Table of Contents

International Digital Marketing for Global Expansion

International digital Marketing

International digital marketing is a vital component of any successful international business development plan. It not only helps increase your company’s visibility and brand awareness but also enables you to attract and acquire new customers, partners, investors, and talents. In this article, we will explore the strategies and techniques involved in international digital marketing, with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO), website listing, and lead generation. By implementing these practices, you can enhance your online presence and expand your business globally.

International digital marketing is a key element of your International Business Development Plan. It is complementary to the set-up of your Product Market Fit

It starts with a 2-fold strategy: 

  • Attract : Build your company’s visibility on the web and brand awareness  
  • Acquire : Execute digital campaigns to convince and retain new customers, partners, investors or talents

Increase the visibility of your business with SEO and SEA

List your business on the web

Referencing your company means allowing Internet users who inquire online before buying a service or product, to discover it in the first results offered by search engines.

If the first objective is to increase your visibility, the final objective is to reach potential customers and develop your turnover. According to a recent study, 92% of customers first use a search engine in order to get to know a brand better.

How do search engines work ?

Google captures over 90% of internet searches in Western Europe and the Americas. It is in its operation that referencing techniques are modeled.

Its robots, the Googlebots, called “Spiders” or “Crawlers” crawl all the pages of the web to index them in its physical data centers (data center). With each search, algorithms (computerized mathematical programs) analyze the content to find the most relevant results. These results are presented on a page called Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

The Google algorithm also identifies relevant passages in long pages whose main subject differs from the query (Passage ranking or Google Passages). This processing makes it possible to extract items of information from the indexed pages in order to offer at the top of the results page (known as position 0) precise answers (featured snippet) to questions asked by Internet users.

Target 1st Page Ranking on Google and Search Engines

Natural referencing (SEO or Search Engine Optimization), also called organic, represents all the free techniques that aim to obtain a good positioning in search engines . The objective is that each time an Internet user makes a search for which your company matches, your site appears in the first results. 68% of website traffic is organic , ie from search engine results (non-advertising).

Paid referencing (SEA or Search Engine Advertisement) allows you to position yourself directly at the top of the results by buying keywords. On Google, it is done with the Google Ads tool. This strategy is to be considered on an ad hoc basis: the majority of Internet users prefer natural results, only 6% click on these advertisements .

The observation of the behavior of Internet users in front of a page (eye movements or eye-tracking), made it possible to establish that the first 3 positions obtained 100% visibility, the fourth 85%, and the tenth 20% (Mediative study).

35% of clicks reach the first natural link, 15% the second and 11% the third (GroupM UK and Nielsen survey – 28 million people). And the first five items in the results list attract 70% of clicks.

Getting a good SEO usually takes some time, even for an SEO professional. Paid referencing can then be of real interest , for the time that the natural referencing work pays or in the event that you are positioning yourself on highly coveted keywords.

The main search engines for International Digital Marketing

  • Google of course,
  • Google Images, Google’s image search engine, allows direct searches for visuals or various documents. More than 10 million visitors consult it every month in France.
  • YouTube is considered a search engine for videos, which receives billions of views every day.
  • Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, and Yahoo 
  • Qwant is a French/European engine that excludes advertising and does not collect data on Internet users.
  • Écosia is an ecological engine that uses its income for reforestation.

Being referenced on Google is essential. But we must not neglect the other search engines , especially if we want to reach a foreign clientele: in the United States, Google’s market share is only 60%. In China, the Baidu engine dominates. You may consider buying well-targeted advertising on these other engines as it will be cheaper there.

Understanding Search Engines and SEO Strategies

Search engines seek to imitate the processing of the human brain.

