To get your website to the top of global search engine result pages, SEO strategies are vital. You are likely deploying SEO techniques for your native language website however, adapting your strategy to include global SEO will help your global audiences find your website when they are searching in their local languages.
In this blog, I will cover some tips to make sure your multilingual website is localized and optimized for your global audiences.
Choose Your Target Audiences
Narrow your scope to target the audiences who represent your best opportunities. The world is a very big place and rather than casting a giant net, spend some time finding the locations that you deem best for your products or services.
There are a couple of ways you can identify the audiences who have a growing interest in what you offer. One way is to use your analytic tools to find the geographic locations where your website gets the most traffic from. You can also narrow down which pieces of your content or website pages perform the best in those markets. If you are entering a market where your brand is not well known, you can research how competing brands perform in that area to benchmark how you may perform there.
Once you determine the locations and languages you will target, you will know which search engine to optimize for. Google has the largest market share globally, but other search engines have a higher market share for local searches, like Baidu (China) or Naver (South Korea).
Localize Your Keyword List
Conducting keyword research to understand which words and phrases are part of the local dialect, slang and day-to-day vernacular is essential. As an example, people in the United States and the United Kingdom both speak English, but differ in the way they call certain items. in which words they use for items. Americans go on vacation, while Brits go on holiday. If you are a US-based travel company trying to attract customers from the UK, it would be important to know this difference when developing your keyword list. The spelling of the same word can also vary, localize vs. localise, for instance.
These localized keyword lists will help you create optimized content, descriptions, titles, image alt tags, URLs, etc.
Determine your URL Structure
Determining which domain structure to use for your multilingual site can be confusing. Do you create a subdomain, subdirectory or country code top-level domain (ccTLD)?
ccTLDs are two letter ISO country codes that show search engines in what country or territory a website is registered. This is a good strategy if you are targeting by location, rather than by language. Some ccTLDs require you to be a citizen to register that domain. An example of this is: www.globalizationpartners.ae.
Subdirectories are directories stored inside another directory. You can create multiple pages for each of your targeted languages and they don’t require separate hosting. An example of this is: http://resources.globalizationpartners.com/blog.
Lastly, subdomains are separate sites associated with your primary URL. These can either be specific to your targeted language or country. They can be hosted separately, but exist within a generic top-level domain. An example of this is: http://resources.globalizationpartners.com.
If you are launching a website localization project, global SEO should be a part of the discussion from the very beginning. Your goal should be to create a website that allows your global audiences to find your products or services when searching in their locale and language. The above tips are just a few things to consider in order to create a fully optimized multilingual website.