International SEO: Obtaining Higher Rankings on Google in Mexico

SEO Mexico
SEO Mexico

Expanding your business into Mexico is an attractive opportunity, given its 127 million population. However, navigating search engine optimization without proper planning and implementation can pose several challenges.

Mexico’s official language is Spanish. Its culture is also distinct from America’s, which influences online search behaviors. Navigating these nuances without language proficiency and knowledge in best international SEO practices can be challenging.

What Is International SEO?

International search engine optimization involves improving a website’s performance in search result rankings that appear in different languages and locales. However, how businesses and their SEO professionals choose to do this may vary. Some companies build new websites to suit different regional demographics, while others use one multilingual website to appeal to all customers.

In the case of Mexico, some businesses may create a brand-new website where the colors, design, and even the focal points of the articles and website copy are specifically Mexican. This is a highly customized effort to attract customers. An easier and more cost-effective route, especially when just entering the market for the first time, is to use translations so customers can understand the content.

Challenges When Tackling Mexico SEO

Branching overseas requires more complex SEO practices than a U.S. business may be used to. In the past, the business may have targeted various towns in the same state or several states. Some may have even branched into Canada. The language and cultural differences between Mexico and the United States present a larger obstacle.

One factor to consider is that Google has 192 search engines that differ by region and country. This helps the tech giant provide the most geo-relevant search results possible for people from specific areas. Bing also provides search results in 41 languages, and Yandex uses 33 languages.

Note that Google may distinguish between different types of Spanish, which vary by region or country. The Spanish spoken in Spain, for instance, differs from the Spanish spoken in Mexico, just as the English spoken in England differs from what’s spoken in the United States. Targeting these specific languages and locales generally requires implementing hreflang tags and meta language tags.

Ways to Improve SERP Rankings in Mexico

Despite language differences and other obstacles, someone has to rank at the top of search results in Mexico, and why shouldn’t it be you? Here are some of the tips you can take to secure top-ranking positions. Note that it may take up to 90 days before you begin to see real results from your SEO strategy.

Use Correct URL Structure

Many companies in Mexico use a .mx Internet country code to reassure customers that this is a geographically relevant website. However, the exact structure can vary.


  • Original Domain –
  • ccTLD –
  • Different Domain –
  • Subdomain –
  • Subdirectory –
  • Language Parameters –

Most experts agree that ccTLDs rank best locally and clearly indicate a website’s geo-specific relevance. However, they do cost more to maintain, and managing separate websites can become costly. Implementing location-specific subdirectories is generally the most cost-effective strategy for businesses with smaller technical teams.

When using subdirectories, translated versions of the homepage should be hosted at a URL path that matches the respective language/locale code.


  • English-U.S.:
  • English-Australia:
  • Spanish-Mexico:

Translated content pages should be created as child pages of the respective language-specific homepage. Page titles and slugs should be localized and translated as well.


  • English-U.S.:
  • English-Australia:
  • Spanish-Mexico:

Create Hreflang Attributes

Hreflang attributes are HTML tags that specify the language and optional geographic location of the intended audience for a document. Implementing these tags is important because search engines pass authority from the original page to the alternate URL(s).

  • All alternate hreflang attributes need to be self-referential and bidirectional, meaning that all alternate URL versions must reference themselves and each other.
  • The International Organization for Standardization manages language and locale codes.
  • Always insert an x-default backup tag to the U.S.-English version. This tells search engines that the U.S.-English version is the default page.
  • Locale tags are not required but are very important when differentiating between dialects of the same language, e.g., Australian English and American English.


<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="es-mx" />
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="x-default" />

For more information, see Hreflang: The Easy Guide for Beginners by Ahrefs.

Create Metadata Language Attributes

Bing and other search engines use metadata language attributes to discern the language of HTML documents. These are inserted into the head section of the site. Metadata language attributes use the same ISO language and locale codes as hreflang attributes.

For more information, see WC3’s Guide to Declaring a Language in HTML.

Use WPML WordPress Plugin

For websites running on WordPress, this plugin manages groups of translated pages, adds hreflang attributes, and can provide automatic translations or connect to human translation services (preferred) to streamline the geotargeting process.

Steps to Implement:

  1. Purchase a license.
  2. Download the plugin.
  3. Install and active the plugin.
  4. Complete the initial configuration.
  5. Enable hreflang attributes.

Understand Mexican Culture

Highlighting the significance of cultural research, consider the case of Pampers by Proctor & Gamble in Japan. The brand’s use of stork imagery, unfamiliar in Japanese culture, led to a poorly received ad campaign. A more thorough cultural understanding could have prevented this costly misstep.

Some American companies have faced scrutiny regarding cultural insensitivity, domestically and internationally. To counter this, in-depth research and local collaboration are vital. Engage with Mexican communities, visit the country, and learn basic language skills. This will aid in identifying the optimal keywords for your product or service, moving beyond the inaccuracies of simple translation.

Understand Your Target Demographic

Mexico’s diverse market can inadvertently prompt biases. Firms entering these markets often mistakenly assume a uniform culture, risking significant financial loss and PR damage. Mexican regions vary in demographics, economics, and priorities, requiring geographically specific marketing strategies. Mexican ethnic identification, ranging from European to mestizo or indigenous, contributes to this cultural diversity. Understanding this complexity is crucial before pinpointing target demographics.

Invest in Local Online Ads

Directing customers to a website can begin with local advertising. Companies may utilize social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook or exclusively rely on Google Ads for consumer engagement. Regardless of the chosen method, it boosts and enhances discoverability in new regions.

Although Google doesn’t explicitly state a correlation between increased website traffic and higher search rankings, it’s a noticeable trend. Search queries for most keywords typically yield high-traffic websites as top results, such as news agencies or large corporations. These sites also enjoy high domain authority, as other content creators often link to them for credibility.

Use a CDN or Host Your Website in Mexico

Google prioritizes speed when it comes to SEO rankings, especially for mobile websites. Google continually tests for slow mobile websites and reduces their ability to rank well organically. Considering over half the traffic currently comes from mobile devices, this can spell trouble for your business.

Even a high-speed American website may lag in Mexico. Using local servers or a location-based CDN (content delivery network) can mitigate this. For enhanced performance via global edge servers, consider premium CDN services like Cloudflare Pro.

Work With a Professional Agency

If you are unfamiliar with international SEO and already feel overwhelmed by all the various considerations, work with a professional agency. Whether you hire consultants or work with agents who do all the heavy lifting for you, it helps to ensure any money you spend on SEO is well spent rather than wasted on a potentially unprofitable experiment. Hiring professionals also helps to free business owners and managers from backend website and marketing work, so they may focus on what they do best. 

If you have questions about international SEO or SEO in general, contact our experts at Momentum today. Founded in 2010, we provide SEO, website design and development, and search advertising solutions for businesses in many industries. We can help you find the best strategy for your target audience!

Anthony Holcombe's Bio

Anthony Holcombe serves as Momentum's Technical SEO Specialist, bringing 15 years of digital marketing and web design expertise to the table. As a Google-certified Analyst, he focuses on implementing proven SEO tactics and leveraging data-driven insights for Momentum's clients.