Multilingual Website and SEO: A Marketing Guide

While growing your online business, expanding it to additional countries and languages is always a great means to increase your revenues. At times, whether deliberately or unintentionally, organizations may find that their stores attract visitors and consumers from all over the globe.  Today, the internet has made it very easy to order and purchase products and services internationally and so making your site optimized for the global market has become a high priority.

Multilingual Website and SEO Marketing Guide

The most successful site always offers something that is unique and helps them to stand out. Reaching global audience is a great opportunity for both small and medium sized business, but a number of challenges come on the way when it is about creating a multilingual site and optimizing it for the search engines.

These include

Choosing the right CMS for your site

The most popular open source CMSs are like Drupal, WordPress, Magento and all of them offer a wide range of features to create sites with the best shared database and multilingual SEO structure. These CMSs allow you to configure your site with separate domains, sub-domains and sub-folders using the same database. If you already have a site powered by a multilingual CMS, then just find a web developer who can make it multilingual.

How can you target the right country?

Instead of making speculations, business owners should use keyword explorer tools to find the international keywords and their search volume for target keywords. Carry out brainstorming sessions to find out core keywords that your consumers might search for in the specific language and then select your target country to check the results for that location. Again, if you enter different keywords and then scroll down the results, you will be able to search the volume distribution in different countries for all the keywords that are combined.

Will separate domains, sub domains or sub folders work best for SEO?

Whether it is a separate domain, or a sub domain or a sub folder, each option has its own merits and top ranking sites use different structures for SEO. In case your domain is keyword rich and is in English, then it is better to translate it for branding and purchase equivalent local domains in each language. But in case you have a strong brand that has an international domain, then any option would work. But always remember not to use these three options as they are simply terrible for SEO:

  • Keeping identical Urls for each language and using cookies to control them
  • Having all the languages in the same page
  • Using a hashtag to control language

How can you successfully complete an SEO translation?

There are Google Translate and other automatic translation software available in the market, but Google considers automatically translated content as spam. Proper translation is important to gain higher ranking with the search engines and it is ideal to optimize your site in English first. There are two approaches:  You can translate the site first and then optimize and the second one is that you can identify targeted keywords and incorporate them as you translate your site. Ensure that your local content is adapted to the local culture.

How can you plan for a multilingual marketing campaign?

Researching your keywords carefully and placing them in your content will not help you to attract millions of visitors to your site. For this you have to plan a proper multilingual marketing strategy. Translating your website to specific languages that you want to target is the first part of the process and then it is time to run a multilingual link building campaign. To appear natural to Google, ensure that you are not penalized and the majority of your backlinks are in the same language.

Will you need an international host?

Google uses various factors in its algorithm to detect the location of your business-  the language, address or cities mentioned in your content, domain extensions and etc. Having your host close to your target audience will help in improving the speed of the site for most of your global visitors. For example, if you have your audience in France, then it is a good option to host in Europe.