Preface: Multilingual and international SEO sites
When it comes to international and multilingual SEO sites(multiregional SEO) you have gone a step further. The reason for this is quite clear. Multilingual sites are very large and complex, and therefore require the expertise of a very professional search engine. If you are involved in SEO and optimization of an international site, you will have to redesign the site strategies for users of different languages and locations.
Fortunately, we have comprehensively reviewed international and multilingual SEO sites(multiregional SEO). So even if this is the first time you want to do so, there is a list of SEO measures that will keep you from making mistakes. Keep in mind that international SEO factors are constantly changing and you need to keep yourself updated with the latest changes to avoid irreparable mistakes.
What is International and Multilingual Website SEO(Multiregional SEO)?
Multilingual SEO is a set of actions to optimize the site in different languages. International SEO is also a set of actions taken to optimize content for a wide range of users in different geographic locations.
These two types of SEO and optimization often overlap. That’s why we’ve included them in one story. These two topics are also related to other online marketing topics such as conversion rate optimization, click advertising and content marketing.
Where are your target locations?
The first thing to ask yourself is which places are you targeting? Then you need to specify the languages you want with these locations. This part of the work is vital because it affects the whole project.
Domain structure and URL
After selecting the languages and regions, it’s time to determine your URL and domain structure.
According to the official Google Seo Blog, a multilingual site based on its pages is difficult to do, so it makes sense to segment the site for different geographic areas using a proper URL structure from the beginning.
We suggest that you design the site structure based on users’ locations to make the project easier to continue. Before defining the structure of a website, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the domain and URL structure.
ccTLDs (example: example.de, example.fr)
- Specified geographic area
- Unrelated server location
- Easy web separation
- Need for legal procedures in some cases
- Problem with the unavailability of domains
- Need more infrastructure
- Require ccTLD (in some cases)
Subdomain with gTLDs (example: de.site.com, fr.site.com)
- Easy setup
- Using webmaster tools
- Buy servers in different places
- Easy separation of websites
- Users unable to identify location via URL
Subcategories with gTLDs (example: site.com/de/, site.com/fr/)
- Easy setup
- Using webmaster tools
- Low maintenance cost (using a host)
- Users unable to identify location via URL
- There is only one place for the server
- Difficult to separate sites
URL parameters (example: site.com?loc=de,? Country = France)
- None (this mode is not recommended)
- Difficult to separate URLs
- Users unable to identify location via URL
- Unable to use webmaster tools
We have briefly outlined the most well-known advantages and disadvantages of ULSs, but which one is better for you?
Choosing the best approach is the goal of the website and the affiliates who are in a particular geographic location. Also, the SEO and marketing methods available can be effective in this choice. The first option is valid from Google’s perspective and can be your first choice. However, subdomains and subcategories have their advantages.
Important Information About TLDs (Top Level Domain)
Some domains are public and others are country-specific. According to Google, such public domain (gTLD) domains are not private to the country. Google treats the following gTLD domains in such a way that they can be targeted to a specific area on their webmasters.
Public Domains (gTLDs)
Regional Domains (rTLDs)
According to Google, these domains are linked to a specific area, but they are treated as public domains.
General country domains (gccTLDs)
Below are the ccTLDs domains listed. Keep in mind that Google is constantly changing this list.
Subdomain or subcategories
We think the best choice for very large sites is from the subdomain structure or subcategory. From a multiregional SEO perspective, having multiple domains (TLDs) can make things very messy. According to Google:
[jv_quote style = “default” width = “0”] If your time and resources are limited, create a country-independent domain and host different language versions. In this case you can choose from the following two options:
- Put the content specific to each language into a subdomain(multiregional SEO). For example, you can assign subdomains en.example.com, de.example.com and es.example.com for English, German and Spanish.
- Divide the content specific to each language into different subcategories(multiregional SEO). This will be more effective in updating the site. For example, you can use examples.com/en/, example.com/de/, and example.com/es/ for English, German, and Spanish. [/ Jv_quote]
Subcategories are available in many of our selection modes. It is easier to implement and the existence of each subdirectory increases the overall credibility of the domain. But if content separation is a higher priority for you, the subdomain option will be better for you.
ccTLD and geolocation on Google’s webmaster
The use of country domains (ccTLDs) gives Google a strong signal about what sites you are targeting and there will be no problem with that. The problem with selecting such domains on international and multiregional SEO s is that optimizing each domain will be separate and require separate efforts. This is why many webmasters prefer multilingual sites, subdomains and subcategories.
However, there is no need to use country domains for a particular country. Google Webmaster Toulouse allows you to manually select your target country. To set up your area of interest in Tulse Webmaster, follow these steps:
- On the Google Tulsi webmaster page, click on the website you want.
- In the Site configuration menu, click Settings.
- Navigate to the Geographic target section and select the country you want.
If your site is not going to be specific to a specific country, choose Unlisted.
If you restrict your multilingual site to Google’s webmasters, your content may not be well represented in search results and many users will miss your target.
Multilingual site server location
Many people think that the physical location of an international web server is very important, but with the new technologies that have been used in recent years, the importance of this has diminished.
