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Translating Your Website? It’s All About Multilingual SEO

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Almost three in four global consumers spend most or all their time on websites in their own language. Seventy-two percent are more likely to buy a product with information in their native speak. In addition, 60 percent rarely or never make purchases from English-only websites. The message is clear: translating your website is key to expanding your audience and winning more business. How? It’s all about multilingual SEO.

What is multilingual SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a big deal when it comes to improving your business’s online visibility. Put simply, SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so that it ranks highly in search engine results for the right search terms.

Think about it this way: How often do you look past page one or two of Google or your preferred search engine? Not very often, right? It’s safe to assume your target audience does the same.

Targeting the right search terms is critical to not just the quantity but quality of your web traffic – you want to attract searchers interested in or ready to buy the product or service you are offering.

That’s where multilingual SEO comes into the fold. Multilingual SEO incorporates localized keywords and search phrases into your website’s translated content. This practice ensures your site is found by users in their language.

multilingual SEO

Why is multilingual SEO important?

Almost 62 percent of websites offer content in English. It is by far the most common language used online. However, just under 5 percent of the world’s population are native English speakers. Mandarin Chinese is the most common native language, with more than twice as many native speakers as English. Yet only 1.6 percent of websites offer Chinese language content, even though China is home to over one billion internet users, representing more than one-fifth of internet users worldwide.

Website owners have seemingly focused all their efforts on the internet’s most popular language, but as the internet becomes more accessible, this could be to their detriment. Any business with global ambition has a unique opportunity to get one step ahead, and multilingual SEO is an integral component of any successful expansion strategy. Here’s why:

-Reach new audiences. The number one benefit of investing in SEO for multiple languages is the potential to reach new audiences. By including the terms local audiences might use to locate your product or services in your content, you ensure your website is found.

-Tap into low-competition markets. The numbers paint a compelling picture – most businesses aren’t catering to non-English speaking regions. This gives savvy business owners a unique opportunity to position themselves as industry frontrunners before competition enters the market. It’s up to you to jump on it.

-Build local trust. Trust is crucial if your brand is to win a loyal following overseas. But building that trust is difficult if your website is geared toward English speakers. A quick translation won’t cut it, as native speakers will fast pick up on mistakes and oversights. Worse yet, some content may be culturally offensive, which could destroy your business’s reputation right off the bat. Localized content that adheres to multilingual SEO best practices is key to proving to new audiences that your business cares about them. And that, in turn, fosters trust.

-Boost your conversions. Did you know that 40 percent of global consumers simply won’t purchase from a site in a language other than their own? Being found by new audiences is only the beginning. Localizing your content to meet language and cultural expectations can turn those visitors into customers.

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Four steps to success

Step 1: Identify and fix technical issues

Effective SEO is about so much more than keywords. It’s about user experience, and things like site speed and mobile friendliness can significantly impact your overall ranking performance. So, before you localize your content and implement multilingual SEO, identify and fix as many technical issues as possible. Otherwise, you may be sabotaging your efforts.

If you are comfortable navigating the back end of your website, you might like to use Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide.

Step 2: Get to know the local search engine

Google is the frontrunner when it comes to search engines – by a long shot. As of June 2022, Google had just under 92 percent of the search market worldwide. But that doesn’t mean catering to Google’s algorithms is the be-all and end-all of your SEO efforts. It all depends on the market you are targeting. For example, the leading search engines in China are Baidu and Shenma.

Step 3: Research your competition

Look at your competitors’ websites by searching primary keywords on the relevant search engine. What kind of content is performing well? What insights can you garner from the results ranking on page one? In what contexts are your competitors using your target keywords? How can you provide higher-quality, more comprehensive information to outrank them?

Another useful tactic is to look for gaps in the market. For example, let’s say you sell vegetable gardening resources and tools. A competitor has a blog covering vegetable garden basics, but they have no information about growing herbs. You could capitalize on this gap by producing your own series of articles about growing herbs, which can funnel visitors into your mailing list and, eventually, your customer list.

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Step 4: Work with multilingual SEO experts

Selecting the right keywords and using them appropriately across your website requires a nuanced understanding of a country’s or region’s language, cultural norms, and colloquialisms. Keyword use is a cornerstone of any successful SEO endeavor, so researching and engaging the right multilingual SEO team is critical.

With experts in your corner, you can identify the terms and phrases your target audience is searching for and incorporate them across your website to enhance, rather than hinder, the user experience. Remember, it’s about more than simple translation. Localization runs deeper, adapting the words and messaging to position your brand as an authority. The result: you get found online, earn trust, and increase your conversions.

Kick-start your global expansion

Contact us today if you are ready to expand your audience and reach global consumers. We have the expertise needed to transform your growth ambitions into a reality.

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