MULTI LANGUAGE SITE SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Although it can be easier to rank well for certain keywords when you translate your website, there are some cases where search interest just doesn’t cross the language barrier. To give you an example, if we look up the keyword search volume for “how to install wordpress plugin”, you can see that this is a popular query in English:

If you want to tackle SEO for multiple languages, here are five tips to keep in mind:

This means that if you run a blog about WordPress tutorials in English, and you want to translate it into Spanish, your first focus probably shouldn’t be translating articles about how to install WordPress plugins. Ideally, you’ll focus first on whatever content has higher search volumes among your potential Spanish-reading audience. That way, you can guarantee more traffic for your website in the short term, and work on translating the rest of your content down the line.

Remember to translate the slug for each page you want to localize, and you’ll be well on your way to attracting more traffic.

If you’re using TranslatePress, however, you don’t have to worry about that problem. The plugin automatically adds hreflang tags to your pages for each language you add. That’s one less task to worry about when performing SEO for multiple languages.

5. Research Popular Keywords in Other Languages.

If you’re using TranslatePress’ automatic translation functionality, it’s still important to review each page manually. Machines aren’t perfect when it comes to translation, even though they can save you a lot of time. You may even consider hiring a professional to look at this key element, which can be much more cost-effective than hiring a translator for your entire website.

hreflang tags are snippets of code that tell search engines what language you’re using on each page. They’re a must for websites that have multiple languages, since they help Google and other search engines differentiate between each version of your content.

With TranslatePress, you can easily localize those elements for each of your pages. To do so, open the page you want to translate, and click on the menu below the language selector in the top-left corner of your screen:

Adding these tags to your pages is simple, and there are several ways you can go about it. However, it can be rather time-consuming to edit the code for each page on your website individually, particularly if you’re going to translate it into multiple languages.

If you’re not sure how to perform multilingual SEO, don’t worry. In the following sections, we’ll introduce five of the best strategies you can implement right away.

One element a lot of people overlook when translating their websites is URLs. For example, if you translate your ‘shop’ page, and its URL is currently yourwebsite.com/shop, it should appear as yourwebsite.com/tienda when someone browses the Spanish version of your site.

There are a lot of ways to bring more traffic to your website. You can create new content, purchase ads, and use social media to drive visitors. One approach you might not have considered, however, is adding more languages to your website.

There, you can also enable a setting that will exclude translated links from your sitemaps, in case you’re still in the process of localizing your website.

The easiest way to do this is to modify the ‘slug’ for each page you translate. By slug, we mean the identifier for the page that comes after the domain name. In the two examples we mentioned above, the slugs would be “shop” and “tienda” respectively.

What metadata elements appear in this menu will depend on how well optimized your page already is. If you want to edit the metadata for your website in its original language, you can use an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO, which works out of the box alongside TranslatePress.

Take advantage of Multiple Languages SEO today!

Translating your website into even a single additional language is a big leap. With the right plugin, the process becomes much simpler, but it still takes time to localize every aspect of your site. The more complex your site is, the more work this entails. So you’ll want to make sure you get to reap the rewards of your efforts, and that can come down to proper SEO.

You can look up keywords in different languages, and get access to search volume data from various countries and regions. Keep in mind that you can also seek to target keywords that perform better in other languages besides English, with the intent of gaining that traffic. After all, if you’re going to build a multilingual website, that means you have a more diverse audience to target.

The more languages you add to your website, the bigger your potential audience becomes. Even translating your site into one other language is a fantastic step. It’s important to remember, however, that translating your content is only the start – you also have to think about multilingual SEO.

It’s important to understand, though, that merely translating your website isn’t enough to increase traffic. If you want to get access to those audiences, you need to take Search Engine Optimization (SEO) into account as well. That means translating your pages’ metadata, targeting keywords that you might not have considered for your site’s original language, making it easy to switch between different versions of your website, and much more.

It’s also a good idea to consider your sitemap. Fortunately, TranslatePress can automatically build new files for every language you add to your website. However, that feature is only available in the SEO Pack add-on. With it, you can generate multilingual sitemaps for all of the popular SEO plugins, including Yoast SEO, All in One Pack ,SEOPress, and Rank Math.

The best tool to research keyword search volume is Google Keyword Planner. To get access to it, you’ll need to register for the Google Ads platform (but don’t worry, you don’t have to pay to use it). Once you have access to Keyword Planner, you can enter words or search queries, and the tool will give you an estimate of their search volume as well as related suggestions:

For each of these tips, we’ll show you how to carry them out using the TranslatePress multilingual plugin and its powerful SEO Pack add-on. They’re built with all the multilingual SEO best practices in mind.

3. Translate Your Metadata.

In this article, we’ll break down how adding more languages to your website can increase traffic. Then we’ll walk you through five tips to improve your site’s SEO for multiple languages, so you can reap the full rewards of translating your site. Let’s get to work!

Proper keyword usage is a tricky thing to master, even in your native language. You have to make sure you’re not forcing awkward keywords into your content, overusing them, or ignoring them altogether. Now imagine doing that in languages you don’t speak.

