Promotion and optimization of a multilingual site has its own features, advantages and disadvantages. The main plus is an increased semantic core and, accordingly, a potentially larger amount of traffic. And the disadvantage is the cumbersome structure of the site , which entails difficulties in setting up the web resource from the technical side.
For example, you can make a multilingual site in 2 ways: using subdomains or using internal sections. Which option is better? The latter, since in most cases search engines consider a subdomain as a separate project. But this is only one point. And in order to correctly optimize a multilingual site, you need to take into account many such nuances. And you will have to sweat to implement them.
Recommendations for optimizing a multilingual site for users
To make the web resource as user-friendly as possible, the following recommendations should be followed:
- If a person came to the site from Google, give him the opportunity to choose a different language version. By default, a certain language is already set in the search engine settings. But if the user, for example, lives in Madrid, and wants to familiarize himself with the Russian version of the site, he must be given such an opportunity.
- When creating selection points for the language version of the site, use text. It is perceived much easier than the icons of the flags of countries, which not everyone understands. Ideally, it is better to use a combination of text + flag.
- Write each language option in the appropriate language. That is, English - in English, and Portuguese - in Portuguese. This makes it much easier for users.
These are three simple rules for optimizing a multilingual site. If you follow them, you will make it easier for users to explore the web resource and improve key metrics. And if you ignore it, you will worsen the behavioral factors and lose positions in the issue.
How to technically optimize a multilingual site
There are also a number of rules on how to optimize a multilingual site from the technical side:(where ХХ is the language identifier) before in the code of all pages of each separate language version of the site. So search engines will understand in what language the content is written.
- Be sure to use the tag
- If the language versions of the same page have different URLs, report this to search engines. This is done using the hreflang and alternate attributes.
- Do not use automatic (machine) translation. It usually contains completely nonsensical text that is difficult to read. And search engines can mistake it for spam. But if such pages are needed, close them from robots in the robots.txt file.
- If the site in another language is placed on a top-level domain, help Google determine its orientation and correctly configure geotargeting (in Google Search Console).
- Make sure that each language version of the web resource has a unique URL. Changing the content of the page without redirecting to another address is not recommended. Otherwise, only one of its versions will appear in the issue, which will make it difficult to promote the site.
- Name the subdomains or sections that are used to host the different language versions with the appropriate country codes (CCTLD). For example, Ukraine - ua, Italy - it, USA - us.
- If the same language version is available at different addresses (for example: site.ua and site.com/ua), specify the canonical page using the rel="canonical" attribute (it will be shown in the output). Otherwise, search engines may count it as a duplicate.
The advantages of a multilingual site more than cover its disadvantages, if you know how to optimize it correctly. After all, all the difficulties concern only the technical side. And if everything is done conscientiously, there will be no problems with promotion.
Of course, site optimization does not end there. After all, it includes a whole list of items. In addition to technical nuances, you will need competent internal optimization (collection of semantics, development of structure, site map , etc.), and then external (work with links). And only with a comprehensive approach to the matter can you count on high positions in search results.
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