Nothing stays the same; everything must change. Nowhere is that truer than in the rapidly evolving world of SEO.
To borrow from screamingfrog.co.uk, search engine optimisation, commonly known as SEO, is:
‘The practice of increasing the number and quality of visitors to a website by improving rankings in the algorithmic search engine results.’
Research shows that websites on the first page of Google receive 95 percent of the clicks for the search term the user entered. The higher up the results your website appears, the more clicks and traffic you’ll receive.
The trouble with SEO is that it’s an extremely fast-changing discipline. Google can, and does, change what it thinks makes a ‘good’ website on a whim, and if you’re not meeting those new parameters, your once high-flying website could be banished to the bottom of the pile, leaving you with no traffic, no enquiries and no friends ☹.
So, to keep you up to date with Google’s latest whimsies, we’ve produced this guide to multilingual SEO in 2019.
1. In-depth keyword research is a must
No matter what language you’re operating in, in-depth keyword research is the foundation of every visible website. You need to know exactly what terms consumers in your target market use to search online for the products or services you offer. Simply translating the keyword research you have done for your original site will not do. Even countries that speak the same language can use different terms to describe the same things.
As a quick example, a website optimised for the term ‘flip flops’ might do brilliantly in the UK, but use the same term in Australia, where they’re called ‘thongs’, or New Zealand, where they’re known as ‘jandals’, and you’ll receive very little traffic at all.
2. Cater to the popular search engines in each market
Google might call the shots in most of the world, but there are a number of exceptions, perhaps most notably in China, where other search engines are on top. If you’re creating a website for the Chinese market, then you must take the time to understand the SEO requirements to rank well on Baidu. Similarly, in Russia, it’s Yandex’s boxes that you need to tick. Fail to customise your SEO accordingly and you’ll be left behind.
3. Mobile search and voice search are HOT in 2019
SEO experts expect voice search to be a big deal in 2019. To futureproof your site, you should consider optimising your site for voice search in the languages spoken by your target markets now.
There’s nothing new about mobile search, and if your website isn’t already optimised for users on mobile phones, you’re missing out on a huge proportion of the market. In the US, 41 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile phones. In Asia, that jumps to 65 percent. Talk to your website design team about responsive design, which will ensure that your website works just as well on small screens as it does on desktop computers and tablets.
4. Get it right technically
A big part of your multilingual SEO strategy should be to look at the technical elements of your site. It’s important that you signal to Google that you have multilingual versions of the same website. The best way to do that is to use different URLs for every version of the site. It’s also important that you use hreflang tags correctly to send people to content in their own language.
Get expert advice from our team
At Linguistica International, our translation, transcreation and copywriting services help you optimise your website for all the languages you want to do business in. Give us a call on 02392 987 765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your project.