Multilingual SEO: Why You Need Your Digital Content Translated for Effective SEO

Get your multilingual SEO right!

Here are some of the key benefits to translation and localization of your website for your targeted audiences.


Multilingual SEO: Recently, a number of ads have begun to appear on my Facebook feed for female clothing. Why? Because I have obviously been looking for things to add to my wardrobe for this season. So as I scroll through my feed, I am caught by slideshows of items from various clothiers. If I see something I might like, I click the “Shop Now” button, get onto that website, look through the catalogue, and possibly order something. It’s all very streamlined, I get email confirmations of the order and shipping details, and my items arrive. Most of these clothiers, though, are housed in foreign countries. You wouldn’t necessarily know that because the sites have been translated and localized so well.

The other phenomenon that I have observed is that when I conduct a general search for women’s clothing, plenty of websites are showing up that are foreign-based. Again, these companies are well-schooled in SEO for foreign audiences and are extending their reach well beyond their borders.

Implementing International SEO for Your Website – Multilingual SEO

SEO is critical for any website – without it, consumers will not find you. And if you are reaching out to foreign audiences, then everything from your URL’s to every page should provide a smooth user experience for those foreign-speaking audiences you have targeted. Google needs to recognize multiple language versions of your site, so that is search “friendly.”

Here are some of the key benefits to translation and localization of your website for your targeted audiences.


1. Lower Bounce Rate

Google keeps track of bounce rates. If your website is not translated and localized for foreign audiences, their user experience is not optimal. While many consumers in other countries have at least a cursory understanding of English, they will still struggle. When you set up multilingual SEO, they will have all of your content in their native language and will stay on your site and navigate around. Ultimately, they may make purchases, which, of course, is your goal.


2. Targeting Localized Keywords

This is also key to multilingual SEO. Keywords and phrases that “work” in English will not necessarily work in a foreign language when literally translated. Just ask some major players in foreign markets who have committed some big “goofs” when it has come to translating phrases and slogans for foreign audiences. The American Dairy Council’s slogan, “Got milk,” for example, translated into Spanish, meant, “Are You Lactating?” KFC’s slogan “finger-lickin’ good” translated into Chinese as “Eat Your Fingers Off.” If the “big boys” can make mistakes, so can you.

The solution, of course, is to find native translators who can act as consultants in your translation and localization efforts. There are plenty of translation agencies with native experts to help in this regard.

As Anthony McGregor, a Director of Content for Pick Writers, an agency that provides reviews of translation agencies, states: “Any business that is entering foreign markets has to be aware that language nuances and cultural biases play a huge role in translating and localizing content that will be appropriate and engaging to foreign audiences. Without a native expert, companies risk a lack of clarity and, worse, offending their audiences.”

Researching the most popular foreign language keywords for your niche can be a cumbersome job. Get expert help with this.


3. Enhancing SEO for Other Search Engines

Google is certainly the “gold standard” for English-speaking search audiences, along with Bing and another one or two. But in foreign lands, there may be other search engines that are more popular.  Baidu, for example, is more popular with the Chinese; Naver is preferred by South Koreans. One of the things you must do in reaching out to foreign audiences is to research their most popular search engines and ensure that your content is translated into their native languages and that the right keywords are used for those search engines. Their algorithms are similar to those of Google, but everything must be in the native language. If you have your website already set up as multilingual with Google, searchers in foreign countries who do use Google can still find you.

SEO for Foreign Audiences is Not Optional

If your website is configured only in English, you are losing out on audiences that your competition is reaching. Exactly how you get this done is, of course, the key to success. The process will involve such elements as country codes, hreflang tags, generic top-level domains (gTLD’s), automatic re-directs, translations of backlinks, etc. Most business owners and/or content marketers are not expert in these activities. Of course, you can learn by doing and using some of the great tools out there to develop and SEO-friendly multilingual site. But this takes time and the learning curve can be a bit lengthy.

Getting the Help You Need

The right translation and localization of your website for SEO purposes is certainly key to success in targeted markets. However, be mindful that it is not simply SEO that factors into that success.

If you want to reach out to foreign audiences effectively and quickly, your best move will be to hire a bilingual expert for each of your target languages. Select a few languages in the beginning. Trying to go everywhere at once is a pretty major undertaking, whether your targets are specific countries or demographics that have language preferences in a number of different countries. In making those selections, you will need to look at the competition, both locally and among your own competitors who have moved into those markets. Again, if you rely on a bilingual expert who can conduct that research and recommend countries or language demographics in which there is a gap in supply, you will have found the first languages to target.



Elisa Abbot completed a degree in Computer Science. She finished her study last year but is already a true expert when it comes to presenting a text in a creative and understandable manner. Elisa also is a good friend of TrustMyPaper and Studicus where she gladly shares her notes for writing blog posts and does some editing. Elisa is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for tips to share with her readers.