An Introduction to Multilingual SEO

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If you are looking into taking your company global, you’ve probably already come across the term multilingual SEO. Translating your SEO content is a key step in the internationalization process, since it makes it easier for clients around the world to find your website.

Thoughtful SEO also tends to improve your website’s user experience, so following SEO best practices is a win-win situation for you and your clients. This article is intended as a global overview to help you understand what multilingual SEO is, why you need it, and some of the key aspects that need to be considered.

What is multilingual SEO?

Let’s start at the beginning: what is multilingual SEO? Multilingual SEO means that you offer optimized website content in multiple languages. Multilingual SEO’s objective is to generate organic website traffic by increasing your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why is it important?

A website that’s translated into other languages is a good start, but the best way to get your multilingual content seen by as many people as possible is to make sure it appears at the top of the search engine results page. Since 75% of people only look at the first page of search engine results, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential business if you’re not on the first page.

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Key steps in the multilingual SEO process

1. Define your target markets

When planning your multilingual website, one of the first things to do is establish which regions you want to target. Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself during this process include:

  • Where are your existing customers based?
  • Where are your existing website visitors based?
  • Which markets are strategically important for your business?

This will help you get an idea of which languages you need to translate your site into. Of course, you can always add more languages later if needed.

2. Consider domain structure

A critical step in the multilingual SEO process is choosing a domain structure. Some of the options here include subdirectories (this looks like example.com/fr) or subdomains (fr.example.com). Depending on which content management system you use, there are some popular plugins that can be used to make this process easier.

3. Identify relevant SEO keywords

Once you’ve defined your target markets, you will have to determine which keywords you want to rank for. SEO keywords are rarely literal translations, so analyzing several keywords is essential. There are a few steps to go through to ensure that you’ve chosen the best SEO keywords for your website:

  • Translate several variants of your top keywords
  • Research the keywords that other businesses in your industry are using
  • Consider the popularity of the keywords you’ve listed (using a tool such as Google Trends) and make a final selection

There are many approaches to keyword selection, but the key here is to take time to research and select a solid list of keywords that fit your business and your clients.

4. Translate and localize your content

You can now begin incorporating your SEO keywords into your website! It’s important to localize your entire website, including elements like images, titles and menus, because a partially translated website will drag down your SEO rankings. At Acolad, we offer a full range of localization and translation services done by professional translators who translate exclusively into their native language and can help you boost your website views and conversions. Professional Translations done by a native speaker are essential for high-quality multilingual content. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to translate ‘invisible’ content like metadata and alt text in order to boost your SEO results.

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Now we’ve covered some of the basics of multilingual SEO. In a nutshell, optimizing your multilingual website with SEO keywords and links will help you grow your brand’s global presence. Making sure that your SEO translations are done by a skilled translator will also have a positive effect on your results. Overall, if you approach multilingual SEO in an organized and step-by-step manner, you’ll be able to maximize your ROI while using your resources efficiently.