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SEO for multilingual websites

12:23 pm on Oct 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello people, Can anyone share tips & tricks on the topic "How to do SEO for a multilingual website?"
10:32 am on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's not simple or easy. If you don't have years of good SEO experience I would suggest you hire someone to do it for you.
11:50 am on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think it is probably only ideal for a person doing SEO to do it in their own mother language.

In the past I have tried SEO and PPC in other languages but the results have not been worth the effort.
2:14 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld codyhay
Can anyone share tips & tricks on the topic "How to do SEO for a multilingual website?"

We've been having a discussion about this here:


Is this for an ecommerce or evergreen informational site?

There are no tricks, it has to be done correctly otherwise the site will go nowhere. Trying to make a one size fits all site is extremely difficult and, as such, usually very expensive to create.

I've been constructing non-English sites since the mid 90s and after many trials, experiments, failures and successes, all my "foreign language" sites are created on a specific domain in that language's most popular country and hosted there as well.

For instance, for German it's example.de hosted in Germany for Austria, Northern Switzerland etc, however for Spanish I actually host in the USA with a .com and it seems to work reasonably well. Portuguese has always been a problem no matter what I do! French, Italian and Russian, no problem, for China I have always found it important to host there to get decent enough traffic.

For ALL sites I use real, widget trade people to translate them. Even though I speak and read several languages, nothing beats the local trades' person lingo.

All my sites are evergreen information for my widget industry and, fortunately for me, English has been the trade's dominant language for 200+ years therefore in nearly every widget business in every country there is always someone with a great command of the English language.

If it's for ecommerce I haven't a clue and wish you luck. I know there are multilingual sites out there and I cannot imagine just how much some of them have cost!

One tip, if you go down the stand-alone country sites, it is always good to have a local contact point if at all possible.
9:41 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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To discuss all the subtleties and the SEO techniques you should implement in a multilingual website would be way too long to be discussed here.
Yet, I give my two cents. The first thing to consider when building a multilingual website is now to avoid the most common mistakes for such websites.
1) Avoid any cross-link (other than those with a clear hreflang attribute) between the different websites. If, by mistake, you have a widget in the sidebar of the, say. Italian website linking to a page on your English website this will destroy your Google ranking in less than a week (I did it, unfortunately, so I know the consequences). Google loves a clear and thorough separation between languages.
2) Do not use automatic translations, all text should be translated manually and, possibly, by a native speaker. If you don't have the possibility to use native speakers, use a professional editor who checks and corrects your most important content and good grammar/syntax software for the rest.
3) Do not mix language variants (such as US-EN and GB-EN), choose the one you prefer and stick with it.
4) Everything should be in the correct language, including menus, headers, and (possibly) image alt and caption.
5) Use for each website meaningful page titles and filenames, especially for websites not in English. Google is not very capable of understanding page names and titles in

What does NOT matter, in my experience
Geotargeting in GSC is pretty useless, Google is enough smart (most times, not always) to understand your pages' language by its content.
If you use Adsense, do not separate units and custom channels by language; again, it's useless since Google(after some time) will serve the Ad in the correct language depending on the page content, user's location, Browser language, and so on.