8 Tips to Boost Your Website’s International SEO

SEO | 28-07-2021 | Shiela Pulido

8 tips to boost your website’s international seo

In this article, we will discuss 8 tips on how you can boost your website’s international SEO if you’re planning to make your website more available to the global market. According to a survey of 3,000 online shoppers conducted by CSA Research, it found that 60% rarely or never buys from websites that are English-only. Yikes! That’s some shocking information.

It makes you wonder how many potential customers you’ve lost by not making your website “internationally-friendly” through simply not having a multilingual website? But you might be thinking, where should I start? If you want to learn more about how you could get started in boosting your website’s international SEO, keep on reading.

So, let’s begin with tip number one!

1. Research, research, research

When you’re getting into international SEO research, you have to consider the keyword research to the audience you want to attract to your website. At first, it can get overwhelming when you start out researching for International SEO because there are many considerations such as international keyword research, building up your multilingual website, coding, etc. When conducting research, you should have a clear goal and a set of objectives to create your website for a wider audience. Also, you have to get an idea about the current condition of the market you want to get into.

And part of that planning and research involves our next tip:

2. Define your target locales and languages

We first recommend that you conduct market research of the demographic groups that often visit your website. Once you’ve found your target audience, look into your competitors in the international market and see how they’re promoting their products and services to the locales you want to target. After you identify your locales, you research their languages, your customers’ preferences, and local nuances in the region or country you wish to target. You can do all of this by conducting a feasibility study.

A quick tip: If you’re tight on a budget before you can start making your website multilingual, you can conduct a feasibility study that focuses on the demographic groups that often visit your site. And then, you can translate your website into their native language. After some time, once you have more budget, you can add more languages to your website's features.

3. You have the option to directly translate

Once you’ve done your research on your target locale, you can have your website directly translated. When considering website translation, you can hire freelance translators to translate the content of your website if you’re planning to translate to only a few languages. But suppose you’re planning to translate to a wide variety of languages. In that case, you can hire a translation company that can easily incorporate their computer-assisted tools (CAT) and translation and localization tools into your website’s interface and program. Or you might also want to avail Machine Translation. Whatever your decision, when it comes to website translation, be sure that it’s within the realm of your budget and preparations.

When considering a company that offers website translation, see to it that they can provide a wide range of languages and smoothly implement them in your website’s program.

4. Prep your website for multilingual use

When preparing for website translation, you should consider the international standards when discussing the technical aspect of your website, like coding, web hosting, etc. It is essential that when talking about international SEO that you have to consider the hreflang tags. These tags are needed when you want to feature a language, and you want native speakers of that language to find it on Google and other search engine websites easily. The ccTLD is another factor when planning to make your website multilingual and accessible to your locale target in a region or country. Based on this article by Moz, there’s a clear distinction between targeting a language speaker and targeting a user from another country. False associations can be problematic. If you’re planning to make your website accessible to language speakers, have the feature written. Don’t use flags not unless you’re targeting a specific country.

5. Don’t have a CMS? Look for a localization platform

But first, what is a CMS? According to Hubspot, Content Management System (CMS) is a software application that allows you to create and manage your website’s code without directly working on it. Having a CMS is an easier way for many to create, modify, manage, and post their content in a user-friendly interface.

But if you don’t have a CMS, we suggest why not look into a localization platform. When you decide to use localization platforms for your website, you have to look into the technical setup of the platform because sometimes a platform is not available in every country. We advise that you carefully look into the features being offered and if they coincide with your plans for your website.

6. Localize when necessary

Localizing and turning your website multilingual can be expensive, from the market research to the coding of your website. For this very reason, we had research as our first tip. When you were conducting your market research and feasibility study, you should have also looked at what international market your goods or services would be profitable. From there, you can start having a plan in what’s the most cost-effective and efficient way you can proceed to create a multilingual website.

7. Thinking of using Machine Translation? Make sure it has post-editing

In this day and age, Machine Translation (MT) has come a long way. It’s more intuitive and advanced than ever before. However, if you’re planning to use MT, we suggest using Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) because, unlike regular MT, they’re more accurate and flow better, which makes it more clear. Not only that, but MTPE is more culturally sensitive and flexible in using slang and local terms. But this MTPE still has limitations, and there’s a reason why translation companies still hire translators despite having these advanced technologies. It’s because language is complex, and some nuances can get lost in translation if you’re not careful.

8. Don’t forget to test and retest

This final tip is crucial. Because you have to make sure that your website is running correctly, it'll be embarrassing if your webpage is loading and it appears "404 not found" on your customer's screen. Website testing involves the process of testing your website if it has any unwanted issues and defects in a wide range of devices. Part of the testing consists of the usability, accessibility, performance, and functionality of your website. Another aspect of the testing, you should consider if your international SEO is working correctly and that your prospects can see you on the SERPs. After you've conducted all of this, we suggest that you have others test out your website and if you could get a test audience for the various languages that your website features, that would be great. Even if you have conducted the necessary research on your target audience, it's always good to double-check if you missed any cultural context or nuisances in creating your website more available to a broader audience.

Final Thoughts

English might be the most widely used language, but that doesn’t mean everyone can understand it. If you’re planning to expand your audience to an international audience, you have to consider many things. Because of this, it takes a lot of time, patience, and money, but once you see the outcome of your website being more available to a global audience, it will be worth it.

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Shiela Pulido

Shiela May Pulido is a Content Manager at Tomedes.