Generally, Search engine optimization means optimizing a specific content so that search engines such as google will rank it higher on the search engine results page.
International SEO is the same thing but with a few additional considerations. This includes keyword localization, local content creation and the search engine preferences. It can expand your business web presence by translating the contents into different languages and optimizing it in order to drive traffic.
However, optimizing a particular site into an unknown language can be a bit difficult. But, there are certain steps that could benefit your international SEO easily.
Learn about your current international audience
The first process is to find out who and where the current international traffic is arriving from.
How will you find it?
Well, you can make use of google analytics where you will find an option called “location report” under Geo tab and sort it accordingly and you will get to know the countries from where the traffic is hitting from.
Once you find a specific international audience, start with that country itself as it will be easier for ranking well in places where you already have some grip.
Multilingual vs multi-regional targeting
Multilingual SEO is the translation of your website into different languages and getting your website ranked in different language versions of google.
So, Google has different versions for each specific language and country and there are lots of benefits laying down there.
Whereas, multi-regional is basically looking at different countries. That is, there are different country versions for google and if you get ranked in different countries, it could help you get more traffic, sales, discounts and lots of other offers from that particular area.
For instance, what if Microsoft had sold Windows only in America? Do you think it would have reached into a position as it is now if it was like that? Never!
If you translate a website into different languages, you are in fact enhancing the amount of your potential customers visiting your site.
For instance, assume that you would like to enhance the sales in Russia and for that if you create a Russian site and translate your original content which is in english to russian language, you will not only have two variations of the same page, but also it will pave a way for increasing the number of audience visiting your site as well as it could help you to rank higher.
It seems simple! But how will you translate your content into languages that you are not familiar with? Here are some tips!
#1 Hire a translator
A professional translator can be helpful in preventing miscommunications and provide instructions or feedbacks in their local language. Moreover, you will be able to have a profound and significant connection with your international clients where you can understand their objectives more clearly.
#2 Usage of technology
A simple, basic and one of the best online translation tools is the Google translate in which it supports over 100 languages and translates within seconds.
Other translating tools include Bing translator, Magic Search, Linguee, WordFast Pro and many more.
#3 Visual form of communication
Making use of pictures to bring out the exact instructions or messages can be very useful rather than text when you don’t know the language.
The chances of misunderstanding when you have a language barrier are more. Hence, you should make sure that the customer or even the team members are understanding what’s being said in order to make sure that the content or the functionality that you propose goes exactly with the objective of the client.
A proper domain structure is a chief constituent when it comes to international SEO and for that there are various types of options that you could make use of and they are as follows!
#1 ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domain)
A ccTLD is just a domain extension and has a country connotation or a regional connotation. Mind you, this is only specified for countries and not for language. These domains are the most powerful way to rank a page in a certain country as it sends strong signals to search engines conveying that it is meant for users in a specific country.
Examples: www.yoursite.fr : France www.yoursite.jp : Japan www.yoursite.de : Germany
Subdomains are useful if you’re targeting an audience with respect to both language as well as countries.
Example: En.wikipedia.org De.wikipedia.org Fr.wikepedia.org
The demerit of subdomain is that sometimes it does not inherit all the domain authority, trust or value that you might get from separate subdomains or from a single root domain.
If you would like to assign all the language versions to a generic domain with contents kept in a different folder for every language and country, you can choose subdirectories.
In here, /en-uk/ means that it is an english language site targeting the UK and it’s all done in subfolders.
Use hreflang tags
These attributes tell Google which language you are using on a specific page so that the search engine can show the results to users searching in that language.
Code sample: <link rel= “alternate” hreflang= “language-country” href=”URL” />
For example, assume that you would like to target spanish speaking people in America. For that you can make use of the below given code in the header of your respective page.
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es-us” href=”yoursite.com/us” />
But before you start adding any tags and links to your pages, you should decide which method you would like to use and stick to it later on.
- You can add some HTML code to your site’s page.
- You can specify hreflang tags with an XML sitemap.
- You can add the code to the site header
Localize your content
#1 Check out Search engines other than Google
You can’t ignore the fact that google is not only the player in the search engine game. For example, Baidu covers 70% of the market in China and Yandex covers 60% in Russia whereas Naver covers 80% in Korea.
While the basics might be simple, each has their own unique ranking algorithm and it’s a good idea to make sure that you are optimizing for the right one.
Now, if we take a look at Korea, apart from a few, others will definitely perform searches in their native language.
So, if you don’t localize your content, you will definitely lose a major part of the traffic coming from local search engines.
#2 Keyword Research
Before you start optimizing any pages on your site, you have got to begin with solid keyword research. You should find the keywords that are important to target and out of that list which ones have the most search volume.
It won’t do you much good to optimize a phrase that no one ever searches for as it won’t bring you any additional traffic.
For instance, British, Canadian and American English differ from each other and the way they search for contents might be different. So, you must search for keywords with respect to the language or the country that you are targeting.
And for that you could make use of keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner, adwords, Unamo, etc. Google Trends is a type of keyword tool where you can view the most used keywords by people in their native language when they search for a topic. Moreover, you can make use of this in your content for relevance.
Once you are finished with the research, make sure to add these translated keywords to a few important areas of your page such as URLs, meta descriptions, content and title tags.
Expansion of your site to the international audience will be a complete break through for your brand, traffic and sales. And one more thing i would like to add is the user experience. Having a multilingual website will provide better user experience which may lead to conversion rates, and attain customer’s trust. However, Multilingual SEO is a hard process and I hope this article helped you even in the slightest manner!