Resorting to international SEO is one of the digital marketing strategies that any business should bet on in its internationalization process. It consists of the optimization of a website so that the search engines of that country show it in their results.
For its implementation, it is very important to be clear about the reason for this internationalization, to set the objectives to be achieved, to know the regulations of the country in which you want to penetrate and to give importance to translations (it is not useful to carry out simple translations of the contents).
Here are some of the most common mistakes made when doing international SEO to take them into account and not repeat them.
1. Doing International SEO Without Being Prepared
The most important thing when doing international SEO is to have a team of trained professionals. That you accumulate experience, have an analytical perspective and be aware of the latest news to cover markets in several countries.
In addition, it must be clear that it is time to internationalize, that is, doing international SEO to boost sales or reach consumers in other countries does not make sense if the company is not able to deal with it in logistics issues, for example.
2. Do Not Change the URLs of the Different Versions
The automatic translation plugins or content managers show the different versions of the languages under the same URL automatically. However, Google prefers that each translated page has its own URL to facilitate indexing.
3. Incorrectly Choosing the Structure of the Web
It is necessary to structure the website according to the specific needs of each business and its characteristics. You can use different structures:
Domains with different ccTLDs (country code top level domains): it is a very expensive option since it implies having a domain for each country or language (.es, .gb, .pt, etc.). In addition, it involves a great job when it comes to international SEO, since we will have to use a different domain for each country. We will not be able to use miweb.es to position ourselves in Italy, for example.
gTLD (generic top-level domains) with different subdomains or subdirectories: this option saves costs, in addition, the subdomains acquire part of the authority of the domain. But, on the contrary, it takes more time to get results.
4. Do Not Use the HREFLANG Tagging
Each page must have the HREFLANG tag set appropriately. With this tagging, Google will know that this content is in other languages and will show the appropriate version to the user according to their location. In addition, with the Hreflang tags, Google is prevented from considering the content as duplicate. To do this, keep in mind that the links are bidirectional and that the tag must be present on all pages of the website.
5. Put the Translations As ‘noindex’
This tag is used to indicate that the page should not be indexed. In international SEO, it is often used so that Google does not consider the translated version as duplicate content. But this is a mistake, since we will not be positioning the page in the other countries or languages, so it is only a quick solution to avoid duplicate content. The proper solution to avoid this is to use hreflang tagging.
6. Use Images with Text
Using images with text is a very common mistake in international SEO, because Google robots cannot read it. So, not to mention translating it. The key, for SEO purposes, is not to use text in the images. Although the ALT attributes can help Google to identify the images, it is not appropriate to enter text in them, since it will not be translated and will generate more work when translating the contents of the web, since it will be necessary to create similar images with the text in different languages.
7. Do Not Link the Pages of the Different Languages
At the usability level, when a user navigates and wants to translate the content of a site, this translation should not lead to the home page of the translated website. It must link to the content itself translated in the desired language
8. Give More Importance to the Main Language
Many companies use the canonical tag to give importance to the primary language. And this is a mistake. You have to think that the most important language is decided by the user who wants to browse the content you offer.
9. Not having a Native Speaker for Translations
There are companies that when working on international SEO do not give translations all the importance they need. Translating does not consist of resorting to an automatic translator to find the literal translation of each word. Each language has its own colloquialisms and phrases made that must be adapted correctly to achieve a good position in foreign markets. And this is only possible if you have a native speaker for translations.
10. Do not Adapt the Sitemap
To order the URL relationship to be indexed in search engines, websites with pages translated in many languages must have an adapted sitemap. This is recommended by Google’s Search Console Center. If you don’t adapt, crawlers might have a hard time mapping the web.
11. Do Not Make Changes to the Web Design
This aspect may not always be important, but it is necessary to take it into account when a website is going to be internationalized. It will be important to make changes to the web design only if the situation requires it. This can occur, for example, when translations are made to different languages and the length of the keywords is different in the different languages, which can force to modify the typography, the menus, the style, etc.
12. Do Not Consider Other Search Engines Beyond Google
Google is the king of search engines in many countries. And SEO at the national level is worked taking into account this premise. However, in some countries it doesn’t have to be this way. So, SEO standards may be different and what works in one place will not work in another. It must be taken into account when drawing up the international SEO strategy. As you can see, international SEO is a strategy in which it is very easy to make mistakes, but well applied SEO with the guidelines of SEO consultant can help you a lot in foreign markets. What are you waiting for to draw up your strategy?