The social-driven Internet continues to provide opportunities for global companies to deliver increasingly personalized and targeted content to consumers worldwide. While offering multilingual content is the most obvious choice, you can wrest far more value from your website translation investment by matching it with strategic Multilingual SEO.
What are the possible reasons that you might want to configure your company’s website for multilingual and multi-regional audiences?
- You want to improve your website’s search ranking position for a target country / locale.
- You want to raise the visibility of your company’s products and services among specific foreign consumers.
- You want to increase sales conversions from the pages created for localized products and marketing campaigns.
- You want to understand and effectively respond to consumer search behaviors in all of your language locales.
Whatever your reason, there are three critical pieces of any successful multilingual, multi-country website strategy.
It may sound cliché but it remains true: Content is King. Nevertheless, what counts as copy has changed considerably from the earliest days of website development. Not only has keyword stuffing long since disappeared, even the importance of keywords themselves have given way to the realities of many iterations of search engine development. What does Great Content do?
While all of the algorithmic factors of the search engines remain a mystery, factors such as site size, domain age, and in-bound links all point to the importance of page and domain authority. Buyers want to trust that search will deliver them into the hands of brand, product, and service authorities, not into the hands of scammers and spammers. Informative, well-written, and reliably delivered content are all signals that your site can be trusted. Moreover, in the age of so much social sharing, your investment in Great Content can be multiplied by consumers who are “liking,” “tweeting,” and “pinning” your content (your brand!) in their networks.
People from around the world use search to find what they need. Effective Multilingual SEO therefore means ensuring that your content points them to the very information that will satisfy those needs. The shift to semantic search makes understanding and satisfying search users with need-answering content all the more important. SEO expert Erin Everhart explained it to Mashable this way:
For example: Yoga. What could people mean they search ‘yoga?’ What is yoga? The different types of yoga. How to do different yoga positions. The best fit of yoga pants. Yoga exercise videos. The possibilities are endless. … You will have to focus on the natural language even if those users are still focusing on keywords.
Clarifies, Doesn’t Confuse
How quickly would you abandon a page that is not written to answer your question? What if it was not written in a language you could read?
Language matters to Multilingual SEO. When you are looking to satisfy consumers who are foreign to your own market’s keywords, it pays to understand local search behaviors, to know the search platforms of the market (it’s not all Google!), and to adopt appropriate copy writing strategies.
According to industry research, consumers are unlikely to buy products or services that are not presented in their own language. It is too much of a confusing experience. Great Content therefore uses native-to-market keywords, language, currencies, symbols, images, and more to help buyers make a purchasing decision.
All of the major search engines are happy to provide you with guidelines, instructional resources, and tips on how to structure your company’s website backend. Just consider this short video from Google Webmaster Tools on geotargeting configuration:
Things to consider in coding a search-engine friendly multilingual site:
- Set the page language
- Have page titles in the target language
- Ensure that the URL is in the target language
- Consider having a country-based domain (ccTLD)
- Signal your site’s language structure by submitting the information to the search engines
As noted above, changes to search engine algorithms have been considerable, and site owners ignore these developments to their folly. Because of search privacy concerns and resulting search encryption approaches, for example, reliable search query information is no longer available to content publishers.
What that means, however, is that resources like Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and a host of third-party site analytics services are providing far more robust and comprehensive data on the performance of websites. For multilingual and multi-regional sites, these tools are invaluable for understanding the performance of certain pages and products for domestic and foreign consumers alike, and for influencing the direction of additional and targeted content development strategies.
Do you want to understand how your website is contributing to the performance of your products and services in foreign markets? These kinds of tools will show you how.
Questions? Download our free eBook on Multilingual SEO or drop your questions in the comments section below.