Best Practices to Expand and Implement Your Website in Multiple Languages: Excerpts from Google’s Maile Ohye

The majority of websites are in English, the universal language. Have you ever thought of displaying your site in other languages such as German, Russian, Japanese or Korean? But if you really want to reach out to an international audience, displaying your site in other languages can help a great deal. Well, that’s possible now if you go by Google’s advice. In a recent webmaster help video, Google’s Developer Programs Tech Lead Maile Ohye offers advice and best practices to help you venture into other languages and boost your search engine optimization campaign.

In the video, Ohye talks about going about language expansion, implementation, the precautions to be taken, and also some important issues that could affect your site when it is made available to other languages.

When it comes to including HTML tags for websites in multiple languages, make sure you insert special language tags and regional tags that will help search engines such as Google and Yahoo to understand how these tags should be serving your website and the languages you are focusing on to display your site. Google’s video also highlights three issues that could arise when a site is extended to other languages:

  • An incorrect site page is shown in the search results for the wrong user
  • Search results may show similar URLs from your site, which confuses the user about which pages they should visit, and why they find two different pages for the same website and content
  • Google may not recognize that the pages that seem like duplicates and are actually meant for different audiences and languages

Using the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” annotation can prevent such issues and help Google to serve the correct regional or language URL to targeted users. Situations where the use of this annotation is recommended are when

  • Only the template of your page such as the navigation and footer is translated and the main content is in a single language
  • All your pages have somewhat similar content with small regional differences
  • Your entire site content is translated and you have both the English and ‘other language’ versions of every page.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.