I have had a few opportunity to work on large-scale multilingual SEO projects for well-known brands. It makes sense to pursue a multilingual SEO strategy or even a multi language online marketing strategy if your company has the ability to do so, but it’s not as easy as you might be led to believe.
Having advocated multilingual SEO on behalf of a language services company. I can vouch for the fact that if done correctly and consistently, it can pay off. However, it’s not something that will work for SME’s who do not put in the time and effort required to develop an effective strategy. Even before starting a multilingual SEO campaign, a number of things need to completed. I will list some of them below:
- a local domain for e.g. website.de if you’re targeting a country; language targeting doesn’t work
- a local address is required in some cases; France requires a business to have a physical presence in the country to get the country code top-level domain (ccTLD)
- a completely localised site tested and approved by a native speaker of the language
- a local presence is necessary to answer any customer queries and engage with the local web users etc
- complying with the local rules and regulations
The list can go on but you get the idea. Having a multilingual strategy is a part of an actual expansion to foreign markets. It’s not an exclusive practice that will open up a market for a company. It might give you an idea of what it is like, but in order for the market to make a profit, the effort should be sustained.
I am still an advocate for multilingual SEO but only for companies which can pursue a longer term strategy. Most SMEs should make the most out of the market they start in before expanding abroad. The costs, time and effort required might just not be readily available.