Welocalize International Web Content and SEO Checklist
Before investing time and money into developing an international web content and SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, there are a number of different things to take into consideration. Expanding the global reach of your website and digital marketing activities is no small feat and covers a number of different disciplines.
Take a look at the Welocalize Checklist for International Web and SEO Activities:
Use existing research. Review existing web analytics and site traffic reports to see what the interest is from other countries, what currently works and what doesn’t work. There may be an emerging country not yet on your radar that you need to pay particular attention to gain traffic. This will help you decide whether to invest in more language websites, targeted local digital campaigns and SEO work.
Take operational factors into consideration. If you are generating interest in Asia or other emerging markets, then check you can supply, deliver and support the local payment system and trading regulations.
Partner with a multilingual marketing agency. They will have the experience and expertise at driving traffic internationally. They will have the inside track on cultural preferences, navigation techniques, unique content and SEO considerations. Visit Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency to learn more.
Localized domain names. If you are setting up a new language website, make sure you retain the localized domain name. Even if you don’t use the localized domain and end up utilizing a sub-folder targeting strategy, which is effective for SEO, it is always worth ensuring you own the local domains as well. Check where your site is hosted to confirm they can can deal with the increased international demand. You may want to switch providers or have a more locally hosted site.
Identify local keywords. Look at the keywords you have for your source language website, then think again! Simply translating existing keywords won’t work and may be out of date anyway. You need to be in the mindset of a local customer.
Awareness of non-Latin characters. This applies for web content and also SEO. Existing web and digital activity may support western languages in the Latin alphabet; however, may not support writing systems in Asia and Arabic countries.
Create individual properties for each language website. For each language website, you need to establish separate web “properties” and digital assets which will benefit search engine rankings. This will ensure the right language website will rank in a localized search.
Text expansion. If you’re looking to translate your English website, then remember that other languages can be longer. Russian and German can be up to 40% longer than English, and this should be taken into account when trying to align SEO and UX considerations.
Use Hreflang tags. One for the more technically minded, Hreflang tags tells Google which language you’re using on a specific page, so the search engine can serve that result to users searching in that language. Read more about Hreflang tags here.
Are all images culturally appropriate? Certain corporate images and diagrams may be suitable in certain cultures but not in others. Check all graphics, diagrams, photographs, cartoon and interactive elements do not contain any offensive material.
Understand specific country web and social media regulations. Each country has its own set of web standards and regulations. Being familiar with these at a local level will help you get the best reach for each language website. For example, certain sites and web content are blocked in China.
This checklist is not exhaustible but we hope it will help organizations to ensure some of the basics are covered when setting up multilingual web activities.
Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.