Organic SEO For International Businesses

Organic SEO For International Businesses Project - A Mini Case Study.

Duration of project: 5 months. Period to results: 6-8 months.

*Due to non-disclosure agreements in place, we are not authorised to display actual client data. Other client testimonials and contact details available on request.

Organic SEO Project Brief

The organic SEO for international businesses project was requested by a South African company in the midst of establishing a second branch in the United Kingdom. They sought guidance on optimising their website for better exposure, positioning and the potential impact of a new international office on their online presence.

Additionally, the company aimed to streamline its offerings, emphasising the most lucrative services and target industries (B2B and Internal Communications). Their goal was to position their brand and management team as experts in specific fields related to the target industries.

Table of Contents

Initial Scope of Work and Analysis

To audit and assess:

  • The historical data acquired through the website;
  • The site’s technical structure;
  • The technologies used;
  • The loading times of the hosting server and pages;
  • Excessive scripts and render-blocking items;
  • Pages with reduced or no traffic over the previous 18 months;
  • Content quality and target market relevance ;
  • Online presence (U.K. and South Africa);
  • Business NAP consistency;
  • Toxic backlinks;
  • On-site broken links;
  • Internal link relationship value;
  • No-follow and do-follow link status;
  • Duplicate content on, and off-site;
  • Robot files;
  • On-site security;
  • Meta elements;
  • Keyword research;
  • Competitor analysis.

Embracing the Strategy, Objectives, and Plan

For acknowledgment and fairness, it is important to note that the client:

  • Demonstrated willingness to the recommendations and delved into the rationale in provided literature to grasp the various aspects and processes;
  • Effectively implemented the on-page technical requirements;
  • Adhered to best practices concerning taxonomy, category organisation, menu structure, and site link configuration;
  • Actively utilised the suggested keyword research, identifying opportunities to enhance content;
  • Removed or updated thin content, underperforming pages, and keywords generating negative or non goal-related traffic;
  • Adhered to best practices in crafting and structuring content;
  • Incorporated user intent, relevance, and adhered to guidelines for creating helpful content;
  • Undertook a medium to aggressive off-page SEO, social media, and backlink strategy to complement on-site efforts and drive traffic.

The client’s active involvement and commitment played a vital role in the successful execution of the Organic SEO For International Businesses Project in its entirety.

Tools Utilised and Unused

Due to budget constraints, the client did not allocate funds for any paid SEO analytical tools. However, a free trial period of SEMRush was employed to illustrate the limited data density available in general. The suggested opportunities provided by SEMRush proved ineffective when compared against the data, given that the content was not initially crafted with a genuine SEO strategy or specific objectives in mind.

Other free tools that were utilised include:

  • Yoast SEO (Free version)
  • Google Analytics 4 (Previously, Universal Analytics was in use)
  • Google Search Console (Not used previously)
  • Bing Webmaster Tools (Not used previously)
  • Chrome Lighthouse (Not used previously)
  • Google Pagespeed Insights (Not used previously)
  • Screaming Frog SEO (Free version)
    Bing search
  • Google search
  • Chrome web browser
  • Firefox web browser

Paid-for tools:

  • Wordfence security (Premium version)
  • WordPress Beaver site builder (Premium version)
  • Hetzner Germany web hosting

These tools were employed to optimise the site’s performance and gather valuable insights, considering the client’s budgetary constraints.

Unfavourable Outcomes During Optimisation

As anticipated, the overall positioning documented in Google Search Console experienced a decline during the Organic SEO For International Businesses Project. Despite the subpar content on specific pages or the low quality of traffic to them, the actions of removing pages, changing menus, and altering the hierarchical structure of pages inevitably impacted both traffic and ranking in the short term.

It was acknowledged and mutually agreed that the existing traffic to the site before the project lacked value, particularly upon the discovery that the search terms responsible for generating that traffic were unrelated to the company’s core offerings or intended objectives. Additionally, certain pages were identified as toxic and attributed to negative ranking.

Testing Methodology

To ensure objectivity and impartial assessment of the results, we conducted searches from three different IPs on three separate computers within South Africa. Additionally, we utilised two different IPs and computers in the United Kingdom. None of the browsers had cached histories or searches for similar sites, services, or the specific keyphrases. We employed both Chrome and Firefox browsers via Bing and Google engines. Paid-for ads were excluded from our consideration, as they typically occupy the first and last 3-4 positions in search results by default.

