If you are doing well in your business in your own country, you might be thinking of expanding to the international markets. To succeed in your efforts, SEO is an important consideration. This is where the role of Multilingual SEO comes into the picture, which increases the visibility of your website in other countries as well.
Multilingual SEO involves offering optimized content in various languages in the countries you are operating in. The reason why you need SEO in multiple languages is that a lot of searches are done by users in their native language. If you don’t target the right keywords for different countries and carry out the local SEO, you will not be able to reach your target audience and enter new markets.
This post throws light on how can you implement a multilingual SEO strategy to increase your conversions and enhance your site’s accessibility.
Before you do multilingual SEO, conduct multilingual keyword research for finding out the keywords users are searching for in your targeted language. Don’t translate English keywords as different markets search differently. You have to consider the cultural difference too. For example, people in the UK search for terms like “weekend holiday” whereas, in the US, people would rather search for “weekend vacation.” You have to get into the minds of your target audience and be appealing for them.
After researching for keywords, find out their search volumes and determine which of them have high competition. Targeting keywords that have low to medium competition is a good way to start with.
Once you have the keywords, include them in your website content and primary keywords in your Meta Keywords, Meta Title, Meta Description, etc. Also, take care of avoiding keyword stuffing. Repeat this process for all the pages of various languages or localized sites.
Domain and URL Structure:
It is crucial to decide the structure of your URL and use dedicated URLs for websites of various languages. You can choose between different domain structures for this:
- Country-coded top-level domains (ccTLDs), e.g. site.co.fr or site.co.uk, which tell the search engines for which country the website is designed for. As there are country-specific suffixes meant for different countries, search engines rank these sites better for users in those countries.
- Sub-domains, which are a cheaper option than TLDs, e.g. fr.site.com are easy to set up, can be connected to Google’s Search Console and can easily be distinguished from other sites.
- Sub-folders or sub-directories are useful for targeting not only specific countries but also languages or both, e.g. site.com/fr/.
Sub-domain structure is quite useful when you want to set up separate sites without any extra expense and avoid efforts of managing different domains. It is also preferable from an SEO perspective, showing that your brand has a strong local presence and building trust and authority. Less subfolders in the URL of your web page can positively impact your search engine rankings.
When you are optimizing your website for the international market, Google Webmaster tools can be useful for multilingual SEO. They allow you to target sites by location. Now known as Google Search Console, they will let you check the indexing status and enhance the visibility of your website.
You can choose the target location for your site from the dashboard, which tells the search engines that your website is meant for a particular region. This makes Google rank the website accordingly for that country.
You can include hreflang information in the code of your site to let search engines know which language your website uses. This will enhance the search engine rankings of your site.
The hreflang tag tells the algorithms of Google that your website page has been translated to a specific language and has to be given preference. For example, if you have two different sites for the US and the UK, you can give proper language attributes which will increase your rankings in that specific country. Google will also come to know that there are no duplicate pages on your website, and they are optimized for users speaking different languages.
Also remember to include hreflang = “x-default” annotation, which will work for the location/languages you haven’t specified.
After your website is live, the next step is to start building links for your site to boost your rankings. By writing high-quality content and guest posting, you can build organic links. Approaching bloggers and webmasters having similar sites, allowing you links can be helpful too.
You need to ensure that your backlinks are in the same language like French links going to your French site. You also need to take care of the anchor text as it has to be of the same language. For example, along with Italian articles using Italian anchor text.
Submit articles, comment on forums, add company descriptions to blog, directories, ad sites, etc.
You should remember that SEO is not only about driving traffic to your website, but it is about focusing on the right people who are interested in your services. If you optimize your site for keywords that people aren’t searching for or have different meanings due to language issues, you will have visitors coming to your site with low conversion rate.
It is also better to use human translation as it is of high quality and accurate instead of using translation tools. Providing custom content relevant to that specific country’s audience including local currencies, regulations, cultures, etc. is crucial. Avoid duplicate content, and frame an international link building campaign that helps you get high-quality links.
Use various multi-language SEO tactics and choose the right approach for your business that will help you to reach a wider audience. Frame multilingual SEO strategy that overcomes the language problem and has the ability to attract potential customers to your regional site.