Is Multilingual SEO on Your To-Do List?
We often take for granted how lucky we are to speak the internet's mother tongue. Nine times out of ten, we can find what we're looking for in English. And if you're reading this, then you're also one of the lucky ones. But linguistically limited websites limit the end user's experience, and believe it or not, there are way more people that don't speak English than there are that do. If you really want to become a paragon of multiculturalism, then consider adopting a multilingual SEO strategy. Here are some tips to get started.
#1: Consult with a Professional Translator
If you went to school in Canada, then there's a good chance you've used an online translator that turned your French project into nonsensical babble. Online translators aren't horrible, however, it's important to understand their limitations. They can generally translate words and very short phrases without a problem. But, the second sentences use even slightly more complex syntax, bad things start to happen. Don't send a computer to do a human's job.
Professional translators understand the nuances of language and meaning that computers don't get. Hiring a translator to convert your pages guarantees your words are written by people for people, so you can rest easy knowing that your site is legible.
You can't separate language and culture. They influence and inform each other. Google can't pick up on cultural sensitivities, but a human translator can. You can never be too careful these days.
To compare some of the best web translation services, click here.
#2: Don't Literally Translate Keywords
Another reason to hire a professional translating service. While giving computers full reign of keyword translation can produce hilarious results, that's probably not your intention. A translator may not necessarily understand SEO, but they can point out words that foreign language speakers use more often than others, just by being familiar with the language and culture. Word choices vary depending on the region even within the same language. British English can sometimes sound Greek compared to Canadian or American English. In short, don't automatically think that your keywords translate well. For example, ff you're selling custom bow ties, then you want to make sure that your readers are reading the compound phrase and not the two words separately.
#3: Invest in a URL Strategy
Country-specific domains inspire trust and authority. However you decide to implement a foreign-language URL structure, first make sure that you're consistent and that you do your research before committing. You have three URL strategies to choose from and they all have pros and cons. The three options available are:
- Country-code top-level domains or ccTLDs (makepancakesnotwar.fr)
- Subdomains (es.tastypancakechef.com)
- Subdirectories (pancakefan.com/de)
While country-specific URLs make geotargeting easier, they can be quite expensive and may come with obstacles that you may or may not be able to surmount.
Find out more about international URLs here.
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Find out which URL strategy works best for your site to reach users all over the world[/caption]
#4: Don't Skimp on Multilingual Content
If you're going to invest in a translator and possible ccTLDs, why go light on the content? Don't just translate the meaty stuff, invest in total multilingual integration, which includes headers, menus, forms, captions, etc. If your reader doesn't know the difference between the original site and the translated site, then you've done your job correctly.
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The site quality should be indistinguishable[/caption]
#5: Optimize Your Original Content First
This is a given. If your original content isn't properly optimized, don't waste your time and money getting it translated. We guarantee it won't do you any favours. Consult with a professional SEO firm to whip your content into shape. Want to now how obsessed Awkward Media
is with SEO? Click here.
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Don't frolic in your garbage, clean it up![/caption]
#6: Respect the Region's Popular Search Engine
Say what?! Google isn't everyone's favourite search engine? As a matter of fact, the search engine of preference differs by region. Are you going to optimize your Chinese website for Google, Bing and Yahoo and alienate 1.4 billion people who prefer to use Baidu? Like anything worthwhile, this requires research and hard work. But it will cost more to have a website that isn't optimized for the most popular search engine.
Is Your Website Ready for Multilingual SEO?
It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out that converting your website into other languages requires a ton of work. Before you even start researching the best website translating services, your website should be properly optimized. If your current website needs help, consult with our dedicated team
of SEO groupies.