How to set up or implement a multi-lingual website
Multi lingual websites are an issue debated more often than note on blogs and in forums. I have contributed to the discussion on several occasions joining in on the discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums. Today I was viewing my blog stats and found a few queries from Germany and the UK about multi lingual websites.
Ever since I started working on the internet multilingual issues have been an integral part of my activity. Italian industry is by default working in bilingual mode and all my SEO work is normally done in both languages (i.e. Italian and English).
I find the questions raised and discussions that evolve around them very distant from my way of working. Working with one two or ten languages isn't really an issue. Here's the way I go about it:
- Build your website in your primary language
- Implement all your SEO knowledge and get the website ranked for your primary keywords
This will take the time it will take – you can't tell for sure until you're ranking decently. Along the way you'll learn and in the process implement some corrective actions to achieve the best possible rankings
- Learn about competition in other languages
- Research your keywords with experienced translators in the new languages
- Translate your content with intelligence – use those keywords you found, have the style and language adjusted to the reflect cultural differences – there's nothing worse than a bad website translation for your corporate image …
- Publish your translated website as a new section of your main website – it will help gather links and increase your deep link ratio
My experience multiple hosting in different countries or using sub domains is superfluous. There is a lot of this kind of talk in forums – I wouldn't recommend it in most cases. These are techniques that work today but maybe they'll fail you tomorrow and you wasted time and effort (=money).
But that's my experience – what have you been up to ? Have you been faced with challanging multilingual website issues ?
Let me know 🙂