Optimizing Your E-commerce Site for Multilingual SEO

November 21, 2023

Did you know, according to CSA Research, 40% of consumers will never buy from a brand that doesn’t speak their language? The fact of the matter is, to get your content seen in various countries across multiple languages, you need multilingual search – but it isn’t always a cut and dry process.

Let’s dive into Unbabel’s top tips to optimize your website for search engines globally, helping you reach a broader audience and drive organic traffic. 

Tip 1: Build a solid SEO strategy

Developing a comprehensive SEO strategy specific to each target language is crucial. Businesses should conduct keyword research in each language to identify relevant terms and phrases that resonate with the local audience while keeping cultural nuances and search behaviors in mind to align with the target market’s preferences. Adapting your strategy and localization workflows for each language will help your e-commerce site rank higher in local search engine results.

Managing multiple languages presents technical challenges in content management and SEO. However, high-quality translation services proved instrumental for Panasonic, resulting in doubled service levels, a 100% performance improvement, consistently high Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a 60% decrease in support costs across five languages, and reduced training costs.

Tip 2: Leverage localized keyword research

Localized keyword research helps you understand the specific terms and phrases used by your target audience in different languages, and smooths the translation process from the source language. Use keyword research tools to identify high-volume and low-competition keywords in each language and incorporate these keywords naturally into your content, meta tags, and headings to improve your website’s visibility and organic rankings.

The Global Multilingual CX Report reveals that 71% of respondents consider it crucial for a brand to promote and support its offerings in their native language. This underscores the significance of localizing your website for target markets, making the effort highly valuable.

Tip 3: Create custom, localized content

Localization goes beyond translation; it involves adapting your content to suit the target audience’s cultural and linguistic preferences. Craft engaging and relevant content that resonates with users in different languages using high translation quality.

Consider the tone, style, and idiomatic expressions commonly used in the target language in the localized version. Providing valuable and localized content establishes trust and credibility with your international customers, leading to higher search engine rankings and increased conversions.

Tip 4: Implement technical SEO best practices

Technical SEO plays a vital role in improving your website’s visibility across different languages. Ensure your website’s structure and navigation are optimized for international users.

Hreflang tags are HTML tags used for international SEO, indicating the language and regional targeting of web pages to help search engines display the correct version to users in different countries or language preferences. Businesses should use hreflang tags to specify language and regional targeting, enabling search engines to deliver the correct version of your site to the appropriate audience.

Additionally, implement proper URL structures, meta tags, and structured data to enhance your site’s indexing and crawlability (how easy it is for search engine bots to read and understand your site content) in multiple languages.

Finally, optimizing websites for search engines with different requirements, like Baidu for China or Yandex for Russia, may be necessary. While the Great Firewall in China generally doesn’t block corporate websites, for optimal SEO on Baidu, hosting your Chinese site on a web server in a China datacenter is recommended.

Common Pitfalls of Multilingual SEO Strategies

While optimizing your e-commerce site for search engines in different languages, you’ll need to avoid common pitfalls that can hinder your SEO efforts. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  1. Neglecting linguistic testing – Ensure your translated content undergoes a thorough test plan that includes functional testing and linguistic testing by native speakers to help maintain accuracy and quality. Typos, grammatical errors, and awkward translations can negatively impact user experience and harm your search engine rankings.
  2. Overlooking localization quality – Localization is not just about translation; it encompasses cultural adaptation. Failing to accurately adapt your content to local customs, preferences, and idioms can result in poor user engagement and decreased search engine visibility.
  3. Ignoring local SEO factors – Local SEO elements, such as local business listings, customer reviews, and location-specific keywords, play a crucial role in improving your visibility in specific regions. Ignoring these factors can limit your success in localized search engine rankings.

The Importance of Localization and Quality Assurance

Alongside developing a solid SEO strategy, localization and quality assurance are both essential factors in delivering high-quality, culturally relevant content to global audiences. Linguistic Quality Assurance (LQA) focuses on accurate translations and cultural adherence, while Functional Quality Assurance (FQA) ensures the functionality of software or applications.

When optimized properly, LQA can contribute to accurate translations, enhanced user experience, increased customer satisfaction and strengthened brand reputation.

Level Up Your Multilingual SEO with Unbabel

Optimizing your e-commerce site for search engines in different languages requires a well-executed strategy. By building a solid SEO plan, creating localized content, implementing technical SEO best practices, and conducting localized keyword research, you can achieve success in multilingual SEO.

By leveraging Unbabel’s machine translation and quality estimation technologies, companies can achieve accurate translations at scale while maintaining linguistic quality and consistency.

See for yourself here how we offer customers transparency into the quality of their translations.

Explore Unbabel’s solutions: Request a demo today.

About the Author

Profile Photo of Jessica Florez
Jessica Florez

Jessica Florez is the Senior Content Strategist at Unbabel. She has 10 years of proven success in content marketing strategy and development to build business brands, support global sales teams, drive demand for products and services. She boasts a wide range of expertise in both B2B + B2C integrated marketing roles, for industries that include financial services, healthcare, tech (SaaS), and tour & travel. She earned her BA from the University of Central Florida, and her MFA from Hofstra University.