Top elements to reference your site or company

Search engine algorithms evolve regularly to deliver relevant results.

website audience

The results are classified according to certain criteria:

  • Keywords: Google lists the pages that contain the keywords searched by the user.
  • The details, the user experience, the code: the keywords used in the titles of pages or articles, or in the links are more important. The publication date of the content, the ease of navigation on a site and the source code are also taken into account.
  • Authority: the more external links there are leading to your site, the more it is considered qualitative. We then speak of the authority of a domain (Domain Authority).
  • user expérience on smartphone : For easy reading on a mobile, a responsive design that allows automatic adaptation of content to the size and resolution of the screen should be preferred.
  • Location: 65% of searches on Google are localized.
  • Contextualization: the location of the Internet user, his history, for example, are taken into account for the display of results.

The long plays in favor of good referencing: if the initial indexing of a site on Google takes a maximum of 3 days, it takes 6 months to a year to hope to rank on the first page of the search results (excluding direct research on your brand).

SEO on your website pages

The natural referencing of your site aims to increase its visibility and its qualified traffic, made up of prospects interested in your services.

The choice of keywords is essential: take inspiration from your competitors without imitating them. Consider how frequently keywords are used, how relevant they are, and how effective they are. If independent sites appear at the top of the results, you can rank well using the same words. Favor long keywords, known as “long tail”. A keyword composed of 4 words, such as “old car garage Chicago”, will be more effective than one composed of 3 words, such as “car garage Chicago”.

List 50 to 70 keywords with a few tools

  • To identify the strongest and most frequently used terms, start by doing an exercise in defining your business with a few keywords .
  • Wikipedia allows you to expand your list beyond synonyms, and to determine a semantic field to develop your content.
  • The suggestions at the bottom of search engine results pages, or on online sales sites should be considered.
  • Conversations on forums and specialized sites are interesting because they display the terms used by your target, and “early adopters”, Internet users looking for something new.

Use free tools to find the right keywords.

  • Google Trends allows you to follow the evolution of the number of searches carried out for a keyword and to compare them.
  • is a keyword and phrase generator.
  • Google Keyword Manager is Google Ads’ planning tool that assesses keyword query volumes.

Deepen your research, thanks to a complete paid tool, for example, Semrush which allows you to carry out a complete SEO audit, both lexical and technical.

Use a translation tool , such as DeepL Translator or Reverso, to do a foreign language keyword search if your clientele is international

The structure and code of your site contain metadata that is used for its referencing : domain name (URL), sitemap (XML sitemap), titles, description, keywords and visual captions must include the most sought-after information by your target, including proper or brand names, and your location. Controlling the loading time of pages and optimizing them for mobile reading is essential.

Embed links to drive traffic to your site

The mesh of links, called net-linking, is essential to your SEO:

  1. Insert internal links between the pages of your site, or outgoing links to other sites in the same sector of activity as you , but referenced on different keywords. Publish 2-4 outbound links per 1000 words. Take your old articles to include 2 to 5 links to the new ones.
  2. Remember to put sharing buttons on social networks.
  3. Get more inbound links to your content :
  • Use the Mention tool to know the traffic that leads to your competitors and get inspired by it;
  • Notify your partners of a new publication;
  • Ask influencers or prescribers in your sector to contribute on your site to obtain incoming links from their own publications;
  • Publish a ranking of your top 5 to 10 of the best partners/suppliers/surrounding merchants/…, so that they quote you in return.


Publish regularly to boost the indexing of your site. For example, articles via a professional blog that highlights your know-how, your products…

And remember to offer different formats : articles, infographics, videos…

If you have an e-commerce site, the SEO strategy remains the same, but you must plan a multichannel traffic acquisition path using other levers such as advertising, social networks, price comparisons, etc.


Improve the referencing with your domain name

Your company’s domain name can be an asset to improve your SEO.  The communication spotting your domain name makes it possible to neutralize competitors who would like to position themselves on the company’s keywords as part of their advertising campaign on the engines by purchase of keywords (SEA).

SEO without having a website

List yourself for free on Google by creating a Google My Business account and respond to requests from local customers:

  • Create your account with a few clicks on Google My Business ;
  • Take advantage of all the features: allowing your customers to contact you, publish your offers and news via Google Posts, integrating a Booking button, etc.;

Sign up for referral sites and directories

As search engines directly reference the content of online directories in their results, take advantage of this and register, for example, on: Europages B2B referencing in Europe, Tripadvisor for tourism professionals, Yelp for local businesses. Think of the directories of the professional federations and groups to which you belong;

Geolocate yourself on the best known GPS applications such as: Google Maps, Waze.

