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International SEO – Using Language Targeting Still Has Kinks
Globally situated businesses heavily rely on consumer interactivity from one end of the globe to another. One major problem that’s arising, however, is that Russian businesses cannot properly reach Peruvian customers due to language constraints, costing potentially lucrative business contracts across the global business schema.
Search engines tend to treat multilingual businesses strictly on location bases instead of displaying search results in their counterpart’s native tongue.
Thanks to our current economic hiatus, businesses nearly have no choice but to reach out towards globally positioned markets to obtain large ‘pools’ of consumers. To deal with websites which only speak one tongue, specific ideologies have been considered, tried, and have failed miserably.
Here are some potentially great international SEO ideas which implement simple code changes or subcarpets.
Tactic #1: Subcarpet domains
Many international SEO pros believed that adding country-specific extensions would cure the language issues since the TLD’s would simply append the /COUNTRY to it. Or they would even create hundreds of subdomains like jp.sitename.com to signify Japanese could access this page. Now search engine specialists could simply optimize the subdomain which would increase the main domain’s authority. Here are some major drawbacks that we found:
Sub-carpets contain less geopower than regular country coded TLD’s (such as www.yoursite.co.jp) and hence would be increasingly difficult to rank highly.
Some visitors find more trust through clicking on ccTLD’s
If any portion of your sub-carpeted domain is penalized through Penguin or Panda, it whacks your entire domain.
There are positives and negatives which can comparatively create enough controversy within a business to at least try optimizing subcarpets. This definitely needs the kinks ironed out of them before becoming a prevalent international SEO method that help businesses who struggle in surviving the algorithm.
Tactic #2: Translate each country targeted
Some professional optimization specialists believe simply translating the entire website into the language(s) being targeted would suffice. Although this makes reading the content perhaps easier, wasting the time or money would definitely not be frugal for smaller businesses trying to get on the map. This is due impart to:
Native websites are naturally available in English in nearly every country;
MSN and Google have site translation tools
Trusting the translation happened with accuracy is your word versus the company or individual who translated your content.
On the flip side, translating your content would work perfectly for optimizing translated keywords and building domain authority. You’d have great success optimizing a camion (truck) in Spanish-speaking search engines and perhaps build better keyword recognition whereas in America that keyword ranks rather loosely.
Tactic #3: rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”
Perhaps the newest and yet-to-be-perfected method that international SEO pros are using is telling the search engines that content is meant for alternate sources, more specifically for ‘x’ language. Now people can turn on country specific searches and render results which still pull your website high in rank.
Now the Russians can market in Egypt without worrying about altering site language yet still reach the intended audience. Here is more about this special HTML markup addition, supported by Google and soon to be a major factor in debunking myths about SEO across the world.
Google originally accepted this markup to XML sitemaps simply to make their crawling job easier. They now widely adopt this special coding notation considering your XML sitemap already contains the relevant linkage necessary to index country-specific pages.
Many people praise this markup because it simply makes sense for easier SEO – and certain companies are offering hreflang XML Sitemap generators to make your job simplified.
Perhaps the biggest gorilla for international SEO professionals to tame is how the snippets are appearing in searches. Instead of the title and description becoming altered to each country’s native language, the only portion changing is the link. While having an accurately displayed link is important, the sense of total locality is being robbed by this markup.
Because of this, Google is summoning engineers to the ISS Munich to deliver in-depth canonicalization instructions for easier implementation into page codes.
Other people are simply reporting this code implementation as “doesn’t properly work”, which is due partially to improperly structured XML sitemaps and possibly errant Google coding implementations. It’s really new, so the only true way you’ll know this coding addition will work for international SEO efforts is to sandbox test it.
Other Multilingual SEO Tips Which Work For International SEO
Since giving tips on widely used search engine optimization methods wouldn’t produce frugal results for anyone, here are other tips which we’ve tried, researched and played with and do work depending on your business and willingness to put forth effort in optimization.
Language Optimize Vernacular Terminology
People who search for slang terms while using Google can be language targeted easily simply by optimizing those keywords on-site. If someone is searching for loot instead of money, our Spanish friends would find you by searching for ganos. Not everyone is looking for dictionary-specific terms and your content should reflect this fact.
Link To Specific Language Content
Taken straight from Google’s playbook, it’s great practice to crosslink each specific content language together since people who speak Finnish will not understand Tagalog yet would easily find their Finnish link so content can be read. Google heavily favors multilingual pages and sites while also giving heavy examples of how to correctly pull it off.
It’s suggested to never use redirects to get users to their native language as this simply causes search confusion and will probably make GoogleBot miss half your pages.
If you’re using translation bots to get multilingual content across your site and optimized for Google, you’ll more than likely be seen as spam. Therefore, you should always spring for translation services, even if you deploy freelancing services like Odesk to hire cheap translators.
Upon translation, avoid duplicate content penalizations by canonicalization of URL’s which were translated while another option would be the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”source language” tag because it separates content and lets Google know you’ve simply altered the language of your native content.
Remember when translating dates and times to use the native country’s standard of timekeeping since Google will simply ignore pages which are improperly written.
Choose Hosting Wisely
Believe it or not, simply hosting your website inside the country which you intend to target could work miracles for international SEO since you’ll already be optimizing content in English, and Google will see your content both in English and German, for example. This does mean that it would be much easier to have 10 hosting accounts if you intend on operating within 10 countries.
Increase International SEO Inbound Links
This tip is relatively self-explanatory; you’ll want to increase your inbound linking tactics specific to each country you target, leading to their country-specific page. If running on subdomains, you’ll increase the authority of your TLD simply by adhering to this link building tactic.
Remember that new methods, like the hreflang=”x” tag which separates websites into country-specific genres, isn’t entirely perfected and all tips or tactics given within this article should be used at your discretion. Most of these ideologies are currently being implemented while others have yet to be fully prevalent within Google’s expansive algorithm.
Use discretion, Analytics, and other how-to’s provided by Google to make your international SEO efforts easier as new methods are introduced, unkinked then used by the masses.