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April 18, 2016
The first website was launched just twenty-five years ago in 1991 and two years later the first search engine was developed. In what has been a relatively short period of time, the transitive verb, ‘Google it’ has become an integral part of our everyday language and it made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. Native English speakers may believe that the internet is dominated by the English language. To some extent they aren’t wrong as almost all computer code, social networking, e-commerce and news sites that are the most popular with English speakers, were developed in the English-speaking world and these sites seamlessly tie in with the English language. Approximately 25% of all internet users have English as their primary language meaning that there is a whole world of opportunities and new markets waiting to be explored.
To get the highest return on your investment in multilingual websites and Multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you need to ensure that your business has the best chance of getting the right content in front of the right people at the right time. This growing specialty of optimizing your site to a number of different international audiences in order to appear in the highest possible place in the Search Engines Results Page (SERPs) is Multilingual SEO. The first most important thing to ensure is that your site already functions perfectly and is optimized well in one language as having to fix the same problem on multiple multilingual sites can very quickly become time consuming. Planning for effective Multilingual SEO is extremely important as it will influence everything from your domain names to marketing strategy and therefore it is essential to have to some solid research in place before making any decisions. It goes without saying that using a multilingual website plug-in that automatically translates your website content using third party services like Google Translate is not a good idea. Having so many grammar errors on your website may turn off customers from your target market and any errors in communication may be extremely damaging to your business.
Grammatical errors on your website break one of the most important rules of Multilingual SEO which is of course, language localization. Most people prefer browsing the internet and reading website content in their native language. In order for businesses to fully engage with their international audience they have to make sure that they have different versions of their website available in the languages of their customers. If your company is looking to expand globally and can benefit from targeting the Brazilian market or the Spanish-speaking market in Latin America, simply translating into one version of Portuguese or Spanish may not be sufficient. In the same way that there are subtle differences between US English and British English, the same subtle differences exist between Spanish from Spain and the Spanish spoken in Latin America.
In a perfect world, you would simply translate your website content into any of the languages or markets that you want to target. However, the localization of content is central to being able to effectively engage with your target audience. Localizing your content and the target audience’s online experience will allow your business to take a local idea and successfully implement it on a global scale. Using professional localization services will maximise your content and its cultural appeal to your target market while avoiding any potentially damaging errors both in communication and your brand image. Localizing your website is an on-going process as with time and analysis you will come to see that people from different cultures and languages use the content on your site differently. The way content is set out in one language may not fit the preferences of users navigating your website in other languages which is why using a professional localization and Multilingual Search Engine Optimization service is vital to the success of your multilingual website.
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