Contribute to third-party sites to strengthen your position

  • Propose to your partners to integrate your articles on their sites and networks.
  • Notify them of new developments via an email campaign .
  • Take part in the conversations of your community: comment, post, respond on the forums, by publishing links to you.

Use marketplaces

A marketplace is an online sales space: by presenting your products or services there, you benefit from their traffic. Most of these platforms benefit from very good referencing, superior to that of an individual e-commerce site, thanks to the work of specialists.

Signing up is simple and most often you only pay a commission on sales. Choose from a very broad offer. Beyond the best-known generalist places : Rakuten, eBay, Amazon, or specialized places (Vinted for second-hand clothing), 

Manage your customer reviews

Getting and responding to customer reviews helps you rank well on search engines.

Post your information on social media. They are essential to developing your brand awareness and reputation: mentions of your company on these networks generate searches under your name in the engines, and your subscribers can reference you on their site or various contributions.

  • Present yourself on the social networks adapted to your target and your objectives : Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, …
  • Continuously animate your presence to generate interest and create a cordial relationship.

Digital Marketing Campaign in Europe

For successful expansion in Europe, a well thought-out digital marketing campaign is the key to increasing your brand’s visibility, testing the market and generating valuable leads for your sales teams.

How to establish a digital marketing presence in Europe 

To build relationships with your target audience in your target countries, we recommend to run Ads display campaign on target media sites or videos.
Your Display ads appear on mainstream or specialist media websites, or in Instream format, they’re integrated into online videos.

Programmatic advertising in Display or Instream format  works like a real-time auction, with advertisers showing their ads to the target audience. In the Display format, these ads appear on the websites of major or specialized media, while in the Instream format, they are integrated into online videos. Their cost is expressed on a per-mile basis.

How much costs a digital marketing campaign in Europe

The cost per 1000 of an Ads Display campaign varies fromthe low 0.32 Euros in Spain to the high 1.58 Euros in Switzerland in 2023

Data agregated from 745 MEDIA IN WESTERN EUROPE representing 400 BILLION IMPRESSIONS
in a 3 years time
Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, United-Kingdom (source Optidigital)

The cost Digital Marketing Campaigns per vertical in Europe

Automotive and Travel are the 2 most expensive verticals for Ads campaigns


Other levers of your international digital strategy in Europe 

🎯 Localizing your website to reach new audiences abroad.
🔍 Search engine optimization (SEO) to be visible on Google.
📊 Referencing on benchmarks (Gartner, Forrester, comparators, directories, etc.) to boost your credibility.
📱 Global social network management for an effective online presence.
📰 Press relations and professional events like Cannes Lions Festival of creativity  to boost your brand awareness.
📢 Influence marketing, a lever for success.

For more information, check our article on Marketing Landscape in Europe


 International Digital Marketing Diagnosis

Quickly establish a first diagnosis: how does your company appear on the internet?

Whether you are active on the web or not, your company is listed there, at least legally, via the publication of its registration.

Evaluate the positioning of your business on the main search engines

If Google drains 90% of searches, remember to check the positioning of your company on other engines, Bing and Yahoo! Especially.

Mobile searches are now the majority: do your searches on computers and smartphones .

If you have a website:

  • Follow its positioning using one of the easiest tools to use: Allorank.
  • Make a self-diagnosis on search engine

See where and how your competitors look

Know how to position yourself in relation to your competitors.

Compare the content of your competitors’ websites. Expand your comparison beyond those you know thanks to free tools that list professionals whose offer and field of activity are comparable to yours:, alexa .

