Going International – SEO tips for targeting multiple languages

Going International – SEO tips for targeting multiple languages

Jem Henderson

When a website is intended for different countries and languages, a different style of SEO is necessary. International SEO sets your website up to enable search engines determine which countries you wish to reach, and what languages are used. Here are three tips to bear in mind:

Make the Language of the Page Obvious

Google uses the visible content of your page to determine its language. Help Google work out the correct language by avoiding side-by-side translations; use a single language for content and navigation.

Use robots.txt to block search engines from automatically translated pages; automated translations often don’t make sense and can be regarded as spam. A poor translation or one that sounds artificial can harm the perception of your site

Make Different Language Versions Easily Accessible

The content for different language versions should be kept on separate URLs.

Cross-link each language version, and then users who land on the incorrect language version can find the right one with a single click.

Don’t use cookies to show translated versions of the page. Automatic redirection based on the user’s perceived language will often prevent users – and search engines – from viewing all the versions of your site.

Target Content to a Specific Country.

When Google is aware of the country you are targeting it will use that accordingly.

Country-code top-level domain names (.nl for the Netherlands, .cn for China and so on) are a strong signal to users and search engines your site is intended for a specific country.

In the search console you can use the country targeting tool to indicate your site is for a specific country. Don’t use it if your site is intended for more than one country!

The server location can sometimes be an indication of your target audience. Also information such as addresses and phone numbers, currency usage and links (to and from other local sites) will be used as indicators.

International SEO is vital to the success of your website when targeting multiple languages, so remember the above points to help you go global.