If you own an international business, you've probably encountered the problem of how to promote your website in different markets. Do you need localization? Should you hire a localization contractor in each individual country, or choose a single global provider? How do you oversee their work? How can you meet the client's specific needs in a particular region? How can you find your niche in local search demand? The answer to all these and many other questions is multilingual website SEO.
Who needs multilingual website SEO?
As a rule, people tend to start thinking about multilingual website SEO when they realize that it can be a full-fledged selling tool and organically generate customers in all language markets.
It involves a comprehensive overhaul of the website content, and researching the characteristics of each region in terms of search demand, behavioral patterns, and many other factors that will make your multilingual site look like a “native” among competing local sites.
At first glance it may seem that website localization - that is, translation of the primary website into the required languages - is all you really need. But this means that:
Your international website will be rendered "verbatim," making it incomprehensible or odd-looking at times for those in other countries. For example, the format of expressions and sentences can betray their foreign origin.
The website will not take local search demand specifics into account, so as to meet the needs of users.
The website will not be able to compete with local sites for search rankings.
The website will not take future search demand development into account.
Sequence of work in multilingual website SEO
The first stage in promoting an international website is analysis of the data:
existing statistics of the website and all its local versions;
competitors in general and for each individual market;
search demand - once again, for each individual market.
Simultaneously, a technical audit is conducted.
Based on the results of this analysis and the technical audit, a promotion strategy can be prepared, as well as a list of all the work for technical optimization of each local version.
The second stage in SEO of multilingual website is to correct the shortcomings identified in the technical audit: adding tags and meta tags, assigning unique URLs, redirecting, linking, translating "hidden" site areas, etc. These operations must be done at the very beginning; otherwise efficiency will be compromised for all future optimization operations.
Also at this stage all the necessary integrations of various systems are performed (CRM/call tracking/offline).
The third stage is the most interesting, but also the most difficult, and is one that many unfortunately decide to forego. The painstaking work with the content begins, and here you need to remember:
translating site content is not enough. For multilingual website SEO, the content has to be adapted from one language to another while preserving its semantic core. It's not even a translation in the usual sense: it is a rewrite in the target language, paragraph by paragraph, all the while preserving the meaning of the original text. We call this transcreation.
Even the webpage structure for individual regions may differ if the CMS allows it. This is precision work, requiring considerable time and effort.
After the internal optimization is complete, you can proceed to the fourth stage of optimizing your multilingual website: working with external factors. As a rule, this includes compiling a link profile, developing a content plan, working on content for each individual language version, and article promotion using local resources. This is what forms your expert image in a particular market and will help you reach the top search rankings.
Sounds very attractive and also very complicated, doesn't it? And it probably costs a ton of money, right?
Is global SEO expensive?
There are two ways you can go about promoting your international website.
The first is to hire local experts in each language market, sign contracts with each, and work with them directly. You will need a dedicated employee to oversee the work of all the contractors.
The final cost of international SEO services for your website will depend on:
the cost of services from a given agency;
the going rate for international SEO services. In the US or the UK, SEO is naturally more expensive than, say, in India. But that's to be expected.
The second option is to work with a global company that has its own “natives” on staff. Not to mention project managers, internet marketing experts, web analysts, content managers, programmers, usability specialists, and link builders.
In this case, a fixed cost is paid for a package of basic services, and all the arrangements are made with a single manager.
It will be a while before you start seeing results from your multilingual website SEO, and at some point you'll want to forget about the whole thing. The work is long and painstaking. But all of it is laying groundwork that will go on to work for you in the long run with minimal effort. Our experience shows that by the time the second stage is complete, you will already start seeing results. And with perseverance these results will only increase.
You might also be interested in the article about affordable seo services for small business.
Alconost is an internet marketing agency that offers search engine optimization for multilingual websites as well as PPC management, SMM and Content promotion. We conduct full SEO audits and website optimization, improve website usability, develop an international promotion strategy and analyze statistics and many others to increase your profits and improve your positions in search engines.