The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


International SEO for The Netherlands


Why should you localize your SEO for the Dutch market?

People often assume that their website will have the same level of search result globally as they have for searches within their home market but that’s not the case, even if you’re going to another English-speaking country. Google, the search engine owning nearly 95% of the search engine market in the Netherlands, gives preference to local websites to make searches more relevant within different countries and they also give preference to websites that have been localized for the people and language spoken there. Google’s primary objective is relevant search results.  In order for people to be able to find you when they do web or mobile searches, it’s a good idea to have a solid international SEO strategy for your digital products.

Taking the time to localize shows respect and your company will be taken more seriously if you have a high quality, localized site. Having a global SEO strategy increases your chances that prospects will find you in the Netherlands. You’ll still have to put in the effort to rank highly for relevant keywords in each market, and a strong SEO approach is a great place to start.

There are different ways of approaching SEO. For consumer products, we strongly recommend you optimize for the different languages, cultures, and customer groups you’re targeting in each market. If you have a B2B product, you may be able to use English as your primary language but localize for the market. Some companies use a hybrid approach and add localized elements into their English site. Your resources and prospective customers will dictate in part how you proceed, but a targeted SEO optimization strategy in each country is ultimately your best approach for success.




Learn more about International SEO in this Globig podcast. 




SEO for the Netherlands

 Popular search engines in the Netherlands

  • is the most visited search site in the Netherlands and is the third most visited

  • Other search sites used in the Netherlands, Yahoo and Bing 

People are connected and have the opportunity to search for information and products online

  • 54% of the Dutch population uses the Internet to search before purchasing (Google Consumer Barometer 2016)


Recommendations and steps to implement SEO for the Netherlands

As you plan out your strategy, here is a high-level list of steps you should take for international SEO in the Netherlands.

In order to develop a strategy for international SEO, it’s important to understand the statistics for your current website and mobile application. Create a simple report that highlights the following by country. If you are currently only in one country, you can still learn a lot from evaluating the following:

  • What countries are you currently getting traffic from?

  • What language do the people speak in those countries?

  • What is the traffic volume you are receiving and how has it trended over time?

  • What are your top international referral sources?

  • What are the keywords people are linking off?

  • What are the top pages they are linking to?

  • What is the landing page conversion rate by country for each offer?

  • How is the behavior for each country different from your current customers?

  • How do you rank for your top keywords within each country’s search engines?

Knowing this information will give you a baseline from which to plan a go-forward strategy.


Pick your language strategy for the Netherlands

Picking a language strategy for the Netherlands is important. The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. That being said, a significant majority of the Dutch speak at least some English. Your language strategy will depend on a combination of factors - your budget, how technical your content is, whether you are B2B or B2C, how local you want to be perceived (you may want to stand out as a brand from another country), and your timeline, among others. If your current site is in English, you do have some flexibility. 

For B2B, you could keep your website in English and localize specific pages, tool tips, and manuals, and convert more and more over time as it makes sense. Having a fully localized site sends the message that you are taking the market seriously, are planning for a long-term commitment, and that you respect the cultural and language differences. 

For B2C, it makes more sense that your site be in Dutch and truly localized to a Dutch consumer, but it's not necessarily required. Because so many Dutch speak English, you will still reach many potential customers with Engish and can strategically translate specific pages, use tool tips, make sure payment options are localized, and covert more over time as you can and it makes sense. 

Ultimately, decide if you plan on creating an SEO strategy using only English, or if you plan to localize using Dutch, as well or instead.


Understand the Dutch industry you are targeting and the competitive landscape for that industry

If you plan to expand into the Netherlands, you can start by becoming familiar with the market and focus your site optimization efforts. SEO requires time, energy, and constant focus in your own country, and SEO for the Netherlands is no different. Some of the aspects you’ll want to understand about an industry include:

  • How big is the industry?

  • Who are the key companies in the space?

  • How do the other companies market online?

  • What search engines do the people use in your target countries?

  • What devices do Dutch customers use to go online?

  • What are the top keywords being searched?

