traffic throughout the year.  

1. Study International Competitors  

If you study your competitors, you’ll see they have earned many high-quality links to their websites. How do they manage that, and how can you beat them to their own game? The best way to do it is to follow the websites linking to your competitors and ensure they link to your website.

Thankfully, multiple tools are available today to help you with this link building analysis. They provide lists, graphs, and relevant numbers, which help you find regions, anchor text distributions, most linked pages, and more. 

Let’s look at how to study your competitors and do international linkbuilding:

Step 1

Use Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to check the websites with keywords similar to yours. You can also use Google Search to see the website’s ranking for specific keywords. List down the top 10 competitors with their domain names. 

Step 2

Now, determine where your competitors are getting their links from by using Ahrefs, Majestic, or Moz. These tools provide you with comprehensive reports and allow you to filter results based on relevance, domain authority, anchor text, and link type. Identify the most valuable link sources by analyzing the patterns in their linkbuilding strategies.

Step 3 

It’s time to evaluate all the link building opportunities and prioritize the most productive ones by Linkody, Link Miner, and Link Explorer. Some of the criteria you can use in this regard are niche, content quality, traffic, and engagement to determine the potential of each link. Try to capitalize on opportunities with high relevance, authority, and low spam.

Step 4 

In the final step, you should reach out to the relevant websites for link building. You can find their contact information through tools like Pitchbox, Mailshake, and Hunter or access their social media platforms. You must show them how your content adds value to theirs and benefits their audience.

2. Contextual Anchor Text 

Anchor text is something Google uses to determine what a page is about and whether it’s relevant to a specific query. In international link building, it’s crucial to broaden the scope of your anchor text and use keywords with similar meanings in different formats to reinforce a particular theme.

An anchor text working in one country might not be as useful in another one, as its popularity varies country by country. Therefore, it is crucial to use local language and dialect to show your audience you understand and naturally relate to them. You should mix English and local keywords to boost your online presence. It’s also important to add detail to your local keywords.

For instance, if you’re located in Germany and want to explore attractions in Munich, the keywords could read this way:

  • ‘Most beautiful places in Munich.’
  • ‘Libraries in Munich.’

You should write them in their German versions too for better outreach:

  • ‘Schönsten Orte in München’
  • ‘Bibliotheken in München’

3. Become Part of Local Directory Listings 

You boost your chances of getting discovered by relevant customers by listing yourself in online directories. Today, several free online options help people find relevant brands using factors like proximity and category. In addition, some directories have a general listing of businesses that users can access. If you want to nail down your local presence, utilize local directories with comprehensive listings, such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Google My Business. 

4. Boost International Social Media Reach 

Social media outreach can be a gamechanger regarding your SEO link strategy. Moreover, it serves as an additional channel for connecting to local influencers who can significantly increase your reach. Today, 61.7% of link builders use social media to connect and improve their international linkbuilding strategies. 

One rule to remember here is that the more platforms you use, the better, as they appeal to different demographics. For instance, Instagram and Snapchat are used heavily by teenagers and young adults, while the older crowd uses Facebook. Regardless of your platform, each brings an incredible opportunity for social engagement and link sharing in the target country or region.

Here are some social media examples based on regions and countries:

  • Weibo in China is often called the Chinese Twitter. It helps businesses build brand awareness by sharing posts and engaging with followers. 
  • Line in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and other Asian countries. It’s a messaging app with a timeline, stickers, and much more.
  • Xing in German speaking countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and others. It’s similar to LinkedIn and lets businesses connect with professionals and share specific content.
  • VKontakte, or VK, is a popular social media platform in Russia and Russian-speaking countries. 

Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags to reach targeted audiences. Including your website links in social media content is also crucial, as it leads people to your website, where they can further explore your products and services. 

5. Managing Search Engine Preferences 

Unfortunately, not everyone uses Google. If your target market is in the US or Europe, you’ll get away with following international linkbuilding practices suggested by Google. However, the picture changed in Asia, where Baidu is the leading search engine in China. It emphasizes the use of the Chinese language, which is why you should also use Chinese characters to improve visibility in that market.

Similarly, Yandex is the leading search engine in the Russian market that considers hosting location and domain age for website rankings in Russia. There are some niche search engines, too, that should be on your radar:

  • Ecosia is preferred by the environmentally conscious. 
  • DuckDuckGo is used by privacy enthusiasts. 

Bing powers these two search engines, so you should know how to do SEO for Bing if you want to maximize your visibility on them. For instance, Bing uses backlinks posted on social media platforms, something that Google Search doesn’t care about as much. 

6. Link Buying 

Link buying might look like a dubious practice, but you might be surprised to learn that 31% of SEOs are involved in it, a number that can shoot up to 74.3% for link-builders. One thing to remember is that Google has flagged link-buying as a link spam technique, except when the links are clearly tagged with a ‘nofollow’ or ‘sponsored’ link attribute. However, link-builders don’t necessarily follow these guidelines, especially in countries like Poland, where getting a ‘follow’ link is more expensive.

