How to Target Your Audience for French SEO

July 9, 2023

Many businesses look forward to expanding into new countries, but not all have the correct tools. A multilingual agency that can help you deal with this situation is vital to reach every client correctly.

Understanding how to target your audience for French SEO is crucial for boosting your online visibility and attracting relevant traffic. Get valuable insights and strategies on how a marketing agency can help you tailor your SEO efforts.

Why Should You Focus on the French Market?

There are many benefits for a company considering launching its products or services on the French market. Running an SEO campaign there can come with tremendous help, especially since this country has been developing a strong economy where almost 90% of its people use the Internet.

Another critical aspect that makes this market so profitable is its population. French is the tenth most widely spoken language around the globe, with the fifth largest economy. In 2022, France ranked third in Internet user numbers, only behind Germany and the United Kingdom in Europe.

These numbers show that stepping into this region can be very beneficial for business, and hiring a multilingual SEO agency to help with the process can be a good start.

Tips to Run an SEO Campaign in France

Like in almost every place in the world, Google dominates the search engine platform searches. This can significantly simplify things, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s possible to implement any local SEO strategy. These are some tips that every business should know:

Know French Users’ Behavior

One of the golden rules of search engine optimization is avoiding word clusters consisting of two languages. Choose the French ones instead of the English-French sentences. Otherwise, you can confuse the website users and Google robots.

Avoid Literal Translations

It is imperative to know that specific phrases or keyword sentences will not work the same way they do in a particular country. Not every picked option works correctly in the French market, making translations and examinations more slow and cautious.

Agencies need to examine synonyms frequently used not only in official speech but also colloquial to find the most suitable words.

Acknowledge Regional Diversity

Selecting keywords suitable for the language might not be the only issue when working with French SEO. Like many other places, terms may vary depending on the region where the language is being spoken. This makes certain products be sold with different names, even in the same brand.

To aim for as many customers as possible, a company must address this complication and remember that some changes will be mandatory.

Translation Takes More Space

The space issue is one of the easiest-to-detect problems that will appear when translating content from English to French. Piles of text translated into this new language can take up a very noticeable space which can present some doubts.

Focus on Link Building

Link database is of extreme importance when working with French SEO. Its emphasis on the role of link building in the whole process has high priority, and both agencies and businesses need to work together to provide links with the highest quality possible.

How to Run a French SEO Strategy Outside France

Learning tips for running an SEO campaign in France is a very good start to start with the right foot into this market, but it’s essential to address that this doesn’t apply to all regions. Just like some regions of France have differences from others, not every French-speaking country uses the same norms.

Customizing your strategy for specific countries requires understanding their regional differences, search behaviors, and cultural nuances. These are some considerations to tailor your approach for Canada (Québec), Belgium, Switzerland, and other French-speaking regions:

Make the Most Out of Keyword Research

Marketing agencies need to conduct keyword research specific to each country or region. Identifying the popular search terms and phrases used by the local audience will provide the best options to pick. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush are the best to do so.

Adapt to the Place

When optimizing your website, it’s vital that content is correctly targeting that country. This includes translating and localizing your content to match the dialect, idioms, and cultural references used in each region. Ensure that content resonates with the local audience by addressing their specific needs.

For example, in Canada (Québec), French is spoken with specific regionalisms and phrases that differ from European French. Tailor your content accordingly to address these differences and avoid potential misunderstandings.

Choose Country-Specific Domains

Consider using country-specific top-level domains (TLDs) like .fr for France, .ca for Canada, .be for Belgium and .ch for Switzerland. This can significantly help to improve a website’s visibility in local search results and gain the trust of the local audience.

Make Use of Google My Business

Creating and optimizing Google My Business listings for each country or region can be of great help. Provide accurate and detailed information about the business, including address, phone number, and opening hours.

Employing this method can encourage customers to leave reviews, as they can positively impact local search rankings.

Use Social Media Localization

Adapt social media strategies to each target country or region. Research the most popular social media platforms used in each area and create localized content that aligns with their preferences and cultural references. Engaging with local communities and influencers can also help to expand your reach.

Other Important Aspects to Address

Besides the already mentioned complexities that can be found in the French language, there are other linguistic aspects that must be taken into consideration when writing:


Among the many differences between English and French, accents are one of the most clear. This language has four accents and can be placed on the vowels (é, è, ê, and ë, for example).

When searching online, French users are known for not using them, with the only exception of the acute accent being normalized (é). This makes that most search engines, even Google, don’t consider them. It can have a clear impact on ranking, meaning that hundreds of results may vary based on pronunciation.

For example, searching the term “cinema Paris” on would provide 199,000 results; meanwhile, “cinéma Paris” would return 276,000.

That’s why keyword research from agencies is vital. These experts determine which one you should target, between the accented and non-accented versions. Still, it’s recommended that accents are used in titles and body text since poor grammar tends to influence people to leave the site.


The French language has two ways of referring to “you”: “tu” and “Vous.” Tu is a more casual way to do so, used between friends and families. However, many brands use it to appeal to young people and seem more relatable.

On the other hand, Vous is way more formal and is used to refer to a group of people. Brands also use this term when developing traditional business styles. Most customers expect this form of address to be used.

Acknowledging these differences is essential, especially in developing a brand personality. Going for “tu” makes sense when promoting a rebellious or youth brand. For other businesses, banks, and other more serious matters, “vous” is a must to avoid being offensive.


The punctuation rules for the French language are also very different from English. Spaces always precede each exclamation and question mark. Meanwhile, colons have a space both before and after them. While this can be considered irrelevant, it is imperative to address it.

The very noticeable numerical difference is also evident. British use commas as thousand separators and full stops as decimal separators. Meanwhile, French people use spaces as thousand separators and commas as decimal separators. In addition, the currency sign is always placed at the end of the price.

These small details might seem insignificant, but they are crucial distinctions, especially for those planning to launch e-commerce. Localized phone numbers also vary since French write them in sets of two digits: 01 23 45 67 89, for example.


Many businesses think of France to launch products or services because it is a very economical and powerful country with a considerable population. Also, its widely spoken language worldwide is another plus factor that encourages companies to implement French SEO strategies.

Still, entering this new marketing process can be overwhelming, and hiring a marketing agency like Kala capable of multilingual SEO is vital. These services are critical since they can prevent your brand from failing and attract many new customers to the fold.

At the same time, you’ll also need to acknowledge specific differences that can make the learning curve of French more difficult. Knowing the correct way of using accents, formality, punctuation, and more is vital to reaching your desired audience the right way.

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