Our focus was on the positions of two, high-value, four-word primary target keyword phrases within South Africa and the U.K. – considering Google business and Google maps results, while being mindful of the limitation that the client’s physical U.K. address is outside the London Metropole. Variations of the target keyword phrases yielded almost identical results.


To view Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and page positioning, the search was conducted using both voice and text search methods on desktop and mobile devices.

First targeted keywords/keyphrase:

Google SERP (London location):

Organic position: Page 1, positions 1 and 2 (Two different website pages).

Bing SERP (London location):

Organic position: Page 1, positions 1, 2, and 4 (Three different website pages).

Google SERP (South African location):

Organic position: Page 1, positions 2 and 5 (Two different website pages).

Bing SERP (South African location):

Organic position: Page 1, positions 3 and 5 (Two different website pages).

Second targeted keywords/keyphrase

Google SERP (No location set / global query):

Organic position: Page 1, position 1.
People Also Ask panel: Position 1 (One page).

Bing SERP (No location set / global query):

Organic position: Page 1, position 1.
6 Sub-pages featured under position 1’s link.
People Also Ask panel: Positions 1 and 3 (Two different pages).
Bing AI knowledge card: Positions 1 and 3 (Two different pages).

Organic brand query (Client company name). Google SERP, global query

Preceding the project:

Competitor position 1, page 1. our client in position 3, page 1.

After the project:

Page 1, Organic position 1 (Four sub-pages featured under position 1’s link),
Also positions 3, 5, and 7 (Three different platforms/channels).
Competitor A in position 2, Competitor B in position 4.
People Also Ask panel: “What is [Company name]” – Our client in position 1.
Google Generative AI 1st result [Correct information].

Organic brand query (Client company name). Bing SERP, global query

Preceding the project:

Client wasn’t integrated with Bing Search.

After the project:

Page 1, organic position 1 (with four sub-pages featured under position 1 link).
Also positions 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10.
Competitor A and B not in the first 10 results.
Page 1, position 1 on Bing maps.
People Also Ask panel: “What is [Company name]” – Our client in positions 1 and 2.
Bing Generative AI 1st result [Correct information] with suggestions of “Who is the founder of [Company name]”.

Evaluating traffic quality and revenue potential

It is essential to take into account that approximately 40% of the traffic must be disregarded, as this data is likely generated by bots, random searches, and accidental clicks – as indicated in the bounce rates and minimal time spent on page reports in Google analytics. Another 40% of the traffic falls into the category of “Random” within the client’s industry and other services or products.

Therefore, only 20% can be considered genuinely valuable and in the premium segment. This assessment considers that each visitor within the 20% segment, who landed on the site did so as a result of a specific industry or service-related search, as outlined in the keyword query reports in Google Search Console.

Monetary value of the project

Considering that companies within the client’s target audience allocate approximately 6-7% of their total revenue to B2B marketing and 1-5% to Internal Communications – constituting 10-13% of total budget, the appeal of the generated revenue remains high. This holds true even if only 5% of the total traffic converts into a one-time sale and/or a short term retainer-based project.

As with most clients, sales data wasn’t made available – a common scenario, and we didn’t insist on it. The client operates within three of the top global B2B industries: Mining, property, and finance. Historically, these sectors present formidable barriers to entry or direct contact with decision makers.

Whilst the project was seen as successful, All stakeholders beforehand, unanimously acknowledged the difficulty of using SEO to generate significant sales within these industries. Instead, the consensus was that the initiative should function more as a strategic exercise for brand positioning. Alternative avenues for direct-person contact and quicker lead generation were proposed and taken into consideration.

Client’s Feedback

The client provided positive feedback, expressing satisfaction with the outcomes and emphasising the value of the knowledge acquired from the project to enhance their optimisation efforts for their clients in the future.

Final Analysis

The results show enhancements to multiple website pages and various social or backlinked platforms over a span of six to twelve months. This reflects the success of the strategies implemented in the Organic SEO For International Businesses Project. It’s important to note that results can and do change due to search engine algorithms and other factors – but overall, there has been significant improvements in exposure (Brand and services), positioning (SERPs and ranking) and ROI (Time, money and knowledge).

Organic SEO for your Business

Looking for an Organic SEO For International Businesses Project to improve your site, pages and business rankings online?

Marketing Services South Africa provides comprehensive SEO audits, assessments, analysis, strategic planning and scheduling to attract the right audiences and quality leads.

Additionally, we provide website rebuilds and ongoing maintenance to ensure that all technical aspects are in place for the successful implementation of your plan.