According to a Google statement:
[jv_quote style = "default" width = "0"]
The server location is usually close to the target users’ location. Many websites, however, take advantage of CDN technology or are hosted in a country with strong Triassic infrastructure facilities. So we try not to just rely on the server location. [/ Jv_quote]
In years gone by, this was not the case and server location was relatively important. But as technology evolves, this is no longer the case.
Specify landing pages with the Hreflang tag
The Hreflang tag is to help Google identify landing pages for users of any geographic location. This tag is used when you have multiple language versions of a page so that each user will see a translation matching their language.
According to Google, there are three ways to execute this tag:
- HTML link in header: In the <head> section of http://example.com/en, link to the English version at http://example.com/en as follows:
<link rel = "alternate" hreflang = "en" href = "http://example.com/en" />
- HTTP Header: If your published content is not HTML (like PDF), you can use the following HTTP header to point to a specific URL’s URL:
Link: <http://example.com/en>; rel = "alternate"; hreflang = ”en”
- Site Map: Instead of using tags, you can include links to each language on the site map.
People often use the first, third, or both options to refer to different language versions. Note that there are also special hreflang tags for different languages and places. for example:
- de: German-language content, independent of user location
- en-GB: English content for users in the UK
- de-ES: German content for users in Spain
You can use the Aleydasolis ( hreflang Tags Generator Tool) site for easy production of hreflang tags.
The default value for the Hreflang tag
What happens if the user is from a country or language with no landing page defined? You might prefer to move it to the home page of the site or to a page that determines the language of the site itself.
Using a new tag that Google calls x-default, a default page can be assigned to users whose location is not on our list. When defining the hreflang tag, it is also possible to define the x-default tag to specify the default page for such users. In this case, your tag set can be as HTML links:
<link rel = "alternate" href = "http://example.com/en-gb" hreflang = "en-gb" /> <link rel = "alternate" href = "http://example.com/en-us" hreflang = "en-us" /> <link rel = "alternate" href = "http://example.com/en-au" hreflang = "en-au" /> <link rel = "alternate" href = "http://example.com/" hreflang = "x-default" />
In this example, the http://example.com page will be the default page for users outside the UK, US, and Australia.
The main components of On-page SEO
It is advisable that the basic SEO elements such as the title and the meta description for each language are independent of each other and not repeated. Be careful in choosing the format of the site so you can define the following parameters individually for each language and location, depending on how big your website is:
- page title
- Meta description
- Internal links
IP Detection and User-Agent User
User-agent detection is a process in which the user device is identified and the content is sent to the device accordingly. The user’s IP detection also helps the site’s content be sent to the user’s device according to its physical location. If this system is implemented correctly, the site bounce rate will decrease and the site conversion rate will improve. The user will also find the content they want faster.
The following is a Google statement on this:
Use HTTP Redirect
HTTP redirects are generally used to redirect users to a version tailored to their device. Redirects are usually based on user-agent users in HTTP headers. This type of redirect should always be constant and listed with a rel = “alternate” link on the site map. In this case, type 301 or 302 redirects do not matter.
Consider rel = author and rel = publisher
Nowadays rel = author and rel = publisher can be implemented in any site and take advantage of it. This is a very broad topic, but here we are going to share some international SEO tips and multilingual sites related to this issue.
Rel = author
Putting rel = author in all versions of a multilingual site along with its benefits can also cause problems. Putting the author’s name on all language versions is not a good thing, and it seems a bit unusual. The best solution is to further analyze the requirements and display rel = author for specific language versions of a story. In general, your strategy for using it should be clear.
rel = publisher
Using rel = publisher will make your site more beautiful in search results and can have a good impact on your clickthrough rate. The use of this relay should also be very clever to take advantage of its benefits.
Pay attention to duplicate pages
Duplicate content is one of the most common problems on websites. Initially, if you have multiple pages with identical content on your site or your site content has been copied to other sites, Google will select one of these pages and display as a winner in the search results. On international and multilingual sites, this can be a huge problem, since almost identical versions of content are loaded at different addresses for places and languages.
The good news here is that if you use hreflang and x-default correctly, you won’t have duplicate content problems. In the past, queries had to use rel = canonical, block pages in robots.txt and other ways to avoid this problem.
Which CMS is best for international sites and multiregional SEO?
The most popular content management systems, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, all have options to build international, multilingual websites that do not cause problems with their multiregional SEO and shared databases.
Having a shared database, in the long run, is a big plus. These content management systems allow you to manage all the subdomains and subcategories with a single database. This feature means that updates to any part of the site, deletion or addition of a product, as well as price correction, are automatically applied to all versions.
This saves time and prevents inadvertent errors such as not clearing a product in one version. A shared database lets you link pages in each language and reaps the SEO benefits of this method.
If you want to translate an existing website into different languages instead of building a multilingual website from scratch, you can use the people involved. Provided your content management system is capable of supporting multilingualism. If your site’s content management system does not support multilingualism, you will have three options:
- Replace the existing website with a multilingual content(multiregional SEO) management system.
- Move all website code to the new site and translate everything.
- Launch translated websites with separate management systems.
Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages and you can choose one of these depending on your circumstances.
International and multilingual SEO sites(multiregional SEO) are constantly changing. So always keep your information up to date and adapt to new ways. Multilingual SEOs require a strong team and a lot of support, so hire efficient staff first.
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