Figuring out how people search online in the country and region you’re looking to attract is important

Resources: Google’s Keyword Tool can help you look at top keywords and if you use, their tools also can assist with this research. It also has a Keyword Translate tool but it’s most helpful to have a local language specialist help you with keywords instead of using machine translation.

  • What are the identifiable search trends? Is there seasonality?


Identify your target audience in the Netherlands and understand them for SEO

For a truly effective laser focused marketing plan, you will want to know as much as possible about your specific target audiences so you can create content that is relevant to them, promote that content where the prospective customers can be introduced to your content, and market to them in a variety of ways.

Understanding search and buying behavior for your target audience is also important.  You can then optimize for the best keywords so your site will be one of the top results of their searches.


Create a plan that you can follow diligently and measure to see how effective your efforts are

Start with your local competitors. Identify their most popular content, pages being linked to, and by which sites. It’s also helpful to see if your competitors have AdWords campaigns to see the keywords being used for lead generation. To spy on your competitors AdWords campaigns, use By understanding what’s working in the Dutch market, you can then see how best to approach your own strategy.  Sites that link to your competitors are also great prospects for you if you reach out to them.

It’s important to articulate how your product and company will be different from your competitor by clearly doing so in your SEO and marketing efforts.  Otherwise, customers won’t understand why you have a better solution.


Prepare your website for International SEO in the Netherlands

There are several very specific on-site optimization efforts you’ll want to implement in order for search engines to recognize your website in global markets, including the Netherlands.


A. International domain strategy and country specific website

You will know best to internationalize your domains and prepare your website. Here are the basics:

  • Have a site is easy to crawl so it can easily be searched and indexed by search engines

  • Make sure the site is easy to index, having a well-organized international site map helps as does good internal linking

  • Have a unique web structure for each country if your International SEO strategy is by country

You have several options for setting up your website(s) for multiple countries. Most important is that you have unique page URL’s so search engines as well as your website users can easily identify the country and language. We recommend not using translation tools that automatically translate within a site for international SEO since search engines won’t be able to identify that you have unique pages for each country and point them there.

Option 1- Unique Domain Names

The first option is to purchase the different domain names in each country so you have the top-level domain with the appropriate country code. Examples of this would be,,, This is probably the most expensive and complex way to manage your international pages and also requires the most work for your internal team.

Option 2- Country Specific Sub-Domains

Another option is to have the same country code top-level domain but use different sub-domains for your different sites. Examples of this would be,,,  A subdomain is typically easier to manage than buying the different top-level domains and requires less work for your team.

Option 3- Country Specific Sub-Directories

The third option is to set up sub-directories for each different country. Examples for this would be,,, This choice is also easier to manage from a corporate headquarters as compared to using unique domain names.


B. Localize Your Website for the Netherlands

For best results, engage native speakers to assist with translations or even modifications instead of using only translation tools.  Many of the online translation services offer native speakers to assist with automated translation tools. You can also reach out to university students for their input. The elements to localize can include:

  • URLs- language localization

  • Title & meta description

  • Website branding

  • Company contact information, currency, time, delivery info/maps

  • Menu and navigation

  • Headings

  • Pricing

  • Images

  • Content- reviews, descriptions, articles, videos

  • Colors

  • Easy to crawl and navigate menu in new language

  • Localized content

Having native speakers help to localize your website and content will make it more appealing and optimized for search.


Pay attention to technical SEO considerations

  • For search engines, note the country and language in tags such as hreflang annotations

  • Include annotations in XML site map

  • Consider using a country specific Internet Provider if you can. Some larger companies offer this as a service, especially for email marketing

  • Make sure your site is mobile optimized and responsive design


Maintain ongoing site optimization for the Netherlands

  • Monitor your SEO keywords to see how you’re trending

  • Monitor your competition

  • Monitor overall SEO trends and Google changes to their algorithms

  • Evaluate your efforts to see what’s working and what isn’t

  • Test, test, test



Globig Resources


We’ve found that one of the best overviews and resources for you to learn how to optimize your international sites is They have excellent guides for International SEO and step-by-step instructions to follow.



Google’s Keyword Tool to see your competitors’ AdWords campaigns