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Multilingual SEO: Link building, duplicate content and geo-selection

International link building, duplicate content in multiple languages and geo-selection are just some of the topics discussed by Webcertain’s Andy Atkins-Krüger, when he spoke to SearchEngineWatch at SES London in February.

Andy’s key points from the interview are summarised below – or you can watch the video in full.

Link building: Local links are the best

Generally speaking, local links are the best and you should target links in the language and market you are working in – so if you are targeting a UK-based, English speaking audience then you should target UK links.However if you want to become more of an international player – say have good visibility in several English speaking markets, then targeting a range of international links from those markets can also be a good strategy.

The same content in different languages is not duplicate

If you translate your English website into other languages it will not be considered as duplicate content by the search engines as they will see totally different characters on the page. However, just translating your pages will affect your keywords – carrying out keyword research for each separate market is essential to ensure your web copy contains the keywords that people are actually searching for.

Target main languages, not dialects

Unless you are targeting a very specific audience, who speak a certain dialect, it is better to target the main language of the market, rather than numerous dialects.

It is slightly different in markets such as Spain, when there are distinct variations on the main language – Catalan and Castilian – which are considered as two separate languages, rather than just dialects. In this case, Google does show results for both languages – and marketers need to be aware of that if they are targeting Spanish users.

In multi-language countries, lead with the major language

In countries like Singapore, Switzerland and Canada, where more than one language is spoken, it is generally best to have the major language appearing first on your local domain website, with clear options to click through to the other languages. Of course, if you are targeting speakers of one language in particular, lead with that language on your website.

If you have multiple language websites, interlink them

On large websites, it is important to get the geo-selection right – that is the function that allows users to select their language choice. By strategically placing your geo-selector on your network of websites, you can increase the link equity throughout the whole website. Other elements on your website such as pop-up boxes and drop-down menus also need to considered when devising an internal link strategy – as they are not very effective at increasing link value across the various language websites.

The International Search Summit on 13th May in London will have more insights into multilingual search, where global seo and social media experts will offer advice and share their experiences of running international web marketing campaigns. Tickets are still available for the event.

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Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over 15 years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programmes Webcertain’s International Search Summit and International Social Summit, Barcelona-based conferences focusing on international and multilingual digital marketing. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

One Response to Multilingual SEO: Link building, duplicate content and geo-selection

  1. Jeroen says:

    This is a good reminder for some multilingual webmasters. As a SEO these points should already be familiar. Thanks for sharing.

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