Top 4 Multilingual SEO Challenges And How To Overcome Them
Multilingual SEO is of celestial importance especially in Europe where internet usage is growing at a rapid rate.
According to Internet World Stats there are over 384 million internet users, a growth of 266 percent from 2000. This means that 48.1 percent of Europeans are now online, which is significantly higher when compared to the rest of the world where only 18.4 percent of the world population (excluding Europe) use the internet.
The top ten internet countries are Germany, UK, France, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Netherlands and Romania. Germany has an internet population of 52.5 million users, France has 36.2 and Italy has 34.7. It is evident that the European market is not to be ignored.
Many of these users are not confined to the popular web search engines such as Google or msn as localised search engines are rapidly gaining popularity since they offer better country based search options and results.
It is more and more difficult to gain top rankings from these search engines or even popular engines for that matter by simply translating your website into another European language. The most highly effective sites are built from the ground up with SEO in mind. This means that the entire web architecture and coding strategy must conform to local search engine algorithms.
Here are the four major problems.
1- incompetent and mediocre translation and international SEO
Original company websites tend to be commissioned by a local or nationally based company that may not even optimize websites for the local audience, let alone internationally optimize them.
2 – Technological hurdles and diverse languages
The way in which the original site has been built may make adding languages difficult, especially with regional options (Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese). Further, multiple languages mean multiple pages or sub-domains.
3 - Some search engines express regional favoritism.
A search engine based in a certain country will always know what a proper racially accurate result is and would rank them above others
4 - Keyword translations need to be done with much thought
Different cultures will use different search terms. Simply translating keywords may not prove effective. For example, in Germany, it is more likely that a user will search with the word “handy” rather than “mobiltelefon”.
To overcome these, the following will definitely come in useful.
Don’t forget Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammatical differences must be taken into account when planning your international SEO strategy. For example, unlike English, many European languages such as French, Spanish and Portuguese use accents and diacritics. All website information must be culturally customized and optimized in order for local search engines to pick up culturally specific search terms.
Think about purchasing country domains
If expanding into Europe, purchasing the appropriate country domain is advisable. It is possible to buy international domains such as .de, .fr, .es etc; however, there may be country specific rules which prohibit purchase. In some cases, it will be necessary to prove that you can meet certain country specific criteria by producing the relevant documentation. For example, a legal or physical presence may be required in a certain European market in order to purchase their domain. This can prove costly.
Not all European countries require legal or physical presence for domain name registration, Russia, Czech Republic and the UK being examples.
Host your site accordingly.
It is important to consider where your site is hosted as this may affect your international SEO strategy. For example, a .com domain hosted in the UK will appear in www.google.co.uk but the same site hosted in the US may not appear in the local listing in .co.uk.
Other considerations for a successful international SEO strategy are as follows:
- Which are the main search engines used by the target locale. For example, Google dominates in the US and UK but other search engines such as MSN may prove more popular in other European countries.
- Which regional directories should be targeted, for example, business.com works in the UK but France may have its own directory.
- Different countries have different link building strategies – Highly page-ranked websites that impress Google may not be relevant to a local market. Local sites are required to provide links as well as Google PageRank.
- Currency conversions –Products such as Google Analytics are unable to cope with multiple currencies so unless careful consideration is given to exchange rates for websites processing euros, pounds sterling and dollars, data can easily be misunderstood. The site may require conversion to an agreed currency for the analytic tool being used.
As correctly stated in the New Frontier Digital home page;
“Efforts to drive business to your website can be undermined at any step in the process. Your message and link building campaigns lose energy if every word of copy, every detail of keyword selection and SEO, and every nuance of translation for local markets is not covered by a well managed and highly coordinated team..”
Therefore effective and well thought multilingual approaches must be employed to get desired results as mentioned.