SEO can be hard enough to nail in just one language if you aren’t sure what the best practices to ensure SEO are. So, when it comes to multilingual SEO for a website that is live in several countries around the world, it is even harder to separate the fact from fiction – the multilingual SEO myths from the truth.
These myths can severely harm the success of your multilingual website as they can lead you to implement misinformed techniques or simply avoiding the most critical SEO elements thanks to misconceptions or clouded judgment. Here are some of the most common myths about multilingual website SEO, and what the truths are.
Myth 1: There is just one single best site structure for international search engine ranking
This is a myth that likely originated from the fact that many people do have a favoured site structure when it comes to building websites – especially international and multilingual ones. The reality behind this myth, however, is that there is no single “best” way to build a website to hit SEO ranks around the world. Whether you opt for subfolders, subdomains, or ccTLDs, each different type of site structure has seen examples of success around the world.
Myth 2: Localisation and unification of a brand are two opposing forces
Perhaps one of the most damaging assumptions in the world of international SEO is the assumption that the localisation of a website and brand unification are at loggerheads with one another. Truthfully, for multilingual SEO to work, you must have an element of both. Localisation is important because each language and culture has its own idiosyncrasies – in other words, what is appealing to the English audience will not strike as effective a chord with Chinese audiences. However, you can localise your websites without losing brand unification. Keeping things like fonts, colour schemes, logos, and images of products the same will help your brand stay recognizable while also leaving ample room for localisation.
Myth 3: Google is the only search engine you need to optimise for
Wrong! While Google should be one of the main search engines whose algorithms you tailor for, it should by no means be your sole influencing engine. For instance, Baidu is the predominant search engine in China, with more than 76% of the 721,434,547 internet users in China making it their preference. (https://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/china/)
With this in mind, it makes no sense to customise your localised Chinese website to the algorithms of Google, when Google isn’t the driving force behind what websites are accessed in China.
These are just the 3 biggest myths of multilingual and international website SEO – there are many more.