A Glossary Of 15 Really Useful International Search Marketing Terms

A conversation with a number of international search marketers recently showed that their range of experience ranged from expert to beginner, despite their influential career positions. By the way, this doesn’t mean they weren’t all highly talented people – their routes to their positions were just very different.

The discussion did make me realise the importance of understanding the names of things – technical terms if you like. Time someone put that right, with this glossary list.

Canonical Tag

A tag which is included in the page HTML to indicate a single URL for otherwise duplicate content. Useful for global websites especially where they run content in world languages such as English, Spanish or French and where the same content is cascaded to all same language countries.


CDN stands for “Content Delivery Network”. The purpose of these networks is to improve the user experience of using websites because they deliver quickly and have high availability.

Global websites are important users of CDNs and this has become more important due to the speed of delivery of content now factoring into search engine algorithms. The downside of CDNs is they typically show search engines URLs not from the country the websites target.

Click Through Rate

This has been a common term for pay per click ads for many years. It means the percentage of users which see an ad and click on it. Now it has been adopted by the organic search algorithms of search engines including Yandex, Google and Baidu.


Every global website needs a geo-selector if users need to be able to navigate to different countries or languages. Geo-selectors which cannot be crawled correctly by search engines are damaging to their owners’ website SEO performance. Geo-selectors need to be fixed or alternative methods of geo-targeting should be adopted.


This is a range of tactics which ensure that the website pages are shown to users matching the countries and languages in which they search. The geo-targeting options include local domains, webmaster tools geographic settings, canonicals and Hreflang tags, local links, local hosting and languages.

Geo-targeting Is A Critical Success Factor In International SEO

Geo-targeting Is A Critical Success Factor In International SEO

Keyword Research

Finding the right keywords is absolutely key in search marketing and that means researching them rather than translating. Translating keywords to find search opportunities in other markets produces distorted results and poor performance.

Local Domains

More technically known as ccTLDs or country codes, local domains have a number of important uses. They produce better conversion with local users and are a particularly strong signal for geo-targeting.

Local Hosting

Websites served from local servers deliver pages faster and provide search engines with a local IP address to help in the geo-targeting decision-making. Proxies delivered from local servers can also be used for this purpose.


 A relative newcomer, the Hreflang tag helps to provide a geo-targeting signal to search engines. It’s a tag in the HTML which indicates a connection between two countries and enables Google to correlate the two.

International SEO

It’s SEO and it’s international! Often the term is used by people meaning that the website concerned is targeting several countries – but often they are English-speaking.

For SEO in countries speaking different languages, the term “multilingual SEO” is more often used. There is much debate over whether international SEO is really different to domestic SEO, but I argue that it involves not just different languages but also different techniques and a completely different mindset.

Machine Learning

All of the major search engines use machine learning. Machine learning means that the machine (ie., the computer) sees that it has made errors in its selection and corrects, hence the term learning.

Yandex uses machine learning extensively for its organic results, Google less so though Panda is a machine learning system. It is used extensively for Google Adwords.

A Correctly Functioning Geo-Selector Is Key

A Correctly Functioning Geo-Selector Is Key

Page Rank

Remember this? Invented by Larry Page and Sergey Brin and the original basis for the creation of Google, the concept of inbound links creating authority and that authority being passed to the next in the chain.

Yandex and Baidu basically do the same thing but don’t publish a figure. Google no longer regularly updates its published Page Rank figure so it’s less than reliable.

Page Speed

Although this speaks for itself, page speed still requires some definition. In its raw sense, it’s simply the time it takes for a page to appear to the user.

Google takes account of this within its algorithm but it’s important to note that the measurements Google uses are taken from the browser and so take account of the speed of delivery of the page at a local level. You can’t just measure the size of the page and extrapolate what the speed might be!


SEO-Localization is a combination of localization or translation with on the page search engine optimization. That is stating the obvious, but the trick behind the combination of these two processes is that they normally conflict.

As I have said many times, keywords do not translate so content which has been worked on for SEO purposes will lose the SEO benefit the moment they are translated – the keywords do not travel through to the translated content. In SEO-Localization, the keywords do travel!

User Agent Recognition & IP

The user agent is basically the name of the crawler or browser connection as it accesses a web page and it’s own location on the web. It is used by some to determine the location from which is visitor is coming and to re-direct that particular visitor to a particular country based on the original IP address.

This is not to be recommended, by the way, as users should really be able to choose which country information and language they wish to view. Redirecting “non-local” IP addresses can also result in non-local search engines crawlers (otherwise known as “Google”) being pointed to locations which are not the target or are not connected.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Multinational Search


About The Author: is a linguist who has been specializing in international search since 1997 and is the CEO of WebCertain, the multilingual search agency and Editor-in-Chief of the blog Multilingual-Search.com. You can follow him on Twitter here @andyatkinskruge.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • Dave Brookes

    A much needed post, I could only say I knew what 3 of the terms meant, so very educational for me!

  • kevinlee670

    my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $69/hour on the internet. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her pay was $13406 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more ⇛⇛⇛⇛► http://hirebestfreelancer.blogspot.com

  • http://davidawilson.co.uk/ David Wilson

    I think “SERP / SERPs” should be on this list. It is very widely used amongst SEOs but a lot of my clients don’t know what this means when I mention it.

    Oh, and Domain Authority.

  • http://davidawilson.co.uk/ David Wilson

     Sorry,, forgot to mention that this is a very useful article and a must-read for those new to SEO!

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com Link Worx Seo

    The HREFLANG attribute for the “A” tag was a new one for me, did not know that was passed in the tag. Good one.

  • Marilyn Wayne

    Its an excellent article for SEO. 


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