How Do You Optimize Your Website for Native Languages?

Any seasoned SEO is quick to acknowledge the value of optimizing for more than one language. The sheer traffic volumes you can gain from worldwide traffic are just too massive for any savvy marketer to ignore. It’s not just a matter of thousands but millions. This is why this aspect of website optimization should be among the top — if not the main priorities — of many webmasters.

Multiligual SEO website optimization

That said, much like any SEO strategy, you need to learn how to do content localization properly. You have to ensure that your content stays true to and congruent with the language of your choosing. Most of the time, this makes investing in the proper and accurate translation of the original content nothing short of necessary. But that is just a brief rundown, to say the least.

One other undeniable benefit of doing content localization is that you do not need to make separate content for the language you are targeting. To learn more about how you can correctly optimize your website for native languages, take heed of the tips we have outlined here.

1. Have a Crystal-clear Decision Regarding What Language(s) You Will Be Targeting

You need to use your site’s analytics to pinpoint the countries that also happen to be major visitors to your site. Whether they speak Chinese, Hindi, French, or Spanish, once you know these visitors, it will be wise to prioritize their language for your content localization efforts.

Of course, this approach is more practical because it readily reveals the countries that show interest in your content and niche. However, this does not necessarily mean that you should limit yourself to visitors that are already showing up in your site’s analytics. You can always proactively search for other countries you can target, whose language you might also be more interested in targeting.

What’s the best tool to do this? Well, our top free recommendations include Google Adwords’s Keyword Planner and Google Translate. Using these tools, translate certain keywords and phrases that you are targeting then look up the monthly search volume and competition of each one. Chances are, you will get a clearer picture of what language to target by doing this. This can also be considered as part of your keyword research for your multilingual campaign or content localization.

2. Pinpoint All the Content That You Will Translate

While it can be argued that consistency should be assured for every translation you do, you won’t have to do this on pages that aren’t really performing well or are generally obsolete. If your website is well-maintained and updated regularly, then, by all means, do not hesitate to translate them. It goes without saying that the ones that are top performers should be at the top of your list.

3. Look for an Excellent, Native-speaker Translator That Can Convey the Content Creator’s Message and Style Just as Well

This is why it’s better to consistently test how each translation will be received by the target audience. In certain cases, straightforward translations will do just fine. But, in others, the translator would have to figure out better words and phrases to mirror the effectiveness of the original content.

4. Decide Whether You Will Go for Multiple Top-level Domains, Sub domains, or Sub folders

However, this certainly entails having more resources to invest in these dedicated domains. It can also be argued that this already enters the realm of multi regional SEO, as this, more or less, leads to you making the content for each language unique for the said audience. There’s no denying that this approach adheres more to what most would deem as true content localization, though.

The other alternatives, sub folders or sub domains, are arguably more cost-effective and saves more time as it does not pressure you to make design and content overhauls. Delegating your translated to sub folders ensures search engines will still view them as part of your original site; this is not the case for sub domains because Google regards them as separate sites altogether. This can have an immense impact on SEO. That said, like MTLDs, both have their own pros and cons.

5. Familiarize Yourself with Hreflang Tags and Utilize Them Properly. Also, Give the Visitor the Ability to Switch Languages

Don’t forget to make the option to easily switch between the languages your multilingual site is available in. In most cases, adding them to the header portion of your site will suffice to make them easily discoverable by the user.