Multilingual Website SEO: The Cardinal Sins
So, you would like to go global with your company or products? Having an online presence is something that should be compulsory in such situations, but things are not as simple as building a website with English as the primary language, and then going ahead with a literal translation for other languages that reflect your brand or product presence in different markets. If you would like to engage in a global market, it is best to look out for a multilingual SEO expert in Phoenix like Bilingua Franca.
Take the US for instance – it is a large country with more than 320 million people living within its borders. While English is the official language, there are more Spanish-speaking people in the US than in Spain alone. The Instituto Cervantes research center published a report that points out an estimated 52.6 million people in the US who are able to converse in Spanish, making up close to 17 percent of the entire US population.
It would then be suicidal for any US-based company worth its salt to set up a website that does not offer a Spanish language option.
Unfortunately, some companies might take a cheap shortcut and rely on machine translations to get the job done for the Spanish language version of the same website, resulting in gibberish that would reflect poorly on the company’s professionalism. In fact, it might be seen as downright insulting to the Spanish speaking segment of the target market. This is when SEO for multilingual websites comes in handy so that you will be able to avoid any potentially embarrassing pitfalls when launching a brand new website in different languages.
The Cardinal Sins in Multilingual Website SEO
While knowing what to do and how to do it is important in any task in life, it is equally important to learn from the mistakes of others. Here are some pointers that will help you avoid committing the cardinal sins where multilingual SEO is concerned:
Making use of wrong keywords
A user in your domestic market might search for a certain product using a specific keyword, but it might not be a literal translation of the keyword(s) or phrases that buyers from other countries might use. Never, ever proceed with a literal translation of the keywords used. It is imperative to research new target markets where keywords are concerned, in addition to the number of search volumes and just how competitive a particular keyword is.
Lacking cultural sensitivity while bypassing local language quirks
Google Translate is a boon as much as it is a curse for humanity today. Many people use translation tools in order to perform on-the-spot translation of keywords and content, but these would fail you when it comes to multilingual SEO. This is because localized content, more often than not, fails to measure up according to the language nuances of the locals. There are also instances of non-native speaking human translators who fail to make the grade, but the chances of them delivering the right keywords would be higher than pure machine translation alone.
Also keep a keen eye out on the subtle differences in various territories that speak a similar language, such as the differences in German when it is spoken in Germany itself, alongside Austrian German. Always make sure that a native speaker will draft the content so that the right spirit of colloquialisms and nuances are in place.
Not figuring out local market trends
It pays to do your homework at all times. For instance, blogs are an essential part of South Korean companies if it were to be considered to have a strong online presence and this might not necessarily be true in other countries. Hence, it is always important to study the off-page link building activities in order to obtain an idea of how users in the target country utilize the web and social media.
Not using other search engines apart from Google
Google might be the first name that rolls off the tongue of many when it comes to search engines, but it also pays to ensure that you keep your options open by looking into other search engines that might be more dominant than Google in that particular country. For instance, China relies more on Baidu than any other search engine, while South Koreans simply love Naver or Daum, with folks over in Russia preferring Yandex. By being familiar with all of these major search engines, you will be able to plan your multilingual website SEO better.
Let us help you navigate through challenging waters
At Bilingua Franca, we are an experienced multilingual website SEO expert who would be more than happy to see how your website is optimized to meet the challenges of catering to a diverse group of users who use different languages. Drop us an email today to find out more.