Multilingual Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing the content of your website for many languages so that you are searchable in new markets and people from different countries can find your website using regular searches.
The Q-online team of SEO professionals will tell you that multilingual SEO means you have to optimize your site for native speakers from other countries.
Deciding on multilingual SEO
Most small sites don't need to worry about setting up for different countries and languages.
The process of requiring multiple sites to be maintained in different languages is a considerable problem for non-professionals. If you are not ready for this, the Q-online team will do the job for you.
To find out which countries you are already in, log in to Google Analytics and click "Audience". We are interested in the Geo option, which shows both language and location. To understand that it is worth doing the multilingual SEO for the chosen region, you should look at the amount of traffic shown from your target audience.
Regional SEO variations in one language
The amount of SEO effort you need to put into your website depends primarily on the amount of content you create. However, it depends on your business strategy. It's one thing to sell products or services to English-speaking people in the UK, but it's a different matter if your target market includes the US or Australia as well.
When starting multilingual SEO, the main things you should think about are URL changes, hreflang tags, qualified translation of content, and metadata.
Dedicated URLs for each language
Q-online experts create language subdirectories, domains or subdomains for each of your new languages. They also make the localization process logical and correct, and this is a must if you want your translated pages to be well indexed by Google.
Adding hreflang tags
As you know, hreflang tags tell search engine robots about similar content pages but target different languages. They help search engines deliver the best possible results to users. But they are not easy to implement (unless you are a developer). Fear not; the Q-online team adds them for you!
It's not just about the text you see on your website. There are many important "invisible" words, such as your metadata or alternative image tags - they also need to be discovered and translated for good SEO. You need to edit these translations to target more specific keywords in your new markets if you like.
Multilingual SEO Optimization - tips for Do's and Don'ts
Besides the URL guidelines, there are other essential aspects. Taking the following rules and regulations into account will help you appear at the top of your Google results page!
- Help Google correctly identify the language of your website by using one language for content and navigation on each page.
- Don't use lang attributes. Google exclusively uses visible content to determine the language of your website. No code-level language information is being used.
- Avoid parallel translation so that search engines can choose the language of your website.
- Translating only standard text can be inconvenient for users because most of your content remains in one language.
- Be careful on custom content pages, as content can be created in different languages! Make sure the language of the website is prominent!
- Use correct robots.txt and other help codes to prevent search engines from crawling automatically translated pages. Automatic translations usually don't make sense and can affect your site's reputation.
- Avoid using cookies to display translated versions of your website. Keeping content for each language you support on a separate URL is the key to good SEO for multilingual websites.
- Cross-references to different language versions of your websites help users navigate the website in their preferred language if they have been incorrectly redirected.
- Avoid automatic redirection based on your user's language. This can prevent users and search engines from viewing all versions of your fantastic website.
- Use ccTLDs or the Search Console Geotargeting Tool to set up geotargeting so you don't have to worry about server location. Always make sure your website is hosted in a way that gives your users quick access.
When choosing content to translate, try to select master pages and main content from the same clusters to increase your chances of ranking well in target languages. Remember that the complexity of keywords varies by language, and therefore your chances of being at the top of the search results. Optimize traditional SEO elements and localize keywords based on search volume and character length. Work with localization experts to make sure your keywords are translated with an understanding of how the search target works in the target culture.
Before you start localizing, make sure your multilingual SEO architecture in the source language is well structured. You'll need to check out the Cluster Theory, special tools, and local consultant advice to ensure you're on the right track.