Many bloggers face some problems when trying to add multiple languages to their website. The problem is that this feature really affects your SEO. Sometimes, adding content in multiple languages can be beneficial to your efforts, making your site ranking get high. In other cases, multilingual pages on a site can make a website rank poorly.
So, the question is: will making your site multilingual hurt your SEO or enhance the efforts? Max Bell, one of the leading experts of Semalt Digital Services tells what SEO aspects you should consider when making a multilingual site.
Multi-Language Sites and SEO
In the Google algorithm, content that appears machinery translated in different languages is deemed as duplicate content. Google penalizes duplicate content by making the website rank poorly. No one would want the site receive a poor ranking due to the languages problem. According to this, Google can incorporate secondary optional language on websites in particular regions. For instance, it works if people are French speaking citizens as much as English speaking. Google refines this search, incorporating these languages. In this case, they do not appear as duplicate content, so the one can use native Google URL for the content.
In other cases, Google algorithm can detect multilingual content as keywords stuffing. Keyword stuffing is one of the black hat SEO methods which involves excessive usage of keywords to trick the system into ranking you first. However, since the January 2017 update, content relevance is the key factor. Multilingual content which is appearing as stuffed keywords does not work well on your SEO anymore. Most search engines penalize it almost immediately.
Succeeding with Multilingual Website
Upon the decision of using the multilingual approach on your website, setting it up is another important factor. For instance, one has to consider the fact that site crawlers like Google bots should see it correctly as a second language. If this fails, the consequences mentioned above can make your website SEO fail. To succeed, using a URL or domain structure is important. This can help Google search engine to detect the multilingual content you are posting. For example:
- A top-level domain (TLD). This is for the region you are targeting. It is costly but can be the best option. It sets your intention clear to google. The websites can look like this: mywebsite.de
- Generic Subdomains (gTLD). This option can help you to retain the old URL. However, there is no direct targeting as in the case of the top-level domain (TLD). The websites can look like this: de.mywebsite.com
- Generic Subdirectories. This option is the cheapest. It involves changing the URL structure. The website URL can look like mywebsite.com/de/URL
For the blogger, using multiple languages to get to get the attention of many readers seems like a great opportunity. However, digital marketers advice you to be careful with this technique. For example, multilingual sites can be deemed as duplicate content and receive a poor ranking. When Google bots detect your content as duplicate, it affects your SEO ranking negatively. In other cases, multilingual content has the potential to improve your ranking. Using the tips mentioned above, you can set up and operate a multilingual site successfully in order to achieve good SEO results.