How to Do a Multilingual SEO

Internet marketing it’s a wide field for study and work. The Internet gives us multiple possibilities including international trade. When selling online abroad, you cannot do without multilingual SEO.

languages
Photo by Kaung Myat Min on Unsplash

To learn how to do a multilingual SEO, in this article we will consider the following points:

  • What is multilingual SEO?
  • Create multilingual content: translate and localize your online store
  • Importance of the multilingual keywords
  • Optimize your website for multilingual SEO
  • Multilingual marketing campaign: promote multilingual content
  • Final thoughts

Well, let’s get started to learn how to do a multilingual SEO for your store.

What is multilingual SEO?

Multilingual SEO is translating and optimizing the content of your website for foreign markets and customers.

In what situations do merchants need multilingual SEO? Everything is very simple. Merchants need multilingual SEO when they decide to expand their e-business to foreign markets. So, if your plans do not include the conquest of foreign markets, you can scroll through this article. However, if you want to grow your business, let’s make a little journey to the world of multilingual SEO.

  • Your content should be clear for the audience
  • Your website should be clear for search engines
  • Your store should be advertised on foreign markets

If you meet all these requirements, your store can reach success and bring you new customers and incomes. Now, let’s consider multilingual SEO steps closer.

Create multilingual content: translate and localize your online store

So, to reach the target audience, first of all, you need to create multilingual content. There are several ways you can do this:

  1. Auto-translation: The simplest way to create multilingual content. Translation apps or plugins are perfect if you need to translate large amount of content in minimum of time. Furthermore, the number of supported languages is rather large, especially the app combines translation drivers.
  2. Professional translation: Multiple translation agencies and freelancers are available in the Internet. This method requires certain costs and time. Anyway, you will get quality translation.
  3. Manual translation: This method is good if you have a small store and know languages into which you want to translate content. However, it’s mostly used while editing multilingual content after auto or pro translation.

You can also combine these translation methods by using special applications. For example, if you use the Shopify platform, you can try the LangShop: Translate & Currency app. With its help you can translate content automatically, order human professional translation, and edit translations manually. The app also allows adding currency selectors to the Shopify store and optimizing it. For the further information refer to the LangShop official website.

If you use WordPress, PrestaShop, Drupal, BigCommerce, Joomla, or other CMS, just look for plugins created for these platforms.

Localization it’s the next step of the content preparation. In this case, it’s better to cooperate with native speakers because localization means content adaptation to culture of the country. 

Importance of the multilingual keywords

The next step is about multilingual keywords. We are sure that you want your website to be on the first page of search result queue. Therefore, it’s time to think about how users can find you and the first that you should do – set multilingual keywords.

Let us tell you right away that it’s not enough just to translate the words. Of course, that’s also important but you need to find new multilingual keywords for the foreign market. How can you do this? Use your usual tools as Google Keyword Planner. select the region and language you need and the service will find the most relevant words for you.

Optimize your website for multilingual SEO

To optimize the store for the multilingual SEO, you should select the domain structure. At your disposal several types of domains:

  • top-level domains: when you add code of the language at the end of the address – yourstore.fr
  • subfolders: when you add code of the language at the end of the address using slash – yourstore.com/fr
  • sub-domains: when you add code of the language at the beginning of the address – fr.yoursite.com
  • URL parameters: it looks like – yoursite.com/?lang=fr

Each of them has pros and cons. Anyways, you can use any structure that is suitable for you.

To let search engines see that your store has translated versions, you need to add hreflang tags to your website. For instance, you have Japanese version of the store with the domain name https://yourstore.com/ja. You need to add the following tag:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”ja” href=”http://yourstore.com/ja” />

Thanks to this tag, search engines will understand that the store has translated version that is intended for Japanese region. Therefore, the website will be visible for Japanese people.

Don’t forget about “x-default” (the default version for all unsupported languages) and “en” (linking back) hreflangs pointing at the English (main) version of your website.
The complete set of hreflang tags would look as follows:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”http://yourstore.com/” />
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”ja” href=”http://yourstore.com/ja” />
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x-default” href=”http://yourstore.com/” />

To improve visitors experience, you can set auto redirects and language detection. How does it work? For example, you are from France and want to sell to Poland or Hungary. So, you translated the store into the target languages and linked them to the country language. At the first visit, visitors from Poland will be auto redirected to the polish version of your store. Respectively, visitors from Hungary will see the store in Hungarian.

Currency is another important element of the optimized store. You will agree, it is much more pleasant to choose products knowing how much you will have to pay. Therefore, currency selector is no less important than multilingual content.

Multilingual marketing campaign: promote multilingual content

Trying to sell abroad you must be ready to face with totally different audience with its culture, traditions, expectations, beliefs. Furthermore, humor and even colors play role. Therefore, the usual marketing strategy won’t work there.

In this situation, maybe it’s better to talk with local marketing agencies or freelance specialists who know all aspects of life and marketing in the target country. To promote your product, you should learn marketing channels, cultural characteristics, features of advertising in the selected region. It requires time. Therefore, our advice is to cooperate with locals.

Final thoughts

Multilingual SEO is an integral part of the e-business expansion. If you want to reach success on the foreign market, prepare your website carefully. Website translation, localization, optimization, and marketing are the main steps on the way to the target audience attention. Anyhow, cooperation with local specialists is necessary if you want to reach success on the target market.


About the Author

Dmitry Tkalich

Dmitry Tkalich is a Search Engine Optimization specialist with 8+ years’ experience. He started his SEO journey with the Russian Internet and in 2015 he started promoting projects for an English-speaking audience.