Another aspect to focus on here is the average link price in a particular region or market. For instance, the average link price in Europe is more than €100, which is quite significant. Some countries like Austria might surprise you with their expensive link pricing, but that’s mostly because they don’t have as many quality websites that you can link to as, let’s say, Germany or Italy. Reselling links is also quite common in some countries like India, where resellers can access various websites.

7. Building Relationships in Your Niche 

International linkbuilding isn’t just about asking someone to link your website to their content; it heavily depends upon the relationship you have developed with the publishers and journalists in your domain. Indonesia is a great example of the success you can witness by building personal relationships with journalists and editors. The best way is to participate in media events and pitch stories to get the desired attention. 

Another way to do it is to use an older but effective technique called reciprocal linking, used by 73.6% of high-quality domains. For instance, website owners in Argentina and India have multiple websites. In addition, hiring local expertise can work wonders, no matter how good you yourself are at link-building.

You should partner with a local translator or speaker to help you build strong relationships with the local companies. Moreover, it’s important to align your values and aspirations with the locals. For instance, Swedes take environmental protection seriously, so it’ll be a good idea to partner with them if your business deals in sustainable and eco-friendly products/services. 

8. Guest Posting 

Guest posting is a more popular international linkbuilding technique than most people think, which becomes even more influential in smaller markets. For instance, a “paid post” outreach effort can get you a 20% higher conversion rate, as observed in Czech and Slovak markets. However, there are no “sponsored” tags with the content.

We can divide guest posting into two main categories:

  • Being credible and authoritative in your niche to get the best opportunities. 
  • Posting content on websites that allow UGC (user-generated content). Indonesia is a great example here, especially with bigger media websites. 

For successful guest posting, the first step is to identify the target countries. For instance, if you’re a tech company, you should focus on technology hubs like the US, the UK, China, India, Canada, and the like. When you reach out to these websites, ensure a strong pitch and convince them that you can write content relevant to their local audiences. 

For example, the Japanese concept of “omotenashi” (hospitality) is quite revered in that country, so launching any marketing campaign there requires you to fully understand it.

9. Be Mindful of Culture 

You can do nothing better for your international linkbuilding than a localized outreach. However, it’s not just about using the local language; you should also adopt the local communication style, including cultural nuances. For instance, Slavic and Balkan European countries have a more formal culture, while the Czech has a more laid-back style.

Some regions can be pretty complicated regarding their honorific systems such as South Korea and Japan. A sentence can have a similar meaning but can mean different things when said to a friend or a senior journalist/executive. On the other hand, countries with Roman languages have a simple and laid-back communication style, such as Italy.

Lastly, knowing a language isn’t enough; you should know the local terms to achieve the desired results. Even different English spellings and phrases can have dramatically different effects depending on the region. 

10. The Crucial TLD Choice

The TLD you choose can determine the perception of your website in front of the audience. For instance, gTLD is much more important in South American countries than ccTLD, using a ‘.com’ domain, such as the Spanish websites operating in Argentina. Similarly, a Peruvian website is more likely to use ‘.com’ instead of a ‘.ar’ domain. In some cases, a. Argentinian link with ‘.ar’ domain could be preferable, but a major advantage of the gTLD domain is that it opens up more opportunities

11. Consider SEO Knowledge Differences Among Countries 

It is also crucial to recognize that webmasters in some countries, such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc., have advanced knowledge of international link building. On the other hand, some markets don’t have such expertise and often end up harming your content. For instance, not everyone can determine whether the “40+ DR 3W exchange” is spam. Giving it to a novice will only result in them slapping it with the spam title.

12. Monitoring & Updating 

When you have finally optimized your content for the international target audience, you should also check if they’re indeed visiting you and you’re getting the desired traffic. But how can you tell if your international link building efforts are bearing fruit?

You can use Google Analytics daily to analyze the international traffic reaching you and the international websites driving the most traffic toward you. Doing that will help you know the backlinks sending traffic to you. You can also check the conversion rate for international traffic. These two metrics can help you determine the success of your link building campaign and identify the areas that require improvement.

In addition, you can use Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz to analyze the quality of the backlinks acquired from international websites. You can analyze your backlink profile using these tools and identify more link building opportunities. The SEMrush keyword monitoring tools help you assess the performance of your keywords in different languages and regions. They help you assess search volume, keyword rankings, competition, and more to help you optimize your content. 


As you have seen, international linkbuilding is a complex challenge with several aspects that must be addressed simultaneously. From competitor research, anchor text, and TLD usage to guest posting, you need to optimize everything to beat competitors and mark your presence in the international market.