Guide to Optimizing Your Multilingual Website | Digital Dot

Guide to optimizing your multilingual website

Depending on what business you are in, your website might cater to customers from different regions, cultures, and continents. Although many people speak English, you’ll definitely be able to reach a larger audience if you have the option to use your website in several different languages. However, this undoubtedly brings up the question of exploring SEO solutions NYC. To make things easier to understand, we’ve put together a guide to optimizing your multilingual website.

The importance of having a multilingual website

When it comes to owning a multilingual website, it’s not just about merely translating the text into a different language. We’ve seen some website owners rely on automatic translation services which only leads to confusion and numerous mistakes. You also need to take into account the cultural considerations of specific languages. Consult with a native speaker and adjust the tone and context of the translation. Native speakers can help you carry over your message accurately without losing anything in the translation.

Enter button on keyboard replaced with Translate button.
Make sure your translated website sounds natural to native speakers.

Even if your company is doing business within just one country, you still need to think about the various ethnicities that live there and the languages they speak. In the United States, more than 67 million people speak a foreign language at home. It’s no secret that people prefer browsing websites in their native language. You will see an improvement in your local SEO if you make your website accommodating for non-English speakers in your area. Do your due diligence and find out which are the most frequently spoken languages in your state.

What are the costs of having a multilingual website?

We need to address the elephant in the room, and the common question is always going to be: How much is this going to cost me? Unfortunately, every feature which you choose to add to your website represents an additional expense. However, besides the upfront cost of optimizing your multilingual website, this actually represents a good investment. It will increase your traffic and open up your website to customers who previously would not be able to use it.

Plaque regarding translating text into multiple languages.
Avoid using automated machine translations.

After you have implemented the new language-dependent features you will also need the help of a digital marketing agency NYC. You will need to inform users that your website now supports their native language. Market the translated versions directly to local audiences.

Here are the costs associated with a multilingual website:

  • Technical costs. Adding new features to your website and using specialized software to develop a site that offers multiple languages. WordPress websites can license specialized language plugins.
  • Translation. We recommend that you avoid using machine automated translation and hire someone with actual proficiency in the language.

Tips for optimizing your multilingual website:

1. Have dedicated URLs

Google generally frowns on duplicated content, and will actually drop your SEO if you simply copy your pages into a different language. However, they do realize the need for multilingual websites. In this instance, Google recommends using dedicated URLs that have a language indicator. This will help the search engine identify those pages as different versions and then you will avoid getting a penalty for hosting duplicate content.

Just make sure that you carefully define the URL parameter to make it easily interpreted by the search engine. You can contact a web development company New York to make sure your URL structure is Google-friendly and that you don’t get penalized. Having separate languages on dedicated URLs can actually lead to a boost in your SEO. In this case, Google will recommend your website to people who are already browsing in the languages your site supports.

2. Use only one language on each page

As the old saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Even if you mean to do well, partially translating pages and having several languages on one page is just asking for trouble. Users might get confused if they are only able to understand parts of your website. Google will recognize this and treat your website as not friendly towards users.

Woman inspecting website design.
Your entire website design needs to function across all languages.

Therefore, when it comes to translating pages – either do it properly or don’t do it at all. This includes making sure that the main content and the text needed for navigation are in the same language. It’s also a bad idea to translate the same text into multiple languages on a single page. The page will feel crowded even when it doesn’t hold a lot of content. Separating the languages into dedicated pages will give your website a cleaner design and leave more room for your content to breathe.

3. Make sure the different versions of your website are compatible

Another common mistake we frequently see is that website owners only translate the product descriptions. Then when users are done browsing and want to make a purchase they come to the harsh realization that the online store isn’t translated. This practice will only lead to shopping cart abandonment and lost sales. Instead, we recommend hiring professional web design services NYC to ensure that all of the features on your website are compatible. Perform rigorous testing to ensure that all of the features are present in each version of your website.

4. Translate the metadata for your multilingual websites

When translating the pages of your site into different languages, it’s easy to overlook the metadata. However, it’s necessary if you are planning on optimizing your multilingual website to achieve good results on SERPs. If you translate the metadata you will see an immediate boost to your SEO in the new regions you are targeting. This can be especially important for businesses that rely on local searches since people often perform those in their native language. Unfortunately, this might mean that you’ll need to redo your keyword research to avoid mistakes. Keywords don’t always directly translate, and you’ll need some knowledge of the local market to get it right.

To summarize

Translating your website into multiple languages is always a good idea. However, besides just translating the content, you’ll also need to perform optimization to get the best results. As long as you pay attention to the points we’ve brought up in our guide to optimizing your multilingual website you’ll be able to get customers from different regions and countries.

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