When establishing a website directed at expats, your target market won’t always be English speaking or even monolingual. In the current Internet age it is easy to forget that only 56% of global website content is in English. By effectively utilising multilingual search engine optimisation (SEO), your website can achieve greater visibility, thus driving more traffic to your site.
But what is SEO? As far as computer jargon goes, it is the in-word among web enthusiasts, with good reason. Multilingual SEO is the process used to offer optimised content in different languages in order to garner international exposure.
Seen as the backbone of solid global marketing initiatives, the key outcome of SEO is to generate supplementary income streams by reaching a more international audience.
There are numerous methods to integrate multilingual SEO within your expat website. Geotagging is a common tool, which is the process of assigning a media content such as photo or video with a location, helping users find images and area-specific information when using search engines.
In this age of smartphones, this tool is a useful way for customers to find your site using their location via GPS. For example, geotagging a photo with its respective location assigned to an image will mean that upon opening programs such as Google Earth, the photo will be located relative to its geographic coordinates.
Having the right content
Although a no-brainer, providing relevant keywords within useful content which are well translated and efficiently renders the nuances and style of the local language is crucial to attract expat users.
Therefore an online translator will not suffice as an accurate tool, especially when the website content is full of technical lingo and cultural language voids.
Thinking outside the (Google) box
Although the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo have saturated the English search engine market, its essential not to overlook other search engines to gain mass exposure to your expat website. For example, Baidu, a Chinese search engine may not be a household name among English speakers, but is the 5th most popular site in the world according to Alexa Internet rankings and with 4.02 billion search queries alone in the final quarter of 2010. Thus, you should think outside your Google ranking in order to attract a wider audience.
As well as creating content in Mandarin or other languages, it is useful to know that although both use a web crawler in order to index pages, Baidu indexes far fewer pages. It is thus imperative to implement water-tight SEO practices in order for other search engines apart from Google to index as many pages as possible.
When establishing content on your expat website, you should take into account the language and impact “harmless” mistakes, such as missing accents, can have on your search engine rankings. For example, eliminating accents in Spanish and French words could result in them having a different meaning altogether, losing potential international traffic.
In addition, it is important to look at differences in regional use of language. For example, writing an article about how to get a cell phone abroad could completely cut out your British English speaking users, searching for how to obtain a mobile phone. Therefore, thorough consideration when implementing multilingual SEO should be carried out to avoid getting eliminated from search results.
As shown, multilingual SEO can be a daunting task, especially with ever-changing search engine algorithms. It might be of use to consult an SEO expert if this is your first time using SEO tools in order to efficiently boost your traffic and avoid vital errors.