If your potential customers are in different countries or speak multiple languages, there are many aspects to consider. The most important ones: language, localisation and country targeting are covered here.
Before I start just to let you know, you don’t have to translate the whole of your website, just the key pages that your customers will visit. E.g. Home page, quote page, contact page and product pricing page.
There are some SEO guidelines for websites that offer content in multiple languages. The first is to make sure that each page in a different language has its own unique web page. For example, your home page could be www.example.com, the same page in German could be www.exampleGer.com accessed by clicking the German flag for translation from your home page or directed to the German page from a search engine in Germany.
Why is that important?
Web design technology makes it possible to have English language content on a web page—say www.example.com/products.html—but allow visitors to click a button to view the same page written in German. Sounds great, right? The problem is that humans can click that button, but search engines can’t.
A better approach is to separate each translated version on its own web page. In this example, it would be much better to place the German version on its own page, with a separate URL: www.example.com/produkte.html
The second thing to keep in mind: mixing languages on the same page. This is a big no-no. For example, when half your content is in German and the other half is in English, search engines can’t decide what language your content is in. It’s better to use different pages for different languages.
Avoid using automated services to translate your content. Have a piece of content about your products that needs to be in French? Get a real live person to translate it for you.
Why is this necessary?
Search engines don’t value content generated from automated translation tools. Even worse, the page might be considered spam. Translation service may cost you a bit more upfront, but you’ll likely have higher quality content that can drive better results for your business.
If you’ve taken the time to translate content, some search engines allow you to add language annotations to your web pages. These annotations help search engines serve the right content to the right person based on their country or language.
Let’s imagine you are shipping your products across borders. You have created some great content for your U.K. clientele, but you have also had the same content carefully translated into German for your market in Germany.
You’d expect your German product page to show up on a search results page for your prospects in Germany, and your U.K. page for customers in the U.K. To help search engines discover this alternate content, in this case you’d be able to add an annotation to each English and German page.
These tags will mark your pages so search engines can serve up the right version of your content to viewers in their respective countries.
Web page annotations are notes added to the code of the page describing images or an extra layer of alternative text unseen by visitors. They can be great tools for more advanced multilingual and multinational setups. Annotations can help improve your rank in search listings and rate a resource by its usefulness, user-friendliness and suitability against a search by any customer. Annotations can be added to your home language pages and also on any foreign language page in that language so any search for your product in that language will appear in their search results.
Start by thinking about what information would be useful to them.
Do you need to provide product prices in different currencies?
Do they use a different system of measurement—metric versus imperial? For example, would customers weigh your avocados in kilos or pounds?
Did you include local addresses and phone numbers so they can contact you?
Do you need to list your business hours in different time zones?
These are all small things you can do to make sure your website remains useful to potential customers in different countries. They are also signals to help search engines understand your content is relevant to international markets. Beyond language and localisation, you can help search engines understand the country (or countries!) you are targeting.
Search engines may use a number of factors including where your website is hosted, its IP address, and information on your web pages. You can still help your site and its content be more visible to international prospects by using country targeting tools such as those found in Google Search Console.
As you start promoting your website in other countries, keep three things in mind: language, localisation and country targeting.
If you do, you can adjust your website and SEO strategy to make your website an international success.
We can assist you at every stage. Here at Translate Hive we can accurately translate your website pages (you do not need to translate them all, just the key pages), we can host your site for you (new or transfer) or redesign it entirely and always keep your content fresh with copywriters and designers at our fingertips with our partners at Revolution Four.