Choices in How to SEO a Multilingual Site

While growing businesses by expanding to additional countries or languages is a great way to increase your income, it is more complicated than you may realize – especially when it comes to SEO.

This site for a southern California criminal defense attorney has content written in English using Google Translate to create pages translated into Spanish. Notice the choice in the top right corner for English – Espanol. Click on the buttons and you’ll see that the pages change between English and Spanish.

In this example, a separate site is not needed because both languages are targeted at ranking in the U.S. If this attorney had a second location in Spain, then ideally he would have a separate domain registered with a country code TLD and hosted in Spain. With locations in two countries, the easiest way to rank is on separate domains.

How much effort is the company willing to invest in ranking in separate countries? Will you register a country specific domain for each language or use languages in directories?

More expense and work is involved with separate domains:
  • Building additional sites
  • Paying to host multiple sites
  • Renewing multiple domains
Even international sites as large as Wikipedia do not necessarily use separate domains. If you look at Wikipedia.org you will see that when you click on a country you are taken to a subdomain that uses the country code as the name of the subdomain. For example:
  • es.wikipedia.org for Spanish
  • de.wikipedia.org for German
  • it.wikipedia.org for Italian
These subdomains use the same letters as country-code domains for Spain (es), Germany (de) and Italy (it), but they use en for English rather than us for U.S. or uk for the U.K.

Read How to do Multilingual SEO for WordPress Sites to get a better idea of your choices. The WordPress multilingual plugin available on that site makes translating and doing SEO for multiple languages much simpler.

How Search Engines Recognize Languages

While search engines can detect languages, it is best to use the <html lang=”xx”> tag to indicate the language a page is in. For more details, read Multilingual Sites and Search Engines: Part 1.

According to that post, “global corporations as a rule have separate sites (and most often separate domains) for the countries they operate in.” While that is the most effective method, it does require more work to create and maintain.

SEOChat Supermod GabrielG suggests you can even “get sophisticated and detect a user’s language, geolocation, or other characteristics and serve the appropriate language site, in case Gooogle doesn’t do that automatically.”

Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites

If the languages involved are totally different (English and German, for example), there is no duplicate content issue. Having the same content on pages written in languages that are closely related – such as UK English versus US English – would definitely create a duplicate content issue.

Use Plagiarism Check to verify that all your site content is unique and original:

Plagiarism check

See the Brick Marketing post Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites for more details about duplicate content. Nick Stamoulis wrote:

“If your site takes a massive hit in visitors and rankings for at least three months (enough time to call it a trend), your site might have been flagged for duplicate content.”

Why Machine Translation is NOT Good Enough

While using Google translation or some other machine translator is the least expensive way to go, these translations are very inaccurate and sometimes impossible to even understand. While there are translation plugins, do not use them unless you just cannot afford a human translator.

Do not sully your brand’s reputation by skimping on content in additional languages. Using human translators is a must. If you do not have someone within your company capable of accurately writing in the language, contract with a company that specializes in language translations for business.

Keep in mind that being able to speak a language does not guarantee a person can write well in it anymore than assuming that everyone who speaks English can become a paid writer or editor.

If you use machine translation, you will end up with major brand reputation issues. See this infographic from Understanding and Avoiding Communication Blunders.

Poor translation communication blunders

Hopefully you now understand why machine translation can never take the place of using the best human translators who are excellent at both translation and content development.

The goal is to SEO a multilingual site so that it will rank in each location. For that, separate sites are best, but even with one site your goal should still be to rank each page if at all possible.

Why Data Will Boost Your Marketing Effectiveness

We develop blindness towards all sorts of advertising. When first introduced online, banner ads achieved a 50-90% CTR. Now the majority of people can’t stand them. Marketing effectiveness demands a change.

It’s not so much that various methods of marketing are inherently ineffective. It’s just that people get used to them, so marketers need to innovate. Data-driven marketing is one result of this ever-present need for change.

Why You Need to Have Data-Driven Marketing

The proliferation of information in our time might lead you to believe that companies are using data all the time in their marketing. However, they are not.

The Harvard Business Review reports that while infographics are now fairly standard, very few of them portray data that tells an original story. Marketers tend to use data for their own decision-making, but not for creating content that adds value to their customers.

That’s really too bad because the insight data offers can be quite interesting and even enriching. Solid, data-driven content gives your company credibility. If you have reliable facts backing up your opinions, people will see you as trustworthy. Another advantage is that your own knowledge will increase as you share information with other influencers.

Data can also have a lot of power simply from the fact that much content on the internet is mediocre. If your content has integrity—if it is original and accurate—it will stand out.

The companies that are best at marketing with data use it to appeal to people’s emotions. They present their data in format that is interesting to look at (hence the popularity of infographics), and ideally they put the information in the context of a story.

If-youre-a-brand-publisher-feat Quote source

For the Google Trends “Year in Search 2015,” Google did an amazing job at turning data into a compelling story. The company presented the top searches of the year through a brief video. The opening text says, “In 2015 the questions we asked revealed who we are.”

The video goes on to show the questions people searched, such as “how can i help the refugees” and “how can we overcome prejudice,” interspersing the questions with pertinent footage from the year. The video used data not only to tell the individual stories behind the searches but also to tie them together into a larger narrative of unity within diversity.

