Using Multilingual SEO Agency To Not Get Lost In Translation

At First Page, we understand that every product, every company, and every marketing campaign needs a unique approach. As a multilingual SEO agency, we need to get really creative in doing multilingual search engine optimization across language barriers for our customers.

If you want to branch out overseas and get search engines to show you in SERP, we have the SEO multilingual expertise to get you going.

You could also be a business wanting to reach non-English speakers in your local area, then we have the skills too. We can do multilingual keyword research and understand SEO techniques for other popular search engines like Yandex and Bing.

In this post, we will share some multilingual SEO strategy tips to get your rankings up. Using an agency that can provide multilingual SEO services will help your company’s search engine rankings immensely.

One warning for a multilingual SEO campaign. Step away from Google Translate and read this blog before you do anything else.

Will structuring your site well improve multilingual SEO results?

A website’s structure has a significant impact on its rankings, for better or for worse.

It is of more importance when developing a site for a multilingual audience. Smart site structuring ensures that users can quickly find content in their preferred language.

First off, we have to be specific about our goals.

A multilingual website means a user can access multiple languages. A multilingual website is not a multinational website. A multinational website means that it has been localized to different countries.

This difference is important, as Google makes a distinction between a website’s locality and its language.

Using the hreflang attribute, webmasters can create pages intended for users from a specific country. In addition, pages can be made for different countries within a specific language group.

Consider the difference between ‘people from Spain’ (one country) and ‘Spanish speakers’ (the majority language in more than 20 countries).

The two most common approaches to structuring a multilingual website are subfolders and subdomains.

An approach for multilingual SEO
Another approach for multilingual SEO
Make sure you’re structuring your multilingual website the right way.

Google has stated in the past that it crawls, indexes and ranks the two identically. However, remember that each subdomain must be separately bought and hosted, making subfolders the far simpler option.

Additionally, building your multilingual site as a series of subfolders. As such, it means the EN version of a page benefits from links sent to the FR version of a page.

Should you be aware of cultural as well as linguistic differences?

Yes, for sure! Surprise, surprise – people who speak different languages often lead different lives.

Keep in mind that language and culture are inseparable. There may simply not be a nice, neat Spanish/French/Mandarin equivalent for every product and service you sell.

A reverse example: the Japanese term shibui refers to a particular aesthetic of understated and subtle beauty. This was defined by author James Michener as ‘acerbic good taste’.

It can be applied to everything from pottery to styles of interior decoration, cameras, clothing, cars and even people.

Should you be aware of cultural as well as linguistic differences?
The irregular, colours, shape and texture of this sake cup would classify it as shibui, but in English we might call this ‘shabby chic’ Credit: DavidEarlYoung [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.

What about multilingual SEO when selling across cultural lines?

If you were an importer of Japanese goods, how would you market a shibui item to your English-speaking audience? You don’t want your customers to have to crack open a dictionary.

The answer is: to use a local equivalent.

The Japanese might call the above sake cup shibui. However, on crafty parts of the internet, it would immediately be labelled ‘shabby chic’.

While invented in the 1980s, ‘shabby chic’ has found new life in the age of Pinterest and Etsy. It refers to a particular style of interior decoration.

It is a style that evokes the feeling of walking into a long-inhabited and much-loved lounge room.

Items will have visible signs of wear, won’t be matched to a room and will often have a handmade appearance.

The style as a whole eschews modernity and mass production. It does not refer to finding beauty in the faded items you’d discover in your grandma’s home.

While not a perfect translation – and requiring more than one word – ‘shabby chic’ gets the point across. The term highlights the item’s understated beauty and rustic or distressed appearance.

Do the same for your product – work with people or a multilingual SEO company that is fluent in the language and understands the culture. This will greatly help to determine how you’ll market your brand.

Get proper translation for multilingual SEO
Don’t confuse your users, get a proper translation for your website.

Sprechen Sie Google Translate?

Imagine this scenario. According to the 2016 census, more than 500,000 Australians speak Mandarin at home. That number is only increasing.

The number of Mandarin speakers in Australia rising. Rising by more than 50% every five years, making them an important linguistic demographic.

Let’s say that tomorrow, your company wanted to reach out to those half a million Mandarin speakers.

And without a Mandarin-language version of your website.

Now what? Those half a million Mandarin speakers have to view our website through Google Translate.

Do you know what you get if you translate your brand slogan into Simplified Chinese (and back into English)? We guarantee you, something not cool.

How many of them would trust their marketing to a company with a floppy translated slogan like that? You can probably kiss all half a million of them goodbye. It is always best to use a multilingual SEO company to get it right.

Final thoughts

…get your website professionally translated. 

Translation technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in just the last half a decade. It is still lightyears away from being able to replace the accuracy, the emotion and the nuance of a skilled human translator.

And whether you’re selling suits, accounting services or used cars, you need all three.

While the simplest solution would be to try to do a one-for-one rewrite of each page. Remember what we discussed. Just because you can translate a product name, doesn’t mean that people will know what you’re talking about.

A proper translation is going to be a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. So, use a multilingual SEO company. This extensive consultation with both the translator and people in the target demographic ensures that it’s understandable and relevant.

Case-in-point: Marvel’s 2014 superhero blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy became Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team in China and Taiwan.

The Mandarin-language name for Guardians of the Galaxy caused a bit of a storm online when it was discovered by language site ‘The ChinesePod Blog’.

Ahrefs advises that webmasters first translate, then optimise. While it’s tempting to try to do it in one hit, you risk obscuring the meaning of your site. Get some good, accurate copy down in your second language, then apply the keywords you’ve identified as being both relevant to your product/service and having reasonable search volume in your target territories.

Finally, the last point on multilingual SEO

Most countries are multicultural. The need for brands to be bi-, tri- and multi-lingual is only going to get stronger.

Get out ahead of the curve and reach your customers where they are with a comprehensive multilingual SEO campaign. Talk to our team of specialists today to find out how we can help grow your business.

FAQs for multilingual SEO

Multilingual SEO: What is it?

Multilingual SEO involves writing your website’s content in many languages to make it searchable in new markets and accessible to visitors worldwide through organic search results.

Does a multilingual website aid SEO?

A website in several languages can enhance your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. This is especially useful if you are looking to access different markets for your product or service.

Is SEO effective in different languages?

Multilingual SEO and international SEO are frequently confused. Even though they sound similar and have some overlap, they are very different in reality. Websites with an international presence and those located in nations with multiple official languages can both benefit from multilingual SEO.