International link building is an effective tool for international expansion

Autor Anna Podruczna Anna Podruczna

Expansion into foreign markets requires the adaptation of marketing tactics. In the field of website optimization, international link building is an indispensable tool. How does it differ from the domestic one and how do you go about it to achieve the desired results?

How to start link building for a new market?

Link building follows certain general recommendations and rules that correspond to the way Google algorithms work. However, there are some nuances in each market. What works in the United Kingdom may not be as effective in our neighboring countries. So how does one go about international link building to achieve maximum results?

1. Know the customer well

Regardless of whether the client is already operating abroad or just expanding, the link building specialist should understand the client’s business as much as possible. Especially with the type of business, the products offered, the target audience, the business partners, the competition, etc.

2. Searching for new resources and opportunities

Exploring the foreign market is crucial for a smooth start.

The first step is to learn about the local approach to link building activities. The best sources include blogs from marketing agencies or YouTube channels from experts in the field. Language skills are a big advantage in this case.

Research about the market itself is crucial for negotiating terms and prices, identifying creative link building opportunities, and monitoring the competition:

  • Country-specific conditions (e.g., if media houses operate in the region, etc.),
  • The business attitude of local residents (whether they are willing to cooperate with foreigners),
  • The level of development of search engine optimization in the market,
  • Differences in payment methods, which may affect smooth cooperation.

If the project already exists in the country, it is also important to analyze its overall position (web metrics, metrics of main competitors, etc.).

3. Networking

The success of not only international link building is highly dependent on the communication and networking skills of the consultant. Building relationships with foreign publishers and journalists in the industry facilitates link acquisition and increases the chances of profitable business. There are several ways to establish contacts. For example:

  • Participation in selected networking events,
  • personal contact,
  • collaborating with local link builders who already have a network of contacts.

4. Cooperation with local link builders

Collaborating with local link building specialists is the most effective way to succeed in a foreign market. Not only do they have an overview of how the environment works, but they often have valuable contacts that can at least help you get started with international link building.

When establishing cooperation with external link builders, it is important to:

  • Communicate the expectations of the specialist and client clearly and directly,
  • to set concrete goals and deadlines
  • to check the quality of the selected domains
  • to control the invoicing
  • to keep the project under control
  • to support the exchange of know-how.

Prices for links and negotiation

Prices for external links are quite high in all European countries: however, these expenses can vary between 100 and 1000 EUR due to several factors, such as country, website or industry.

It is possible to lower the price through negotiations

The price offered per link does not have to be final. Negotiation also works in foreign markets. Proven tactics include:

  • Offer long-term cooperation,
  • a one-time order for a larger package,
  • using specific metrics (to support negotiation arguments),
  • Offering quality content (an analysis of the publisher’s website will reveal an opportunity for content that can enhance the site).
  • It is important to consider the differences between markets: While in some regions negotiation is directly expected, in others, it can be perceived very negatively and prevent link buying in the first phase.

What to look for in invoicing?

Smooth invoicing contributes to a smooth link building process. However, payments from abroad can bring additional obstacles. So what should you look out for when dealing with foreign companies?

  • The publisher must have a VAT number to issue an invoice.
  • The IBAN is key for foreign payments and should not be missing from the invoice.
  • For businesses within the EU, the VAT rate should be 0%.
  • Pay attention to exchange rate fluctuations. It is advisable to negotiate a fixed monthly exchange rate with issuers.
  • Alternative payment methods such as PayPal are widely used abroad (e.g. in the Balkans).

What are the biggest challenges of international link building?

Adapting to a foreign market

As mentioned earlier, it is not easy to get to know and adapt to a foreign market. Therefore, it is necessary to take this into account when developing a strategy. For example, it is not worth setting the KPIs for the first quarter too high. Especially in the early stages, approaches to link building activities and the overall strategy can change quickly, which can affect the initial results.

Language barrier

Language skills are a key advantage in international link building. They make it easier:

  • Understanding the market and mentality,
  • learning the know-how,
  • the analysis of keywords,
  • reviewing published content (articles),
  • negotiation,
  • Research and selection of suitable platforms.

The already mentioned cooperation with external link builders or copywriters will facilitate many activities. However, international link building can also be done effectively with English-only skills.

Many tactics that are typical for link building, in general, can also be successfully applied in foreign markets. However, link building in many European countries differs from each other in many ways. These differences must be taken into account to achieve the best possible results.