How you ever wondered why some businesses effortlessly take over the online space from the word go while others are still seeking the opportunity to break out of their local markets. Does that mean the latter are selling the wrong products or are they not providing optimal services?
It’s simple ― Customers only buy the product when they truly understand the advantages it has to offer. Infact, as per a survey conducted by Common Sense Advisory, 56.2% of consumers give more weightage to obtaining information in their own language than price. So the key to international online success lies in optimizing your website for a variety of regional languages with localized SEO, popularly known as Multilingual SEO.
Consider the case of Amazon. The ecommerce giant is now the largest Internet company by revenue in the world, surpassing its counterparts like Walmart, Costco, eBay, and Alibaba. What helped Amazon diversify from an online bookstore to a multinational marketplace is its multilingual website that operates in 18 different languages including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, Turkish, and what not.
Moreover, 60% of the world’s top global brands have gone multilingual offering an average of eight languages for their websites.
The universal success of such brands makes international SEO even more vital than local SEO for online businesses. So if you planning to expand yourself to welcome an global audience, having an international SEO strategy is important.
In this multilingual and multiregional SEO guide, we’ll help you crack the morse code of creating multinational websites that rank well on Google.
The first thing you need to do is determine what country, its regions, and languages you will be targeting based on your niche. This will help you create a layout for your new international website.
Does your European website needs to diverse in regional languages like Danish, Dutch, German, French, or Italian? Or if you’re based in the United States, ponder whether you have anything beneficial to offer to French Canadians or something that a sizeable Spanish population will like?
Take for example Google. It doesn’t sell us anything yet it is most visited website in the world. The real reason behind Google’s enormous popularity is its global footprinting in 192 countries where it offers all its current services in regional and local languages.
In India, Google offers its services in 10 languages including English, Gujrati, Punjabi, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, and Urdu.
(Courtesy: Google India)
Once you have listed down all the countries, regions, and languages you’ll be catering to, its time to choose the domain and URL structure that will make it easy for search engines to segment your website for geotargeting.
There are multiple website architecture options available with their own merits and drawbacks:
Although expensive, a ccTLD a will fetch your website a higher SEO value for country-based search results.
Easy to setup and low maintenance, gTLD subdirectories use webmaster tools for geotargeting. But the URL structure makes its hard for users to differentiate the regional websites from one another.
gTLD subdomains are allow easy separation of websites making it easy for you to set them up and for webmaster tools to differentiate geotargeting.
URL parameters makes it easy to diversify your website using just one webpage URL.
If you have an up and running website, consider redesigning it using a multi language-friendly CMS. New-day content management systems like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla provide you with a range of services to help you establish multiple websites in different languages with shared database.
Now that you have a basic site structure, the next logical step is to establish a multilingual site map. Just like a normal site map, a localized sitemap will assist search engines in identifying the regional content on your website and increases your chances in showing up higher in region-specific searches.
Simply use rel-alternate-hreflang link elements (which we’ll discuss in the following steps) in the HTML and XML sitemaps to specify and differentiate between the languages you are targeting.
One question that might be bugging you is whether you server location is a factor in setting up a regional website. Well the answer is no! Search engines use a vast number of factors such as location, domain extension, contact address and number on the website and more to determine the location of your business.
The only add-on a localized server will provide you is an improved site speed for your users. If you are targeting Spain, France, and Portugal, it is smart to find a CDN host in Europe rather than setting up a different server in every country.
Now that you have decided upon a URL architecture, server location and sitemap, it is time for localized SEO landing pages. Using the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” annotation can be handy as it serves two purposes:
For the primary purpose, Google allows you to use the hreflang tag in three ways. If you are offering your website content in two languages, let’s say English and Spanish, you can
Inserting a link element in your webpage’s URL to indicate es.example.com as the Spanish version. Example:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es” href=”http://es.example.com/” />
While publishing non-HTML files like PDFs, you can use a HTTP header to point out the different version of the URL. Example:
Link: < http://example.com/es/>; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”es”
If your aren’t interested in using markup, submit all the language version related information to the Webmaster in your Sitemap.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have a language specific landing page but want to cater to audiences from all regions, you can use a new markup from Google called “x-default”. The annotation will help you specify a default page for visitors that don’t belong to your targeted regions. Example:
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/” hreflang=”x-default” />
The above factors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to multilingual SEO. As search engines are always evolving, so are the international SEO strategies. A few more multilingual SEO tips can be:
we are sure by using these 6 practices and keeping track of the new ones you can build out a better multinational and multilingual SEO strategy that will expand your business and get you new customers.
Anmol & his bunch of designers at 42Works surpassed all my expectations — be it design, speed or delivery. His organisation has certainly been the best experience I have encountered with outsourcing. I will certainly recommend them again. They are now my “Go-To-Guys” for all projects.
The thing that I liked the most about 42Works was their customer interaction chats. They are very comfortable in explaining complex tasks. I have thrown the kitchen sink at them time to time and they have bounced successfully every single time. I am yet to see a crisis which they couldn’t resolve. I fully recommend their services.
Excellent service all round. Took time to understand the requirements of the job – suggested good improvements and then set about providing a first class service. Very responsive, quick turnaround and the end result was exactly what we wanted. Would definitely use again and thoroughly recommend to anyone else.
I have had the pleasure of working with 42works team on a number of projects over a variety of different platforms and solutions. At every turn, 42works has provided outstanding and responsive technical solutions and often a more elegant result than was originally anticipated. I would highly recommend them for your projects.
Very fast, quick replies, good communication. This job required a lot of small details and they always came through with a solution. I hope to work with 42Works for the long term.
Said it a dozen times already — A team of truly dedicated, motivated, and great coder. Moreover, their designers have a strong understanding of the importance of quality assurance.
This was a challenging job for a challenging client and 42works came through with flying colors. They were able to resolve a few issues that my other programmers struggled mightily with and I would hire them again in a heart beat.
I have worked with 42Works on several of my projects and they have always delivered work on time with 100% top notch quality. I am intact working on a project now, 42Works is my go to guys for any website related projects.
The best thing about the Anmol & 42 works team is that they know what I want and need before I even do. I am astonished at how smart, professional and easily available their services are. Had I known them about 5 years ago I’d have saved a lot of wasted efforts on projects. No one is like Anmol. In a world of imitators he is the real deal!
The thing that I liked the most about 42works was their customer interaction chats. They are very comfortable in explaining complex tasks. I have thrown the kitchen sink at them time to time and they have bounced successfully every single time. I am yet to see a crisis which they couldn’t resolve. I fully recommend their services.