Multilingual SEO mistakes to avoid


When you’re developing international business, you need to make sure potential customers from around the world can find you. This is where multilingual SEO comes in.

What is Multilingual Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a fundamental component of any basic marketing strategy. In order for your website to appear at the top of search results, it needs to be enhanced so that it can be found.

SEO practices include the use of suitable keywords, image tags, meta descriptions, and much more. Once your website is SEO friendly, it is more likely to appear when potential clients type relevant search terms into platforms such as Google.

However, for an international company, it’s not enough to appear in search results for one language alone. Many businesses fall short on multilingual SEO, making numerous mistakes that cost them a wealth of potential business.

Multilingual Search Engine Optimization: how to get it right

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 6 mistakes that any multilingual marketer should avoid:

 1- Using the wrong keyword

In your native language, finding the right keywords might come naturally; common phrases often come to mind effortlessly. However, it’s not enough to simply translate these into another language.

Word-for-word translation in marketing can lead to serious errors. When it comes to keywords, it’s important to know about which terms natives really use.

For example, potential international customers often use loan words from English when they search online. In France, the dictionary translation for business is le commerce, but many French speakers prefer the Anglicism le business. Which one will they search for? The SEO website, Moz, found that Italian customers prefer the search term voli low cost to voli a basso costo.

In order to make sure you’re not missing out by using the wrong keywords, we recommend comprehensive research and the help of a multilingual SEO expert.

2- Not localizing content

Localization service is the process of making content culturally and linguistically appropriate for the new target market. It isn’t enough to simply translate, this can produce content that isn’t suited to the audience.

In widely-spoken languages, terms vary between countries. In Latin America, the word celular is common, but European Spanish speakers tend to use the term móvil. Using the wrong keyword means you won’t reach the correct audience.

3- Forgetting what you can’t see

Multilingual search engine optimization isn’t only needed for the text on your landing page. Hidden parts of your website need just as much care as those visible to your audience. Examples include:

  Pages tags in each language

  Language detection, selection, and specification

  Multilingual alt tags

  Domain structure

  Country-specific links

4- Localized words in URLs

A website with multilingual SEO can also benefit from a sitemap. This is a list of all the URLs that need to be indexed, which can be submitted to Google’s Search Console. Once this is complete, Google’s robots will begin to scan these webpages for information (known as crawling) so that it can list them appropriately.

5- Focusing only on Google

Google may be considered the top search engine by the average Anglophone user, but what about your target audiences?

In China, for example, appearing on Google alone would mean missing out on users of tech-giant search engine Baidu. Each search engine offers its own SEO tools, so learning how to maximize returns takes time but can yield promising results.

6- Not taking professional advice

Keeping on top of SEO is a time-consuming task for a monolingual site. When you have a multilingual site, it can be difficult to make sure quality doesn’t waver. That’s why professional language service providers – like Future Trans –  are available to guide you through the process.

Future trans can help you maximize your business’ organic reach and drive engagement. We are industry experts, with an in-depth knowledge of the diverse languages and cultures present in Africa and the Middle East.

More about Future Trans

At Future Trans, we have been leading the way in top-quality SEO localization services for 24 years. We are ISO 17100 certified and are adept at updating websites with the latest multilingual SEO practices.

We have worked with a wide range of companies and our translators, localizers, and interpreters are specialists in their fields.

Get in touch for a free quote.

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