What is Multilingual SEO and How Can It Help Your Business?

March 16, 2023

A company sometimes needs to apply specific methods to increase its visibility to succeed. One of them is setting up a multi-language website that can drive traffic from various countries into it. To do so, considering acquiring the services of a multilingual SEO agency is vital.

What is Multilingual SEO?

It is the act of optimizing the content on your website for different languages to become searchable and expand into new markets. This allows even more users to find your site organically worldwide.

While most of the Internet uses American English, it’s important to remark that English is the world’s third most widely spoken language. This means multilingual techniques can pay off much to reach the widest audience possible, such as expanding to French, German, English or Spanish SEO

While many are tempted to use sites like Google Translate for it, the reality is that the only way to achieve good results is through a dedicated multilingual strategy. This applies in both terms of translation quality and search engine optimization.

How to Plan a Multilingual Strategy?

After deciding to adopt a multilingual strategy for a website, knowing how to plan and execute the process is vital. However, some things need to be considered to start.

Any search engine optimization strategy must start with understanding the company’s audience and search habits. The targeted countries might have different searches when compared to your native place, making it harder to analyze. Making sure to have the related data to it can be helpful.

Among the different habits that countries all around the world have, the following ones should be considered:

  • Building backlinks: addressing how to do more link-building in other countries and finding multilingual markets can boost visibility.
  • Content strategy and search terms: some content greatly benefits from localization, making it more successful in pulling an audience to its related territory.
  • Statistics: using Google Analytics and other geotargeting methods aids in identifying where traffic is coming to the website, as well as percentages from searchers and more.
  • E-commerce: for companies running international stores that ship worldwide, considering other currencies and how they meet the needs of different markets is a good starting point for SEO.
  • Pages and SERPS: analyze how web browsers look in other languages and test how search queries are displayed in different languages of Google Search.

Those tips are great for testing and acknowledging how multilingual SEO can work and improve a website’s audience worldwide.

Acquiring the services of agencies like Kala can also help your brand and engage better with your viewers through this process. Thanks to experts in the area, you can expand your operations into new regions with localization and optimization after booking a meeting.

Tips to Improve Multilingual SEO

Many tips can be employed to optimize a site’s rankings with success. All of them can help you ensure that your website is not only optimized for SEO but also useful for native readers of each language:

Using Dedicated URLs

One of the main issues of multilingual sites is duplicate content. While not all the same content is detrimental, some can appear within multiple URLs, leading to penalties such as lowered rankings or deindexed.

To avoid duplicating these related complicated, Google’s best practices recommend using dedicated URLs that include language indicators for each one. 

International search engines and users can identify the language from the URL alone. For example, an original page might be www.example.com, while the French version could be www.example.com/fr/.

Some issues, such as misinterpretation, can still appear even with a language indicator. That’s why defining URL parameters is critical to ensure your site is SEO-compatible.

Applying Tags

Aside from language indicators, Google also uses a feature called “hreflang tags” to help determine the page’s language and its intended region. These tags can be placed in the header section of the original page or submitted via a sitemap.

If a website is intended for multiple regions, multiple hreflang attributes can also be added. Still, most experts avoid using it because the process is complicated and time-consuming, particularly for beginners.

Sticking to a Language per Page

Translating some areas of a page may be tempting instead of doing a complete translation. Keeping some areas in their original language (such as navigation text) while changing user-generated content, forum discussions, and comments might sound good, but it is not the best idea.

Multiple languages on the same website could dilute the user experience, bringing up many issues. For example, a visitor could understand their reading content but would have trouble navigating through the page because it’s in a different language.

In addition, having discussions and comments written in different languages can result in them losing their context and being confusing or frustrating.

Translating Metadata

Every multilingual website must ensure all content is translated, even outside the site. Metadata is also crucial to a website, even if it’s not inside. This text helps sites rank better between the new countries you’re trying to target.

Sometimes it is not a simple task where translating word by word works. Keywords differ in different languages, meaning you’ll need to conduct international SEO keyword research for that new target market.

Optimizing a Website’s Accessibility

Another straightforward task to realize that can help you understand what multilingual SEO is and how it can help your page is improving loading times. How long it takes for your website to load has become a critical factor in the rankings for years.

It means that putting effort into making a website load faster will undoubtedly influence the traffic you’re getting, mainly if it’s a slow page (more than 3 seconds of loading time).

To speed up these processes, there are simple but significant changes that can be done to make a site load smoother and quicker:

These optimizations are technical but can be easily implemented without the need to change a lot of lines of code.

Other Important Practices to Know

Among the recommended tips, other practices are often overlooked, but, if implemented, can increase and help a website:

Using self-referencing URLs

A self-reference is very important for a page where its code is implemented. For example, if the hreflang tag is being placed on a page for the United States and the German or British ones are also referenced, the American one must also be listed.

Forgetting to include the self-referenced one is a common mistake many make when working with international and multilingual SEO.

Knowing What Browser Supports Its Methods

Knowing that engines like Google and Yandex fully support Hreflang tags is vital, but it’s also fundamental to acknowledge that some aren’t meant to be used for it. An excellent example is Bing and Baidu, which recommend using the content-language tag in the HTML section instead.

Doing so tells the web browsers the language of the specific page, but it is impossible to list alternate URLs.


Knowing what multilingual SEO is is a significant step toward going in the right direction regarding website optimization. Delivering the best service and resources to visitors to read and check your site helps to increase traffic and also revenue, among many other things.

Once all of these tips are addressed, it can help to boost rankings and improve the overall user experience for anyone interested.

The services provided by Kala Agency can greatly help this process, not only because they can boost and raise your rankings but also expand your audience. In addition, Multilingual SEO brands a business for speakers in their native language worldwide, allowing them to understand your page and buy your products.

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