Effective SEO Strategies for Multilingual Websites

Maximizing Hits from Multilingual Searches! SEO Strategies for Multilingual Sites

March 30, 2015

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SEO strategies, Localization, Multilingualization

With the rapid penetration of the Internet, global websites for companies have become a matter of course nowadays. Accurate translation of website content is vital. However, what must be avoided at all costs is a situation where global websites end up not getting hits from search engines despite all the effort taken to get such websites up and running. Here we explain about strategies for effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when localizing websites and making them multilingual.

Stay Away from Machine Translation

In localization of websites, instead of relying on manpower, recently companies are increasingly choosing to use translation services from the Internet. Machine translation services available on the Internet are improving in quality and are convenient for grasping the general drift of text in various languages. However, from the viewpoint of accurate translation and SEO strategies, we strongly recommend that machine translation is not used for localization.

Text from machine translation is often filled with grammar mistakes which cause webpages to be viewed as spam by search engines such as Google, etc. To avoid this, it is essential to employ the services of translators who are thoroughly familiar with the target language.

Creating Separate URLs for Each Language

An effective strategy for SEO when constructing URLs is to create a separate URL for each language. Google and other search engines use the content of a URL to determine language and when same URL can be displayed in different languages, it is highly likely that the search engine will not understand all the languages. Even if effort is spent in preparing content in different languages, it will be not be effective if the search engine can only understand one of those languages. For the same reason, it seems that side-by-side translations within the same URL should be avoided.

Handling Duplicated Content

Although it is recommended to create separate URLs for each page, creation of separate URLs for different countries could be an issue in SEO. Content translated into English would be practically the same for English-speaking countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia. Google will lower its rating of websites that have a lot of duplicated content. A solution strategy for this is to prepare pages for different languages, not different countries.

For Google, if you use the rel=canonical link element in the head tag for the web page, you can avoid penalties for duplicated content.

Different countries prefer different search engines. Rating criteria vary according to each search engine so an appropriate SEO strategy should be employed after taking into account the differing characteristics for each country.


With the speeding up of global interconnectedness, creating multilingual websites has become a new task for many companies. In the construction of multilingual websites, the use of sloppy content from machine translation is not appropriate. Careful attention to detail and a wealth of know-how is necessary. Relying upon professional translators who are thoroughly familiar with localization, translation and the workings of the Internet, is the best approach to take.

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