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Best Practice To Run Multilingual Websites & Multiregional SEO Tips

Multilingual SEO is in demand and people do not want to limit their business in boundaries. So here is a complete tutorial with FAQs for all such businessmen and avid readers to know more about multilingual SEO.

What is a multilingual website?

Any website that provides content in two or more languages is a multilingual website. For better understanding, this can be well explained by exemplification. The French business having a French version in addition to the English version of the website is a multilingual website. Also if you have the blog in Chinese that also has a Spanish version is the multilingual website. Multilingual SEO is popularly known as International Search Engine Optimisation. It is considered as the lifeline of the search marketing campaign that is run globally.

The process of SEO revolves around the “organic” or “natural” searches. It helps in the improvement of the ranking of any website in SERPS i.e. Search Engine Results Pages. These processes are being used for causing the search engines to crawl and for website understanding.

Benefits of running a multilingual website?

With Multilingual or International SEO, the websites become highly visible in the results of the search engines used all across the world. This also ensures that the website is highly relevant and just appropriate if we are putting our efforts to target the specific markets.

What is a multi-regional website?

Any website that is explicitly targeting users in a number of countries is known as the multi-regional website. There are some sites that are not only multilingual, but they are multi-regional as well. For better understanding, there might be a website that has its number of versions both for the UK and France. There is also the possibility of getting versions in English and French for the UK content.

What is the Best URL structure for Multinational/Multilingual websites?

This question can be best answered in three ways to match various business level needs. If it is done accurately then there is chance that you get better visibility in different countries so carefully consider your choice of URL–

  • Country-specific TLDs:

These URLs give clear geo-targeting approach as it is very easy to assume that these country specific URLs are created to target in the particular country i.e.  .in, .uk, .cn etc. However, it can be more expensive and require more infrastructure to manage workflow of these websites.

  • Subdomains with gTLDS:

These URLs are easy to setup and can allow different server locations and also they are less expensive in comparison to country-specific URLs. The URL structure of subdomain can be like uk.example.com.

  • Subdirectories with gTLDs:

Another recommended option is to create sub directory. It is another easy way to setup and geo-targeting can be managed from search console easily. URL structure can become – example.com/uk

Applying Seamless SEO to Multilingual Sites?

Here are a few facts to brush up your information for helping you get a good grip on Multilingual sites SEO –

The search engine Google will need to understand your site’s structure and what it is all about.
The search engine might also need to know what the page is in regards with or in the other words, what is its purpose.
Every page of your website has a language. Google needs to understand the language of every single page of your website.
The search engine wants to know the translation of every single page of your website.

Content Duplicity and international sites

There are websites that offer content in a number of languages and for a number of regions. They produce content which is almost similar, but on the different URL. The content duplicity of this kind does not generally pose an issue, but that is true for as long as it is for different users living in different countries. It might not always be possible that the website owner provides what is generally recommended – UNIQUE CONTENT. So if you are failing to provide the unique content, then it is better not to disallow the crawling of the robot.txt file and hiding the duplicates. In fact, you can also select a version of your own choice and redirect it. Ensure the correct regional URL or language is presented to the users.

Two possible solutions to this problem are bulleted as follows –

But before going at two option we want you should watch this awsome video by Maile Ohye

  • Use of hreflang for regional URLs and language –

When you are serving the same page in the different language from different URLs then it is recommended to use HTML link element rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” attribute tags to serve correct language in the search result. In case you manage the page written in English at example.com with a Hindi alternative at example.com/in, you will have to use the following code to indicate the alternate version of the page in the different language –

<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-ie" hreflang="en-ie" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-ca" hreflang="en-ca" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-au" hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en" hreflang="en" />

  • Use of sitemap in order to indicate the pages of alternate language –

Creating custom Sitemap can be an alternate option in order to indicate the pages of alternate language. If your site target users in many languages and, optionally, countries, you can use Sitemaps to provide Google with rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”. These attributes help Google serve the correct language or regional URL to searchers.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
  xmlns:xhtml="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
  <url>
    <loc>http://www.example.com/english/</loc>
    <xhtml:link 
                 rel="alternate"
                 hreflang="de"
                 href="http://www.example.com/deutsch/"
                 />
    <xhtml:link 
                 rel="alternate"
                 hreflang="de-ch"
                 href="http://www.example.com/schweiz-deutsch/"
                 />
    <xhtml:link 
                 rel="alternate"
                 hreflang="en"
                 href="http://www.example.com/english/"
                 />
  </url>
  

Do NOT use machine translation to translate your content

Most of us know and understand the potential of free machine translation as it shows the translated texts and helps us understand what’s written in the other language. But in spite of its flawless translation services, it is advised that you do not use this Google translator to translate the content of your website.

The reason for not doing so is explained as follows –And when you employ the machine translation, then you would COLLAPSE this entire system. But Google does not allow you to use the machine translation. And when you try to do so, then the machine translated pages are dropped out from the index and if all the pages are machine translated then the search engine drops the entire site out. And after you have been dropped, you can try your luck and hard work to get into index again.

One SOLUTION to this problem is that you can employ Google translation widget and show that it is not your translation. This is something which Google holds as legitimate and thus it encourages users to do so. If you are lacking enough resources to build your multilingual website, then you can also go for machine translations that are free of cost and they are done by Google. All you have to do is not storing the translated content in your database and post it as your own.

What are the features of seamless multilingual SEO or Multiregional SEO?

  • Website needs to produce a focused quality content
  • The website should be able to explain the search engine that why the pages are made. This can be explained well by making good titles, headings and meta descriptions.
  • Pages should be translated accurately by employing the real translators.
  • Never forget the attributes of SEO

Any website, in an initiative to target other countries, requires strategizing a seamless approach that involves the “out-of-the-box” thinking. If you are planning to make yourself seen on the global level, the best you can do is make your website in accordance with International SEO.