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Multilingual websites - Have you seen a change in strategy?

     
9:59 am on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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5+ Year Member

joined:Aug 10, 2010
posts: 45
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It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything regarding multilingual SEO strategy and I was wondering if anyone who employs multilingual SEO tactics has needed or noticed a change in strategy.

Here are the things I have read previously in relation to multilingual content on our websites, please let me know if you think any different (I’m aware some of the points below aren’t used by Google but as good practise for web accessibility) :

  • Consider URL structure if you are targeting languages as part of an international strategy
  • Using HREFLAN
  • Localizing keywords rather than straight translation of text
  • <html lang=”en”>
  • <html dir="rtl"> for right to left languages
  • Using the CSS ‘lang’ pseudo class to set different font sizes and font families depending on the value of the ‘lang’ attribute as some languages could be hard to read in font size 10 or 12.
  • UTF-8 encoding of URLs with none English characters
  • Avoid automated translations of text that could be nonsense and lead to your page being counted as spam
  • local addresses & phone numbers on the pages, use of local language and currency, links from other local sites
3:24 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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joined:May 7, 2003
posts: 753
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One of my websites is available in 40 languages.

  • URL structure - I use sub-domains, but you should be able to use folders or top level domains for the language as well.
  • Because my website is a web-app, I use software localization practices. I assign each sentence an id, and the software that powers the site uses the correct translation for each sentence.
  • I use both lang='en' and dir='rtl' attributes on my HTML tag when appropriate
  • I use UTF-8 for encoding both my pages and my URLs
  • I DO use automated translations of text. However, I provide a way for my users to edit any text on the website and submit it for approval. This seems to work fine. Users have fully translated about 10 languages and corrected the major mistakes on most of the rest.
  • I don't use hreflang or css lang pseudo classes.