SEO translation is a much bigger task than most brands appreciate until they are deep into implementing their strategy. Unfortunately, many of the challenges you face with multilingual SEO are difficult to address if you do not set things up correctly in the first place – and this causes problems for a lot of international businesses.
By failing to tackle certain issues early on, you are not only putting yourself at an SEO disadvantage, but also leaving yourself in a position where putting things right is going to be time-consuming and/or costly. In this article, we are looking at six of the most common SEO translation challenges you need to fix from day one.
6 costly SEO translation mistakes to avoid
Multilingual SEO is not merely a language conundrum, it is also a technical issue that impacts the way you need to set up your website, how you code it and the way you approach content marketing – not to mention the usual SEO requirements.
To make this complex issue as simple as possible, make sure you address these SEO translation essentials as soon as possible:
- Website domain structure: A multilingual website is actually multiple websites linked together and the structure you use to link these different versions is very important – something that is difficult to change at a later date, too, so make sure you understand the pros and cons of each approach.
- Localising your website at the code level: You do not want to edit the same piece of code on every page of your site for minute changes (e.g. fonts, background colour, etc.). You want to be able to make these changes from one place and apply them everywhere, which requires a specific approach to localising your website code.
- Multilingual keyword research: Translating keywords does not always work and there are various instances where you need to conduct fresh keyword research in each target language.
- Localising your content strategy: Just like keywords, simply translating your existing content into other languages is not always going to get the results you need. You need to localise your content strategy and pinpoint scenarios where unique content is required for each target audience.
- Technical SEO translation: Multilingual SEO comes with its own technical SEO requirements, such as using Hreflang tags, canonical tags and other markup to help search engines understand which piece of content to deliver to each audience. Getting these aspects wrong could result in content not ranking or even get you penalised for duplicate content – something you definitely want to avoid.
- Platform localisation: Google is the world’s top search engine, but this is not the case in every country (e.g. China, Russia, South Korea, etc.) and search engines are not the only place your content is being published – you also need to think about which social networks are most popular with each target audience, which advertising platforms you should integrate and where your outreach/guest blogging opportunities are going to be.
The full list of SEO translation requirements is much larger than the six points raised above, but these are the most common issues we see brands overlook in the early days of multilingual SEO that come back to bite them later on.
Get started on the right track with SEO translation
All of the SEO translation challenges listed above can be dealt with effectively, as long as you are aware of them and address them quickly enough. The problem for a lot of international brands is they do not realise these issues exist or put them off until it is too late. Everything you do with website structure, code and content creation has SEO consequences and many of these are difficult to change at a later date.
At the very best, you can replace certain things, but this means you lose any SEO ranking you previously had and you will have to start again from scratch, which is highly inefficient.
In worse cases, you will have to completely dismantle your website or content marketing strategy (both time consuming and expensive) and then start from scratch. This is why it is so important to start off on the right foot and keep things moving in the right direction.
If you have any doubts about this, get in touch with our SEO translation experts for advice today.