Rate the difference in digital popularity between them and you :

  • Estimate the difference in traffic between them, and you’re using Similarweb’s first free feature, and its paid options for more details.
  • View the position of a competing domain via its titles, keywords, links with the Mozbar extension to be installed on the Chrome browser.
  • Find most of the customer reviews of your competitors and yours by entering reviews and the name of their / your company in Google.
  • Compare your LinkedIn Company Page with those of your competitors (number of subscribers, number of interactions) .

Automate Monitoring

Be notified each time your company or that of your competitor is mentioned.

  • Receive a free email each time a company, brand, service, etc. is mentioned on a site or blog by subscribing to Google Alerts or the paid tool Spello, which integrates social networks.
  • Follow your competitors’ social networks by following their accounts. If your activity is closely linked to social networks, you can opt for a paid tool to carry out your monitoring
  • Subscribe to newsletters in your field of activity, and those of your competitors.
  • Use the RSS feeds of the sites you want to follow to be notified of any new publication

Set your SEO goals for International Digital Marketing

Two main SEO goals stand out: getting traffic to your pages and converting your audience into Requests for Information or orders. But it’s up to you to choose goals specific to your business.

Choose one or two priority objectives

Do you want to be visible on the internet, retain your customers, sell, or become a reference in your sector?

Set yourself realistic and measurable goals : the number of visitors or contacts you want to reach, and in what time frame.

Which geographical area concerns you: local, national, international?

Identify your target

What target are you addressing? Establishing the different typical profiles that interest you in terms of age, lifestyle and buying motivations will help you choose your media publication and feed them.

These profiles or personas will help you define your ideal customer characteristics. To do this, you can use the free tool made available by Hubspot. Create a persona platform.

Lay the foundations of your SEO by directing all your thinking by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes.

Establish a presence strategy by choosing the media adapted to your objectives:

  • List yourself on Google: create a Google My Business listing whatever your goals.
  • You want to be independent of the changing regulations of social networks and search engines: develop your own website .
  • Your clientele is professional: think of themed directories and the sites of professional federations.
  • Your customers are local: refer to GPS applications.
  • If you want to reach a new foreign clientele: think about marketplaces.
  • You are a craftsman: present your creations on social networks.

Measure your results

Be sure to track your results regularly to improve them.

Follow a few essential KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Position in the engines, traffic, loading time of your pages, duration of visits, volume of incoming links are the main indicators to follow to measure the performance of your SEO.

To get started, start by using free tools . But do not hesitate to choose a paid tool that will give you access to more complete reports to deepen.

Opt for high-performance measurement tools

Google offers many free tools that are very useful for getting started.

Google Analytics is the essential tool for monitoring the traffic of your website. To create your account and familiarize yourself with its features, train for free online 

Mobile friendly tests  allow you to ensure the compatibility of your site on a mobile.

Google Search Console scans the more technical aspects of the site, to inspect your indexing on Google.

Lead Generations for International Digital Marketing

Marketing Campaigns can start once you have built a lead generation machine with

E-mailing in Europe

In many case people refer to GDPR to define the regulation around email rules in Europe . But the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) enacts general rules for the processing and use of Data, not for the use of emails. Please read our guide : email rules in Europe 

Advisory in International Business Development

Ipanovia and its team of international development consultants are at your disposal

About Emmanuel Facovi the Founder and Managing Partner

Emmanuel Facovi - Managing PartnerAs former CEO / senior executive (Nokia, Coface, FCI,  Kompass, Schneider, Areva…) his expertise consists in leading tech companies (SaaS, marketplaces, Techs) with ambitious growth objectives in fast-changing environments.
He is a cross-cultural high technology executive passionate about new technology, innovation, disruptive models, and above all, scaling up your business globally. One of the most renowned Experts in Data, Marketing Strategies of Tech and Digital Industries,
As an« all-rounder» entrepreneur with a proven track record of building high-performing teams, he has a wide skill set ranging from Strategy and International Sales performance, also encompassing Finance, Marketing/advertising and legal/HR/culture.
He is an enthusiastic leader, keen on making sure that the office develops every day into an even “Greater Place to work”, gathering professionals of diverse talents who succeed together with a common vision in mind.