If this is your first time using TranslatePress, you’ll first want to check out our tutorial on how to create a multilingual WordPress site. Then, you’ll be ready to start working on your multilingual SEO.

Whenever you’re translating your website into other languages, however, you do need to be mindful of keywords. If you’re not sure where to get started, we recommend that you look up your site’s most popular English keywords. You can use free services such as Moz’s Free Domain SEO Metrics tool to help you identify what those keywords are. All you have to do is enter your site’s URL, and look for the Keywords by Estimated Clicks section:

For whatever reason, that level of interest doesn’t hold for Spanish audiences. A quick search for “como instalar plugin wordpress” for Spanish audiences reveals a very low search volume. On top of that, our keyword research tool returns a worryingly low number of related query ideas:

The more languages you add to your website, the more people you can reach. Including Spanish gives you access to an audience of about 437 million people, and that’s just one example. Italian will let you connect with about 63 million users, Korean enables you to communicate with over 75 million, and so on.

If you don’t want to translate your pages’ slugs manually, the SEO Pack add-on also includes an automatic localization feature. To enable it, go to Settings > TranslatePress > Advanced, and scroll to the bottom of the page:

For every page on your website, there are a lot of elements that visitors can’t see because they’re meant for search engines only. That collection of elements is called ‘metadata,’ and it encompasses everything from meta descriptions to tags and image alt text.

There’s often confusion between multilingual SEO and international SEO. Although they sound similar, and they overlap in some ways, they’re actually quite different.

It’s important to note that while Google and Yandex recommend using Hreflang, not all search engines fully support it. Bing and Baidu recommend using the content-language tag in the HTML <head> section. Here’s an example of what that would look like:

For brands offering products and services in multiple regions, search engines have made it easier than ever to reach target audiences. But that doesn’t mean you should leave everything up to chance. Ensure the right audience can find you by addressing multilingual concerns within an international SEO strategy. Here’s how.

Multilingual SEO best practices.

For tasks like keyword research, writing title tags and meta descriptions, as well as translation of your page content, you can either engage a company that specializes in website transcreation or hire freelancers. In any case, it never hurts to have a second set of eyes look at foreign language text for your site. For this, you can easily hire a proofreader on a freelancer platform.

It also never hurts to see which keyword your competitors are targeting in a specific market. If this differs from your keyword, you need to investigate who did a better job at keyword research. You can always get a second opinion from another native SEO.

Every piece of inbound marketing content on a website should have a primary keyword phrase. Determining those keyword phrases for pages in other languages should be handled by SEO professionals with a native or near-native command of those languages. Simply translating the keyword and on-page content might not always work and you could miss out on massive organic traffic opportunities.

x-default: This attribute value tells search engines which page should be listed in search results if none of the specified Hreflang URLs apply to a searcher’s location and language setting. It is optional to include it and the URL can be the same as one of the already specified languages and locations for this page.

Cross-domain alternates : Pages listed as alternates don’t have to be on the same domain. But, ideally, an international website should be organized in a folder structure, as in our examples above. Whenever a country or language is added, the new pages can then take advantage of the established domain strength and Hreflang implementation might also be less complicated.

Return links: Hreflang URLs need to be placed on every version of a page. If a page exists in 30 languages, then Hreflang needs to be in the code of all 30 versions.

Multilingual keyword research through native speakers.

It’s important to note that 55 countries have more than one official language, such as Israel, Switzerland and Belgium. Multilingual SEO is meant to explicitly target consumers and users where content in the native language really matters.

Multilingual SEO can apply to websites with an international presence, as well as to websites within countries that have several official languages. For example, the website of a German brand could have pages that serve audiences in North America, Asia and Europe, while a Canadian website might have pages in English and French for a domestic audience.

Self-referencing URLs: There always needs to be a self-reference to the page on which the code is implemented. Therefore, if Hreflang is being placed on the page for the US, and alternate URLs for the UK, Germany and Switzerland are referenced, the US URL also needs to be listed. Forgetting to include the self-referencing URL is a common mistake in international and multilingual SEO.

How Hreflang is applied depends primarily on the type of website. A B2B website with lead forms could target languages only, but a B2C ecommerce site usually needs to specify language and country. (Targeting an entire region like Europe through something like en-eu is not possible.)

Multilingual SEO and international SEO.

As significant and useful leveraging Hreflang and setting the content-language tag can be, the content itself is just as important for multilingual SEO.

Most rank tracking tools let you set up country-specific tracking. Besides keyword rankings, you should also consider observing performance of ranking URLs.

So, how do websites prioritize users with certain languages and dialects in organic search?

Canonical URLs : Only canonical URLs are valid in Hreflang. Including non-canonical URLs sends conflicting signals to Google and the search engine might therefore ignore Hreflang altogether.

Do any URLs intended for other countries rank in the wrong location? If so, the first item to investigate is the accuracy of your Hreflang implementation.

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