International SEO isn’t something you think about until you need it. It’s also an area with few experts but plenty of outdated recommendations. If you’ve paid any attention to experienced SEOs on Twitter that do international targeting, then you know they’re frustrated. That’s because what used to work no longer does reliably.
Based on trusted sources and articles online, one should add
hreflang links to pages, properly structure their site for each locale, specify geo-targeting in Google Search Console, and call it a day. But in reality, that rarely works.
I needed answers but couldn’t find anything definitive. So I decided to get the answers myself. I created a new site and ran a series of tests to determine what works and what doesn’t with international SEO. I think the results of the tests may surprise you.