Multilingual SEO: Why It Is Important

8 mins read

Multilingual SEO: Why It Is Important

“The best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google”. This funny quote is guaranteed to get some laughs out of your audience every time you use it. But the hard truth is that the first result in Google does get almost a third of all clicks. So if you want your website to have a chance of success, this is what you should be aiming for. To get to that dreamy first results page, companies and website owners resort to Search Engine Marketing strategies, combining paid ads campaigns with seriously optimized content to drive traffic and ultimately convert users into clients. In this article, you’ll learn why SEO efforts shouldn’t stick to only one language and how you can significantly improve your SEO results by thinking global.

Which Parts Need to be Optimized

Ultimately, SEO is all about answering users’ questions (aka search queries). But in order to have their questions answered, users must first click on the results on the search engine results page. So, if you’re optimizing your content, start with the URL, meta title, and description. These are the bits that will draw the users’ attention and drive traffic to the web page.

Once users have been redirected to your page, it’s time to marvel them with some carefully weaved content. And since we’re all humans, and we’re always in a hurry, you shouldn’t wait until the end of the article to get to the point. People will most likely scan your content that actually read it, and some studies on how people read online will tell you that the eyes of an online reader travel through a page in a kind of F-shaped pattern. So if there’s a place to focus your SEO efforts, it’s on the above-the-fold section, i.e., the first 100-150 words of your written content.

App Store Optimization

Mobile app localization helps developers reach more people, rank higher in search results, and get ahead of competitors in local markets. If you’ve localized an app, you’ll want it to get as much visibility as possible in app storesa too. The most popular are App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore. These work as platforms for people to find out about your app and eventually download it. As with everything involving mobile phones, size does matter. So, when optimizing your app’s name, short and long descriptions always stick to character limitations.

Also, keep in mind that content will be consumed on mobile devices, so keep the language simple and easy to read. For more tips on how to get your app in front of millions of users, read our full article about essential aspects of app store optimization strategies you should consider.

Multilingual SEO and Localization

Imagine you’re at a party with guests from different countries. Soon you’ll probably find a common language to communicate in or just resort to English as a lingua franca. Most brands do this in their communication, but soon realize that not everybody speaks or understands English. And even if they do, speaking to someone in their native language just tends to resonate in a more effective way.

But is it just translating your website really enough? For decades, professional translators have been localizing web content into other languages in a sort of blind way, i.e., without any knowledge about what goes behind a website creation.

Nowadays, there’s a growing trend of evolving translators in the whole process, from support on finding the right keywords to carefully weaving them into the localized content in order to drive similar results to the original version.

Keyword Research and Localization

Keywords play a vital role in SEO. They are the starting point of any successful SEO strategy. So it’s a great idea to use them as a starting point for your website localization as well. Having a professional translator or localization specialist who supports you in keyword research can be a smart move. Translators are often more than wordsmiths and even though keywords are essentially words, any SEO-savvy translator will know how to act as a market expert and cultural advisor when selecting the best keywords.

On the other hand, if you already have a list in your source language, localizing keywords will often involve a lot more than a simple word-by-word translation. A keyword with a huge search volume in the source language will often have a disappointing number of people searching for the direct equivalent in the target language. In these cases, a more creative approach is needed to find the best possible option.

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Best SEO Practices That Should Not Be Overlooked

Search volume is important, of course, but when looking for the right keywords, do not forget about relevancy. Sometimes, a more specific long-tail keyword might not have thousands of users looking for it on a monthly basis, but will have a higher conversion rate. Your localization professional should be up-to-date on key market trends to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the consumer and really come up with the most natural search terms.

Accessibility also plays a big role in SEO. So, why not go the extra mile and implement some small steps to get you extra SEO points? Simple things like adding (and localizing) subtitles to a video will significantly increase the reach (just imagine all the deaf and hard of hearing people that will be able to experience it, not to mention the numerous people who consume video with the sound off).

Lastly, SEO is not an exact science, but still, you can use the tools at your disposal to calculate the measurable aspects, such as character limitations for meta titles and descriptions or keyword density on longer pieces of content.


We think by now, it should be clear that by not localizing your content with SEO in mind, you’re basically leaving money on the table, i.e., not reaching millions of potential customers. To sum up, bear in mind you’re trying to reach humans with your content and not only machines. Accessible and appealing content that resonates with the reader will do wonders for your website traffic. Find out how Crowdin can help you with your website translation.

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Teresa Sousa

Teresa is a European Portuguese translator focusing on all things SEO and Digital Marketing. Since 2019, she has trained hundreds of language professionals who attended her self-paced online course – Become an SEO-savvy translator.

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