Every whip-smart business owner today relies on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to make their website searchable and navigable.
So, knowing how to appear in SERPs and attract traffic to a website is not new to brands – every marketing manager, business owner, and website designer has heard of SEO.
Companies online can leverage SEO practices to reach their potential customers. But is it enough to drive international sales? We’re afraid not.
Here’s where multilingual SEO comes into play. Be aware! It is more than integrating multilingual translation into your website.
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Are You Doing SEO the Right Way?
Say you want to launch a product to target an international audience. You’ll invest in a reliable translation service for your website to translate production descriptions, blogs, about us pages, and more.
Because 72.1% of consumers prefer spending time on websites in their native language, and 30% do not purchase from English-language websites, you’ll think you did something sensible – which you technically did.
But what will you do when running your English marketing campaign and planning to promote the product in your target market?
Unfortunately, a typical website translation that translates the original text’s meaning into the target text won’t contribute to your ROI.
Why? Because you need to invest in multilingual SEO.
Everything About Multilingual SEO
Translating a website blog without multilingual SEO is like buying a pizza without toppings – you’ll only waste your money!
Yes, the organic traffic on your website is something to take pride in, but if you invested considerable time to find the right keywords, a bog standard translation wouldn’t help.
It’s because it only considers the linguistic elements of content and neglects everything else.
Conversely, a multilingual SEO strategy means searching the keywords your overseas audience is looking for and integrating them into the translation process.
Multilingual SEO explicitly targets your potential customers and expands your global reach.
Why Multilingual SEO?
Let’s explain multilingual SEO with an example. Say you opened a restaurant in Italy that English-speaking tourists will primarily visit. However, after some time, you planned to target the locals – Italians.
Typically, “restaurant” is translated as “ristorante” in Italian. However, locals may look for other, more informal alternatives like “osteria” or “trattoria.”
Unfortunately, these linguistic distinctions of locals are grouped into a single word called “restaurant” in English.
So people from different countries would search for words differently. Even if two countries share a language, they will look for products differently.
British would, for instance, use the word “crisp,” whereas Americans would write “chips” when searching for the same thing. So, there’s no point in selling crisps to a chips-filled market or vice-versa.
This means you must localise the keywords for the target language and region.
Multilingual SEO Benefits
Multilingual SEO helps localise your website and make content available for a wider audience. Here’s how it may benefit your business.
Build Global Presence
Implementing multilingual SEO practices helps optimise your website for a global audience. The more international audience crowd to your website, the better its reach. Naturally, a website with a worldwide presence will gain recognition and generate higher revenue.
Work With Translation Agencies
Free translation tools can be tempting, especially if you’re on a very tight budget. However, these AI-based machine translations (despite getting better and more accurate) still overlook important cultural and grammatical distinctions between languages and target markets. As a result, these tools can compromise your quality and reduce your online visibility.
Choosing an expert and established translation agency that can provide services in multiple languages is crucial to operating successfully globally, whatever documents you need to translate. Fortunately, there are several reliable and professional translation agencies such as Gengo, TS24 or LionBridge. They have been in the business for over 10 years and have extensive teams of skilled translators who understand another language’s culture, grammar, and linguistics in-depth.
Boost Customer Satisfaction
English is undoubtedly the primary and secondary language of most online audiences. However, internet users often prefer accessing online content in their native language.
Here’s when the need for multilingual SEO kicks in. It helps you optimise your website for a foreign audience.
By boosting customer satisfaction, you gain a loyal clientele and enjoy a good reputation in the industry.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Since everybody is using SEO – even your competitors – it’s time to take this marketing strategy further. Multilingual SEO helps target customers across different parts of the world.
So, your competitors might rank for keywords in English; you can rank for those in Chinese, Spanish, and French through multilingual SEO and grow your customer base.
Experience Long-Term Growth
Multilingual SEO helps deliver your message and market services and products to an international audience. This way, your online website or products only experience a higher reach once but forever.
Content marketing is an excellent strategy to boost engagement and SEO. However, more than translating content is required. You must optimise your content by considering the cultural and linguistic nuances of the target audience.
Your region-specific and language-specific content would likely perform better than typical translations. Ultimately, your products and services would draw more customers and experience higher sales.
Multilingual SEO Challenges
Multilingual SEO is beneficial, but as with other marketing strategies, it follows up with a few challenges. However, knowing how to manage the common pitfalls helps minimise errors and streamline processes.
Create Quality Content
Google doesn’t crawl the content generated with a Large Language Model (LLM). It considers such content “thin.” In other words, a machine-translated site or content doesn’t add value to users. So, you’ll struggle to boost your website’s ranking.
Make sure the content is human generated. Otherwise, search engines would ignore your blog posts and other content posted on your website.
Avoid Redirecting Users to Another Website Version Automatically
Say an Italian tourist visits Japan. If your website automatically redirects them to the Japanese version, they’ll get confused.
Therefore, avoid redirecting users directly to another version. Instead, integrate a clear language toggle to let them choose a language per their preferences.
You may think using the right keywords, best SEO practices, and translating your website would help you expand globally, but that’s not the case.
You need to level up your marketing practices to reach a global audience. Besides multilingual translation, investing time and resources in multilingual SEO would help outpace competitors and grow customer satisfaction by targeting an audience globally.