How does the process of positioning multilingual websites work?
The article regarding positioning of websites and business benefits resulting from the process has already appeared on this blog relatively recently. However, the article does not address a very important topic, which is the process of positioning multilingual websites. More and more multilingual websites are appearing on the web, and this custom is becoming ever more popular, even if companies don’t have any dealings outside of the UK. This is probably due to several factors:
- Firstly, UK is a multicultural society, therefore applying the language to non-native speakers is a plus. Those that can’t or can barely communicate in English gain extra trust and satisfaction with a company that offers them services in their own language.
- Secondly, expansion and globalisation of businesses across the world is becoming a norm, especially for firms operating within the borders of EU.
- Thirdly, it’s vital to remember that same as it is in our physical world, on the web English is also considered as a lingua franca, so foreign websites e.g. of German or French businesses often desire to share their content with bigger audiences by adapting their content to English. It’s also the same issue as mentioned above, countries like France, Germany, Spain are also multicultural, so they try to appeal to most sectors of their audiences by transforming their content into English.
Positioning multilingual websites – the preparation
Before we go on to describe the positioning process itself, let’s first focus on the preparation process. In order to position a website correctly, a good optimisation is required. This is the most crucial stage. But we won’t be writing here about such obviosities – those have already been well described in previous articles. It is, however, worthwhile to answer the questions: which foreign clients is our offer targeting? To which countries? It is also worth considering whether each version of the website will be positioned, or perhaps just a single one. Furthermore, it’s worth to ask ourselves whether our company should be promoted as a native English business, or whether it should be advertised as a branch of a larger, international company?
If you have an answer for all these questions, then it’s time to get on! Unfortunately, each business, and each website has different needs and requirements, therefore we cannot make a universal list of recommendations because it does not exist. We can, however, give you a few advice points that apply to all websites. So read on to find out more clues!
Positioning multilingual websites – the most important elements of the procedure
Without a doubt, any professional SEO agency will tell you that the most important element of the entire process is choosing the URL structure, you can find such agency here. Making a choice on this matter will depend on how many language versions we’ll end up positioning. Bear in mind that you can always apply for international domains with accordance to each language version of the website. You may also create subdomains or catalogues. Online website positioning of a couple language versions is possible using separate national domains. What’s more, the greater number of positioned language versions, the more we are enforced the use of URLs with subdirectories.
It’s not only the content posted on the main webpages that needs to be considered when it comes to translation. All subpages, footers, menus, forms and all other external links also have to be amended. In other words, the positioned version of the website must contain full and accurate translations, mainly because search engine bots determine the language based on the content of the page, not its source code. But beyond the content, as mentioned above, it’s vital that each website language version has its own URL, so the search engines can easily find it. It is also important to remember to include links to all language versions.
The process of positioning multilingual websites – the most common mistakes
The most frequent errors during positioning multilingual websites process are: aforementioned lack of or incomplete translations (e.g. only translating text from the main page). Automatic translation offered by Google may also be a mistake because they can be treated like spam. Automatic redirections based on the alleged language of the user likewise are a bad idea. This solution prevents users and search engine robots from reviewing the remaining language versions. It’s also unwise to enter parameters in the URL that might make it difficult for a search engine to determine the language of the website. The same goes for using two different URLs for a page created in one language version, reproducing content is unrecommended – it’s frowned upon by Google.
If there is anything you’re unsure about, or if there are any further points of interest that you wish to inquire, then you can always contact a digital marketing company which will be able to make concrete suggestions!