The worldwide web has transformed the world into a smaller place. Now, everyone can reach anyone in the other side of the world just by one click. The internet is what the term globalization is all about. To communicate with others, we need to speak in the same language. English is often cited as the language of the internet. Is it true? When 75% of the world population do not speak English, is it still accurate to think English is the main language people use in the internet?
If you yearn for expanding your business and get more international clients and consumers, you should use a multilingual approach. But equally important is optimizing your site so that it is search engine friendly. Below is a list of things to consider if you have translated or want to translate your site.
Country specific domains
Country specific domains, e.g. www.mywebsite.co.uk and www.mywebsite.fr help improve your local search rankings. Downsides are that they are expensive and difficult and time consuming to maintain. Go for specific domains if resources allow.
Subdomains & subfolders
If you prefer working on one domain, you can place multilingual content within one website. For example www.mywebsite.com/fr for French content and www.mywebsite.com/en for English content, etc. Benefits are it is much easier and less expensive to maintain than country specific domains and can create an impression that your products or services are far reaching and therefore successful.
Do not directly translate keywords. Users in different locations may type different things when searching for the same products/services. Key tip: carry out local keyword research
One page, one language
Do not put two different languages side by side on the same page. This confuses the search engine spiders which do not go down well. It may also confuse your readers.
Automated machine translations
Automated machine translations offer a cheap way of creating multilingual websites. However, beware: due to its low quality, Google can view machine translated content as spam and may penalize the website in its rankings. If you do use automated translations, ensure the relevant pages are not indexed by search engines.
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