In today’s globalized world, businesses are expanding their footprint and targeting diverse audiences speaking different languages across different regions. To succeed and capture a broader audience, you want to get your website’s tags, URLs, and other parameters right and optimize it to perform well in varying environments.
72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language – Harvard
Managing SEO for a multi-dynamic and layered website can be daunting. But with the right tools and tactics, it can be done effectively. Whether you’re starting out or looking to improve your existing strategy, this guide will cover multiple aspects and empower you with meaningful insights to succeed in a global marketplace.
What is Multiregional SEO?
Multiregional SEO involves optimizing a website through a series of advanced SEO techniques to help it rank well in multiple geographic regions or markets. The SEO strategy serves businesses that operate and target customers worldwide. Multiregional SEO positions your website to perform well in territories otherwise alien to you.
Your business will make it easier for your international customers to access your products and services, thus penetrating and gaining a stronger foothold in foreign territories.
What is Multilingual SEO?
A multilingual SEO campaign uses several tactics to optimize a website to rank higher in multiple languages on SERP. It involves localizing the website’s content, overall tone, and other parameters to reflect the nuances of the language and search behavior of the target audience. The goal is to make the site more relevant, appealing, and accessible to those language speakers.
Multilingual SEO initiative requires a deep understanding of the target language’s culture. However, if done well, it can be highly effective in driving traffic, visibility, and conversions from diverse linguistic backgrounds and become an indispensable tactic for businesses seeking to expand their global reach.
What is the Importance of Multilingual SEO?
- Is multi-language good for SEO: You bet it is! Multilingual websites give you the lead over your competitors in the dynamic and competitive landscape. You can enhance brand awareness through increased visibility, improve website traffic, improve engagement, customer satisfaction, & lifetime loyalty, reduce churn, and generate more leads, conversions, and revenue.
68% of consumers would switch to a different brand that offers support in their native language – Business Wire
- Should your website be multilingual: To achieve long-term growth, elevate your brand’s worth, and spread your brand’s presence across an extensive demographic to become a global brand, you need to adopt a multilingual strategy. If you cater to a diverse audience who speak different languages, then it makes sense to have a multilingual website.
90% of new internet users prefer to access content in a language familiar to them – Google
If you have operations in different countries, wish to develop a stronger foothold, witness traffic/activity from other regions, or have competitors going all out on multilingual content, consider going down this road.
What is the Difference Between Multilingual SEO and Multiregional SEO?
Multiregional SEO is focused on optimizing the website for different regions or countries. Whereas multilingual SEO focuses on optimizing the site for multiple languages. In multilingual, the distribution curve of language-specific consumers can be across the world, within the country, or within the state.
However, multi-region will always involve a wider spread covering multiple regions. In some instances, multiregional may not mean a considerable linguistic difference, baring throwing in a couple of cultural references, local jargon, street slang, and other prevailing local lexicon – unless the concerned region has an entirely different dominant language.
In that case, your approach will be similar to adopting a multilingual strategy, requiring a bigger overhaul of write-ups, an in-depth study of the demographic, and hyper-personalized messaging that captures the essence of the language beautifully.
How to Correctly Set up Your SEO for Different Languages and Countries?
1. URL: Customize the URL to segment the site for different locations and languages such as country code top-level domains (ccTLD) such as .ca or .uk, compared to generic URLs (gTLD) like .com, .org, .edu, .gov, etc. Also, fix the subdirectories to the appropriate language, such as /es or /de. A US URL in German would be abc.com/de, or the same in Portuguese would be abc.com/br.
2. Detailed Sitemap: Create a sitemap that contains the various language properties (different language versions) and submit them to the Google Search Console (GSC), making it easier for the search engines to display them to the right geo-specific users.
3. Hreflang tag: Hreflang tags act as a signal to indicate the version of the web page for a particular language and region, besides helping you solve duplicate content issues. It marks the page as canonical and avoids a penalty from Google. You can also place them in HTTP headers.
4. HTML Content: When presenting the website to a foreign audience, adjust the meta tags, title, navigation, error messages, and headings. Use localized meta tags to describe your webpage content. Also, populate local and language-specific keywords relevant to your local audience across your website content.
5. Translate or Commit: Either translate the default content into multiple languages or directly deliver the content in the intended language. The former risks the meaning getting “lost in translation.” The latter requires a more dedicated and strategic content approach, but it hits the right chord.
Tactics to Improve Multilingual and Multiregional SEO
- Get local backlinks to improve your website’s authority and ranking in regional results
- Understand the laws and regulations of the concerned region (cookie policies)
- Host the website on local servers/CDN to improve page load performance
- For transactional websites, adjust the pricing on the page to the national currency
- Optimize the website multimedia with alt tags and captions in the local language
- Implement structured data markup to help search bots understand your website content
- Use a geolocation tool to redirect traffic to the appropriate language version of your site
- Provide language options or a pop-up when presenting the site in the default setting
Tools to Improve Multilingual and Multiregional SEO
- Keywords Explorer to find the global keyword difficulty and search volume
- Organic Keywords report to get an in-depth idea of local keywords
- Use Rank Tracker to view the SEO progress across different countries
- Ahrefs Site Explorer gives insight into the organic traffic and backlink profile of the URL
- The Site Audit tool lays out the URL’s SEO issues – technical and on-page
- Keyword Explorer gives region-specific keyword suggestions, volume, difficulty, etc.
- Site crawl helps resolve issues that diminish your site’s health, like redirects, tags, etc.,
- Link Research lets you build a quality local backlink profile for your global site
- Moz Local maximizes local visibility and increases your presence in the region
- Competitive Analysis tool gives valuable data into what regional competitors are up to.
Google Keyword Planner: Google Keyword Planner, a free tool, helps locate the right keywords for your website. It provides search volume, competition level, and metrics for a given keyword. You can search for relevant keywords, historical stats, and other KPIs across territories. Discover new keywords, organize keywords, view monthly searches, and more to make informed decisions about which regional keywords to optimize your website content.
- Real-time and proactive insights about activity across multiple domains/URLs
- Engagement Events, conversion, and Pages & Screen reports show visitor behavior
- Funnel Exploration to view user path & experience across your site
- Integrate with Google Search Console to see which search queries drive more traffic
- Language targeting lets you analyze language-specific user-group activity
- Use Geo-targeting actionable insights to form high-impact strategies for foreign user groups
68% of festive shoppers prefer to see advertising in the local language and 50% said it’s important to have information available in a local language while shopping – Business Insider
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Common International SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- Failure to build links. Invest in getting quality high DA links from reliable local sites
- Getting the translation wrong. Invest in local content writers that can capture the intent
- Missing out on local keywords. Incorporate high-volume relevant search queries
- Not tracking your local SEO progress. Monitor and refine your SEO strategy periodically
- Ignoring local search directories. Create a profile/ listing on popular 3rd-Party platforms
- Getting the URLs wrong. Use different URLs for each of your global web versions
- Automatic redirection. Give users the option to select their relevant country
- Using a generic Site. Create a region-specific website even when using the same language
- Single ccTLD for many regions. Either use multiple ccTLD or reserve a gTLD with sub-domains
- Wrong Hreflang execution. Specify the country with language value, plus include return tags
Multilingual and Multiregional SEO is the best process to spread your wings globally. It spreads your business to unknown territories, enhances your branding, and gets you a broader audience. But getting it right is not easy. The more regions and languages you deal with, the more complicated this SEO process gets. It’s best to take the help of a seasoned SEO agency. Digital Success can come up with unique tailor-made localized SEO strategies to build more value for your business globally.