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Search engine optimisation (SEO) is as important to your marketing efforts as marketing in general is to your business: without it, failure is inevitable. Brits alone spent £44.97 billion online in 2014, and growth of 16.2 per cent is expected by the end of this year, so it’s obvious that being visible on the web – and more specifically, in search engine results pages (SERPs) – is of crucial importance. That’s exactly what SEO can promote.
Making your way to page one of the Google search results is everyone’s aim, but is also a lot easier said than done. It requires skill and knowledge, along with a fair bit of patience – even more so if you are operating internationally, and that’s where multilingual SEO comes in.
Multilingual SEO is what you’d probably expect it to be: the use of various techniques to help a website rank higher in the results pages of sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo, but taking more than one language into account. This means translating SEO-friendly content from one tongue to another, without losing all of the elements that cause the page to rank highly. It must, then, going by Google’s latest standards, still contain the right keywords and useful links.
Above all, though, it still has to offer value. Something that’s important in one country, for instance, might not be so valuable in another. Or worse, it could cause offence. This clearly wouldn’t be good for rankings – or reputation.
International SEO also encompasses the effective configuration of domain and URL structure, with geo-targeting and the separation of regional sites considered, but we’ll stick to the language side of things here.
In order to keep up with positive trends and stay one step ahead of the negative ones, Google regularly changes its ranking factors, so something that benefitted a site last year may not have the same impact now. This is why it’s not enough to just have an ability to translate copy from one language to another, and the need to understand exactly what you’re working with on both sides of the translation process is why it’s not sufficient to just be an SEO specialist. For the best results, you need a mix of both.
Multilingual SEO may seem like a lot of effort, but if that’s the case, why are so many businesses going out of their way to get it right?
It’s easier now than it has ever been to start a business – all it really takes is a computer, an internet connection and a PayPal account. Of course, success necessitates a lot of hard work, but the foundations are there. The same is true when it comes to operating internationally.
Thanks to the power of the internet, businesses are increasingly operating across borders, making the most of thriving new markets around the world. We know this because at Brightlines Translation we have seen a significant growth in the number of companies turning to us for help.
We’ve provided multilingual SEO for large organisations from a range of different industries, including Hilton Worldwide, Mattel, Mintel and GlaxoSmithKline. These major brands all appreciate the importance of catering for non-English speaking audiences, and so should you.
Did you know, for example, that 75 per cent of internet users won’t make important buying decisions unless the product descriptions in front of them are presented in their native language? Or that 70 per cent of internet users aren’t native English speakers? Fail to optimise your website for these audiences and you stand to miss out on a lot of business.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain any kind of market share in the English-speaking world, with competition across most sectors intensifying. By expanding geographically, however, and embracing multilingual digital marketing – namely multilingual SEO – most companies will find opportunities to continue growing.
After all, as the internet spreads, audiences swell. Widening connectivity is encouraging the emergence of new consumer markets across the world by giving people access to businesses, brands, products and services that they wouldn’t have had before. Multilingual SEO is an absolute must for any company looking to capitalise on this shift, and it has to be done correctly.