Advice For Multilingual SEO Part 1

Advice For Multilingual SEO Part 1



Consider all the​ possibilities.

Living as​ I do on​ the​ conjunction of​ three countries,​ that is​ Belgium,​ Holland and Germany,​ can make search engine optimisation (SEO) quite a​ challenge. Just in​ the​ surrounding area of​ the​ village I work from are four spoken languages so if​ you​ extrapolate that out to​ every possible combination of​ search terms,​ browser settings and computer language settings then you​ begin to​ see the​ scale of​ the​ problem.

Leaving aside the​ differing search terms and therefore your various sets of​ keyword targets,​ each different language user will have their own set of​ computer and browser language and preference settings that will give completely differing search results.

As a​ quick example try searching -
management consulting Liege
- on​ Google.com and Google.be-fr.
OptimaGest Management Consulting is​ 2nd out of​ 392,​000 on​ Google.com and 24th out of​ 291,​000 on​ Google.be-fr. (Don't worry,​ I'm still working on​ the​ Google.be rankings)

So here are a​ few tips that I have picked up to​ make your job a​ bit easier.

First setup your browser for multilingual searches.

Arm yourself with a​ browser that has configurable profiles. Firefox springs to​ mind.

Set up a​ profile for each required language so that your preference language and search engine preferences can be configured.

For Firefox installed with the​ installer:
Make sure firefox isn't running.
Then open the​ Windows "Start" menu,​ click "Run" (or Windows key + R) and then type:
firefox.exe -profilemanager or​ firefox.exe -P

If that doesn't work (it doesn't on​ my machine) then you​ need to​ type the​ full path to​ the​ firefox.exe surrounded by quotes and then the​ switch in​ the​ "Run" box. e.g.

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -profilemanager

For Mac OS X launch the​ Terminal
(Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and enter:
/Applications/firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -profilemanager

If that doesn't work then include the​ -bin switch e.g.:
/Applications/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin -profilemanager

The profile manager dialogue will open and I recommend that you​ keep the​ "default" profile as​ this will preserve all your current settings. Click on​ "Create Profile" and follow the​ instructions. you​ should create and name a​ profile for each language and then make sure the​ "Don't ask at​ startup" option is​ unchecked. Now when you​ start Firefox normally the​ profile manager will open and you​ will be able to​ select your required profile.

As you​ start each profile for the​ first time go to​ "Tools" then "Options...",​ "Advanced" tab and then click the​ Languages "Choose..." button. Here set the​ language that is​ required for that particular profile and remove the​ default en-us.

Then open each search engine e.g. google.be in​ turn and specify in​ the​ preferences the​ required language etc so mirroring as​ closely as​ possible the​ actual setup your target audience will have.

Now you​ can quickly check your search engine rankings without having to​ re-configure your browser settings each time for each target market.

Now the​ multilingual keywords problem.

Of course before you​ can monitor your success you​ must first develop your keyword strategy and that is​ not as​ straight forward as​ it​ would seem. We must research carefully our target keywords in​ each of​ our target markets. it​ is​ pointless OptimaGest Management Consulting being number one on​ Google.be-nl if​ the​ chosen keywords are never actually used in​ dutch.

My native language is​ english with a​ passable knowledge of​ german and the​ small beginnings of​ french so I am dependent on​ my translators for french and dutch. But web designers are not in​ the​ business of​ producing perfectly grammatical and vocabulary correct sentences such as​ translators delight in. We are trying to​ pack an​ optimum number of​ relevant search terms or​ keywords into our copy while keeping it​ on​ message and readable.

In our native language we can,​ with a​ bit of​ research and practice,​ produce web site content that just "glows" with pertinent keywords and phrases leading on​ to​ mega search results. But where do you​ start in​ language 2,​ 3 or​ 4?
That will be the​ subject of​ my next article.




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