What is multilingual SEO?
Put simply, multilingual SEO is the process of optimising your content for different languages in different locations.
Here is a typical example:
Assuming you have an e-commerce store and you sell to different countries. To optimise your sales in the Netherlands, you opted to translate your content into Dutch and build a Netherland website. Resulting in two different websites but with the same contents that you have.
Why is multilingual SEO important?
Ideally, everyone wants their website to be visible on Google. In a standard SEO setting, you get to optimize your content to one language, and this is the language showing on your website.
However, eventually you will want to break into a new market, so you will target different countries and locations. Sometimes, the audience might have related languages with some elements of differences.
When you target this audience individually, it is easier to optimize content and offer what they want. One of these differences is the language they speak. If your website is built with different languages, you will be at an advantage in two ways which are:
You increase your potential reach, visibility, and audience base:
You boost your chances of attaining a better ranking for a particular region and in different languages.
Here are five tips that will help in optimizing your content for Multilingual SEO:
Make use of dedicated URLs
As amazing as multilingual SEO is, its most significant challenge is duplicate contents, which mostly can lead to penalties like low ranking or total removal of contents from Google.
To avoid these penalties, it is strongly advised by Google to use language indicators in the URLs. For instance, for a website like www.iwritearticles.com, to change to France, it should be www.iwritearticles.com/fr
Use hreflang Tags
Apart from the previous language indicators, Google also recommends the use of hreflang attributes. It helps to decide the language of the page and which country you want to use it for.
You can insert these hreflang tags in the header part of the page through the sitemap.
If we want to make an English page readable for people in France, the hreflang tag could be:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-fr” href=”http://example.com/fr/” />
Use one language per page
You may want to translate some parts of a page while not doing so for other parts of the original language.
However, different languages on a page could reduce the user experience. Situations like when a user understands the first page and get lost in the other part might make the content lose credibility and engagement and get the reader uninterested again.
Ensure your website loads well and quick
The best thing you can do for your multilingual SEO campaign and general SEO is to ensure your website loads well and fast. Gone are those days when website speed doesn’t contribute to Google ranking, everything has changed now as your website loads more quickly, you are getting the results in traffic and visibility.
Translate your metadata
When you are creating a website with different languages, you should ensure that that the metadata are also translated. It is an integral part of the text that will improve your ranking on Google in the hew country you are targeting.
Multilingual SEO is vital to the SEO efforts of people looking to break into different countries and regions. It makes content more engaging, improves visibility in your target location, leads to more prospects and conversions.
Multilingual SEO is also part of a larger process of website localisation. Find out more!