Marketers are trying hard to find international customers for their products and services. They are now focusing beyond the domestic markets and localized customers. To engage and interact with customers who don’t know the native language of the website, multilingual websites turn out to be a great help.
What is a Multilingual Website?
When you want to sell a product or service to customers in different geo locations, a multilingual website can help. The website is designed to deliver content in multiple languages and a diverse range of audiences.
Such websites help a lot when you want to reach out and engage with your potential customers from different linguistic backgrounds and target markets. The idea behind a multilingual website is to offer your target audience a full-fledged localized experience by allowing them access to content in a language they prefer.
Some of the many benefits of a multilingual website are:
Increased Audience Outreach
When you offer your audience content in the language they know, you make it possible to reach and engage with a wider audience across geo-locations. It helps you to increase brand awareness, customer acquisition, and business growth.
Enhanced User Experience
Users like to read content in their preferred language. It enhances their user experience. Multilingual websites make it easier to navigate, understand, and interact with the website. It indicates that the brand is eager to personalize and localized user experience on the website.
A multilingual website shows that brands care for their customer’s language preferences. It has a great impact on the brand’s overall credibility and trust.
Offers a Competitive Edge
A website that offers content in multiple languages to its target audience always has an edge over a website that doesn’t offer multilingual content. With a multilingual website in place, brands can differentiate themselves from others in the industry.
Key Elements of a Multilingual Website
A multilingual website is crucial for brands looking for expanding their operations in other countries. It’s the only way to effectively communicate their message, products, and services to a global audience. However, it’s a complex task to optimize such websites for greater search visibility.
It requires a well-thought SEO strategy designed specifically for multilingual websites. It will help to drive organic traffic, increase rankings, and improve user experience. We have covered here a comprehensive process to optimize a multilingual website for search and user experience.
1. Keyword Research
The process begins with Keyword research. The step includes the discovery of the most relevant and high-converting keywords for each language that you can use in your content to capture your target market. To conduct keyword research effectively, you can use good keyword research tools that enable you to collect and analyze insights as well as optimize your website's content for multilingual audiences.
2. URL Structure and Site Architecture
Having proper website navigation and URL structure is important for multilingual websites. It helps search engine bots to better understand the languages your website is targeting and index the page content(s) accordingly.
A multilingual website might have three different URL structures:
This is the most common URL structure that multilingual websites often use. In such URLs, each language acts as a subdirectory of the main domain.
A website with English and Spanish content will have the following URLs:
It’s similar to a subdirectory structure. The only difference is that it has its own subdomain. Let’s understand with a similar example:
A website with English and Spanish content would have the following URLs:
3. Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs)
In this URL structure, brands use a different ccTLD for each language. For example, a website with English and Spanish content will have the following URLs:
Which URL structure you choose depends upon your specific needs. From the SEO point of view, a subdirectory structure is a good fit. Subdomain structure is easily manageable. You can choose ccTLD structure if you’re concerned about manageability and SEO both. The site architecture of a multilingual website is also an important aspect to consider. It helps to organize the website content effectively.
3. Content Localization
Content localization is a process where marketers translate the website content to the linguistic and cultural preferences of the audience in the target market. Content localization is a crucial aspect of a multilingual website, thus, it’s important to hire an apt translation agency who is fluent in both the source and target languages.
It will ensure accurate, error-free, and precise translation. Don’t use automated translation tools and widgets as they might occasionally produce inaccurate or poorly structured content.
4. Hreflang Tags Implementation:
Hreflang tags are unique HTML tags that tell search engine bots about the language and geographical targeting of your website. Strategically applying hreflang tags can help you avoid duplicate content issues and improve your website’s visibility in search results. of your multilingual website in search results.
While creating a multilingual website, make sure that each page should include the appropriate hreflang tags.
5. International Link Building
Like a standard website, link building helps a lot in multilingual website SEO. A link-building strategy that is done with proper planning can considerably improve the visibility of multilingual websites.
Create a comprehensive link-building plan to obtain high-quality authentic backlinks from relevant websites in different countries and languages. Connect with influencers, bloggers, and local businesses to acquire more high-quality backlinks to increase your website's authority and rankings.
6. Local Citations and Directories
If you’re running a business that is targeting specific geographical regions, you can rely on local citations and directories. Discover local directories that are relevant to your business. Register your website in those local directories and listings. It will enhance your visibility for local searches.
While registering for the local listing, make sure that your business information, such as name, address, and phone number (NAP), is consistent across all directories.
7. User Experience (UX) Optimization:
For multilingual websites, user experience matters the most. It not only makes your users happy but also helps in improving your website's SEO. Optimize your website’s UX regardless of its language or target market.
While optimizing the user experience of your multilingual website, consider the following:
Language selector: Use a user-friendly language selector to enable visitors to switch between preferred languages. Put it in a place that is visible and easily accessible.
1. Navigation and site structure:
Regardless of the language your website is in, make sure that the website's navigation and site structure is consistent and user-friendly. Complex menus or convoluted pathways are not recommended at all.
2. Localized content and imagery
Use images, videos, and other interactive visual elements that align with the cultural preferences of each target market. It will help you create a more personalized experience for users.
3. Page load speed
Make sure that your website loads fast. Optimize its performance to resolve all speed-related issues to enhance user experience across the target regions. Slow-loading websites kill the user experience and negatively SEO rankings and search visibility.
8. Multilingual SEO Audit and Monitoring
Unless you audit or monitor your multilingual website for different KPIs at frequent intervals, you won’t get the results expected. After launching the website, analyze its key metrics and other KPIs such as organic traffic, rankings, bounce rate, and conversion rates for each language or target market.
Find the bottlenecks and identify areas for improvement and optimize your SEO strategy accordingly. Use web analytics tools like SEMRush or Google Analytics to obtain insights into user behavior and make data-driven decisions to adapt your strategy.
Only with a strategically built SEO plan you can ensure the success of a multilingual website. This is the only way to maximize visibility, drive organic traffic, and increase conversions in international markets. Stay tuned with the latest SEO trends and algorithms to update your website whenever it’s needed.
Tarun Gupta, CEO of Brainpulse Technologies, is a prolific author and digital marketing specialist. His insightful writings span SEO, content marketing, social media strategy, and email campaigns, offering invaluable expertise to businesses worldwide. Tarun’s contributions continue to shape the digital marketing landscape, guiding success in multiple niches.