Data Dangers

Businesses run into trouble implementing data effectively for a number of reasons. First, there is simply an overwhelming amount of it. It can be difficult to know how to sort through and productively utilize all of a company’s accessible information.

Another potential pitfall is that sometimes those in charge incorrectly estimate the costs of gathering and storing data. Sometimes information isn’t gathered correctly or analyzed thoroughly, and often there is poor or no communication across departments. Data storage is also a huge factor. There are too many options and providers to choose from, too many new concepts to learn and pros and cons to consider. Here’s how Hosting Australia explains data centre hosting.

Silos are in fact a significant challenge to success, especially in larger companies. The larger a company grows, the greater the challenge to be unified and to communicate well about any goal. It’s also easy for businesses to lose sight of their goals if they are not relying on data for what their priorities should be and whether or not they are sidetracked from them.

It is critical to remember that data is not a solution in and of itself; it needs to be reliable. Kimberly Whitler of Forbes states, “If the data is bad—disorganized, incomplete, inconsistent, out of date—then the resulting decisions will be bad, too.” That’s why it’s important to have people at your company who understand how to find, analyze, and organize trustworthy data.

How to Leverage Data Effectively

As you seek to leverage data-driven content for your business, there are some specific principles you should keep in mind.

First, be strategic. Choose your data team carefully; it’s extremely valuable to have people from different departments and perspectives. Have a clear idea of your goals and KPIs so that you are mining your data with purpose.

Know the best channels to tap for the data you’re trying to attain. Is your audience primarily on Twitter? Then don’t waste time gathering information from Facebook or Instagram. Have good analytics models in place, as well as metrics with which to measure your results.

It should go without saying that your data should be as accurate as possible. Once you’ve collected enough information, use it to build customer personas that will lead to customer-focused content. Avoid silos by having cross-company goals, and evaluate and re-evaluate the data as you collect it.

Remember, data is most interesting and valuable to your customers when it is presented with visually appealing, quality content. Fortunately, quality content is exactly what Google is looking for and is one of the main ways you can get Google to index your site.

Neil Patel notes that having a blog is one important way to increase site traffic: “websites with blogs get an average of 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.”

Good content is interesting enough on its own, but having evidence to back up the content makes your position even more powerful. It’s also worth observing that Patel uses multiple infographics throughout his article, making use of their widespread appeal.

People Crave Insight into the World

People love to learn new information, especially if that information tells them something about who they are and is presented in a fresh way. Effective data-driven content will boost the power of your marketing because of its ability to make the truth interesting.

7 Must-Have Tools for PPC Managers

While the digital world can be highly changeable, some things remain the same. One of those constants is that PPC is still a primary profit generator, and a lucrative way to monetize. When you look at the methods of the highest earning websites across the web, what is often at the very top of their earning strategies? PPC.

If you are looking for a way to optimize your own website for higher earning potential, these tools are must haves.

Ringostat

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Ringostat is an intelligent call tracking tool that increases the performance of the advertising and optimizes business workflow.

Ringostat multi-channel report shows the sequences of interactions that brought the user the phone call. With this type of reports Ringostat clients see how previous referrals and searches contributed to their sales, what traffic sources were the first in the consideration process and what sources ultimately converted the user into the lead.

Moreover, these reports show the number of visits from each advertising channel. The call log allows to evaluate the efficiency of advertising campaigns and properly re-allocate the advertising budget. Showing the source of each phone call up to a keyword level, it helps to determine the campaigns that really generate calls.

Obviously, you can glean a lot about your customer base this way, which can really help you with ad planning. It is expensive, but worth it if you have a decent sized business.

Adwords Editor

Nothing is as frustrating as having to manually go in and edit a bunch of different campaigns in Google AdWords. So your best bet is to make it possible to mass edit and make changes faster.

Adwords Editor gives you the power to do that. It is a super simple tool, maybe so simple it doesn’t seem like it would be that helpful. But it is…oh, yes, it is.

Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner

Speaking of Google, have you used their Keyword Planner yet? If not, you are insane. This is hands down the best free research tool on the web.

You can find the best keyword combinations and monitor your campaign progress, making changes along the way until you have the best possible keywords targeted. Start using it, and thank me later. If you are already using it, use it more. Then thank me again.

Answer The Public

This is a great secondary keyword research tool to use in addition to Google’s Planner. You can generate questions related to your business, and come up with some awesome target phrases. Plus, it is free.

This is out of the usual scope of PPC tools, but is still really valuable and can inform your strategy later on.

SERPstat

How do you keep a leg up on the competition? Spy on them, of course! This tool is a handy little app that will do the detective work for you.

You can find out what keywords they are targeting, how much they are spending on campaigns, and a lot more. Sometimes knowing what the other guys are doing is the best possible way to improve your own efforts.

Trello

Trello is kind of my collaboration and project management tool of choice. I use it for everything from professional projects to personal ones.

I find with PPC campaigns it is a great way to organize keywords, track data, and make future plans. Especially if you are working with a team that needs to stay involved.

Adwords Scripts

No one really likes spending all the time needed to run an effective PPC campaign. It takes ages, and so much energy.

These scripts written by BrainLabs automate several of the tasks that take up the most time. Every one of these is a lifesaver, and you should implement them immediately.

Have some tools to add? Let us know in the comments!

GrowMap
Gail Gardner is the Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap.com