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Web Marketing & Search Engine Consultant

Multi lingual web site architecture: all languages under the same roof ??

Multi lingual web site architecture

Today a headline from the Search Engine Forums Spotlight caught my eye in reviewing news and info to start off my day. The post is called Strategy for Domains In Multiple Languages Being a bilingual and multicultural person I was on it in a few seconds as it is a topic of my interest.

It is very interesting to find how different approaches and views can be when dealing with the same problem. The question (in a nutshell): How should I set up a multilingual web site in 6 languages ?

Should have independent sub-domains hosted in different countries ? My answer: Never done anything similar. I’ve always housed different languages under the same web site and things have worked out fine in a number of fields. Actually multilingual has never been a real issue – the web site is built and all languages undergo the same "SEO procedure". Here is a short check list that may help sort matters out.

  • Check you keywords You need to know the quantity and quality of the competition you’ll be facing locally. How many pages are you competing against for specific keywords ?
  • Build your visibility model The level of competition you are facing will determine your requirements in terms of search engine optimisation efforts. If you are working in a very specific field, chances are you are facing a mild competition. In this case you may acquire visibility by simply fixing your copy.If that isn’t enough then you’ll implement a linking campaign, buy your way into local directories and “deep link” your site, by pointing to translated content.

A blog could serve the purpose of getting your site networked or people to “talk about it”

The point is I see people focused on techniques not on models.

A model is long term strategy that changes over time but provides stable results: as the search engines evolve you modify your model and implement corrective actions to keep up with trends and funcionalities.

A Technique is something that works today and may not work tomorrow. Nowadays there is a buzz about 3rd level domains and their effectiveness. How long will it last ??We don’t know. What we do know is that a good incoming links, combined with fresh and useful content are relevant factors.

Personally I like a big web site compared to many smaller ones. It makes things much easier to manage. A real issue is that many CMSs (Content Management Systems) present problems when you choose to implement multilingual modules – I had this problem with my web site – we use Joomla! When the systems expert tackled the problem he identified and corrected a number of problems that most open source systems have not addressed, especially in the area of URL re-writing. But that’s another issue – maybe you’d like to talk about CMS and SEO related issues 🙂

  • Are you seeking to expand the reach of your web site ?
  • Do you have any further considerations you would like to add ??

Make yourself heard, I am discovering just how different approaches can be to the same identical problem .. and it’s fascinating!!