Is your business faring well in your country? If yes, then you might want to expand your brand in the global market. To successfully launch your business, you will need to invest time and effort in your search engine optimization (SEO). How? Start by learning more about multilingual SEO and how you can apply it to your website. It will help in boosting your visibility and organic reach in other countries.

In this article, we will talk about what multilingual SEO is and how you can benefit from it.

What is multilingual SEO?

You know that you need to work on your multilingual SEO but what actually is it? Multilingual SEO is the practice of optimizing your website content to rank for multiple languages and locations. For example, if you want to market your product or services in France, it would be a great idea to translate your content to French. Although English is a widely-used language in the world, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to market your business to non-English speakers.

Now, what is the problem with having separate sites for your translations and how can multilingual SEO help? First, a lot of multilingual websites have experienced issues with duplicate content. This causes the individual rankings of the page to go down when detected by Google. To avoid this issue, you will need to create an effective SEO strategy to avoid duplications.

Moreover, you will need to make another set of keyword research for a specific language or continent. Most people will think that directly translating the website without any localization efforts is enough. In most cases, direct translations of words and phrases may portray a different meaning in a certain culture. This is why it is essential to localize your content for your international users. It can help promote websites along with a comprehensive method that includes SEO, PPC, blogging, social media, and other forms of marketing. 

These are just some of the issues that a good multilingual SEO can solve for your global business.

Why would a small business need to use multiregional SEO?

A lot of small business owners would think that applying a multiregional SEO is too early for them. However, there is no such thing as “too early” when it comes to expanding your brand for a new market. In this digital era, connecting with customers further from your site is more possible than ever, especially if you can localize your website properly.

Here are some of the perks of using multiregional SEO on your small business:

  • You can easily expand your business internationally and partner with other businesses.
  • You can discover an underserved customer base in other countries that your competitors may have overlooked.
  • You can increase your website traffic by targeting other regions and countries.
  • You will not miss out on the chance of connecting with interested customers outside your initial target location.

How is it different from a multiregional and region-specific SEO?

It is easy to interchange the meanings of multilingual and multiregional SEO. This is because they are both targeting multiple locations and audiences. But how are they different? The key here is the use of languages. Multiregional does not necessarily require translations of languages like multilingual. Rather, it focuses on the localization of your website for different geographic regions.

For example, if you have a website that’s based in the US and you wanted to expand your market in the UK and other English-speaking regions, you don’t need to translate your content. You just have to localize your content and apply multiregional SEO practices to target a different region. However, if you have a US-based website and want to target Spanish speakers, then you’ll need to translate your content into another language. This is to promote websites to Spanish audiences by using multilingual SEO.

Region-specific SEO is one of the most useful practices that even small businesses can use when targeting a certain geographic area. By localizing your content for the languages and prioritizing the trends of a specific region, you can earn more points for locals. For example, when marketing in Spain, you can search for the keywords that are often use in that location. You can also use the names of places or public figures instead of generalizing your article.

Despite the differences in meaning, it is important to apply all of them when you are targeting international audiences on your business. According to The 2019 Web Globalization Report Card, there are about 33 average languages that global websites are using in order to achieve their international objectives.

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How can a multilingual campaign help promote websites?

As you have probably guessed by now, translation is the key to multilingual SEO. The first step, of course, is the localization of your content. Next is promotion. When you promote websites successfully, it will boost your traffic and visibility in search engines. This way, your audiences can easily navigate your site to see the services or products that you offer. But how is it actually possible when using a multilingual SEO?

1. Layout a plan for your SEO strategy

The first one promoting your website through a multilingual strategy is by planning everything out. It is easy to get lost when you’re already on your journey so it will be important that you have a layout of your strategies. You can start by analyzing your own website and identifying the locations where most of your traffic is coming from. By doing this, you will be able to know the languages that you can prioritize for your website.

Aside from that, doing further market research will help you in identifying your target audience. You can start by creating new buyer personas and look at your competitor’s current and target customers. You should also analyze their traits, trends, cultures which will be useful in identifying the languages, imagery, and approach that will work for them. This will make localizing your content much easier.

2. Use dedicated URLs

One of the most common issues that multilingual sites encounter is the duplication of their content. When Google detects duplicate contents on your page, it will be difficult for them to identify which is the original copy and may cause issues in ranking. Moreover, it can also be confusing for your target audiences as they can be directed to other pages dedicated to another language.

To prevent this from happening, it is essential to have dedicated URLs with language indicators that will differentiate your pages from one another. 

For example, instead of just saying “www.dedicated-url.com,” you can instead use “www.dedicated-url-fr.com” for your French page.

This will help the search engine and your audiences to identify the languages that a certain page uses.

You can personalize the hreflang attributes that you will see in the HTTP header, sitemap, or on-page markup. This will help Google determine the language and location that you are targeting for your pages. This is also applicable for instances where you are targeting a location but with different language users. However, it could be more complicated and requires professional coding skills than using dedicated URLs.

3. Translate your meta-data

If you are planning to translate and localize your website content, don’t forget to do the same on your meta-data. It includes localizing your title tags, meta description, and meta keywords. Because they are the data that search engines crawl and preview to readers, this is crucial to rank on the location that you are targeting. Instead of just translating your existing data, make sure that you use the correct keywords with high searches and less competition in a certain location.

4. Partner with translation agencies

If you want a more accurate translation and localization of your contents and metadata, it is best to partner with a translation agency that specializes in this sector. They can also assist you with the technicalities that you need for your multilingual SEO. You just have to make sure to hire translators with native knowledge and expertise in the language and sector of your business.

When thinking about localizing your website and using multilingual SEO, it may seem too complicated at first. However, it is actually possible to implement if you just have the right ideas on how you can start. With its benefits such as increasing your traffic and conversions while improving the brand of your company, investing your effort and time will be worth it.

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AvatarOfer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is CEO of Tomedes, a language service provider that has served business clients, supporting 100+ languages for fast-turnaround, quality-assured translation, writing, and editing.