These days you have to reach a global audience, not all of them speaking English. This means that companies have to cater to their audience, translating their website into a number of languages to ensure that they can cater to their audience on a global scale.
The truth is that anyone will search for a product or service in their own natural language, whether it’s English, French or German. If you cater to an international customer base but are an English speaking company, you need to take the relevant steps to ensure you provide a multilingual website, capturing the attention of your customers searching in their own natural tongue.
Of course while having a multilingual website is useful to reach your target audience around the globe, you have to also look at the SEO of the website, ensuring that you enjoy a high ranking across the board, in every country and language. This can be quite tricky.
There are five things you must remember when doing your SEO campaign for a multilingual website, starting with language recognition. You want your site to immediately recognize the language being used, but many companies make the mistake of running their translation side by side. In order to enjoy improved rankings you want to keep your website at one language per page. The same language should be used on the header, the menu and the page itself, catering to one single language. This can really improve your ranking if you take the care to ensure quality content and the use of carefully selected keywords, as you would on your English website pages.
Your URL should be language specific. What this means is clearly identifying the language in your URL, making it easier for your customers to identify their language and also making it easier for crawlers to identify. Remember crawlers are constantly working their way through the internet, going through every page on your website. In order to rank highly in various languages, you want the language to be quickly and easily identifiable. The best way to achieve this is to have your URL/en for English, as example.
Keep the content of each language on a separate URL. Whether you have one or a dozen pages for each of the languages you want to cater for, ensure they all fall into their own language focused URL. This reduces confusion and also makes it much easier to be noticed by the search engines, helping increase your rankings and making it easier for your customers to find exactly what they are looking for in their own language.
The next step is to look at your common keywords. You will know your long and short tail keywords in English, but now you have to identify the keyword searches being used by your customers in a number of other languages. Ensure you have a list of multilingual keywords that you use on your web pages, blogs and social media. Keywords shouldn’t be overstuffed, but must be used to ensure that they are picked up when customers search for particular words or phrases online.
The final step is to create a XML sitemap in each of the languages you provide and ensure that each of the XML sitemaps are registered with the search engines. Search engines use these to help them crawl your site and identify your quality, authority and to ensure you meet their regulations and requirements.
Having a multilingual website can be highly beneficial, though it is advisable to hire a reputable and experienced SEO company to focus on your multilingual SEO, helping boost your visibility in search results across a number of languages moving forward.