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The “Language” of Multi-regional and Multi-lingual Sites

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 20-09-2011

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Of course a multi-lingual site is one that provides information in multiple languages, while a multi-regional site targets people in more than one country.  It’s possible to have one or both of these situations in place on your site, but understanding the “language” of these types of sites is essential if you want to put them to work for you.

It’s important to realize that while building a single language website in a single country does present a few problems, those problems are multiplied when you include other countries and languages.  You’ve got to create alternate versions of your site for other languages, and you probably want different versions targeted at each country.  After all, what appeals to users in one country may not appeal to users in another country—even if they speak the same language.

Multi-lingual Sites

One of the biggest issues with multi-lingual sites especially is making sure that they turn up in search engine results in the language they are actually in.  Google does not fully analyze the language of your site, so you need to make it obvious to the search engine which language your page is in.  You can do this easily by not having side by side translations and also by using just one language for both content and navigation on each page of your site.  When you have multiple languages on one page, the search engines just get confused.

Also remember to use separate URLs for each of the languages and cross-link the other version of the page so that people who speak one language and accidentally land on your page in another language can easily switch to their own.  People also look at the URL for a clue about which language the page is in.  It’s easy to signal the language with a code in the URL, like “fr” for French.

Multi-regional Sites

Creating a multi-regional site comes with a whole other list of do’s and don’ts.  One of the easiest ways to help Google and the other search engines to index your site for the right country is with the creation of the URL.  Use an extension on the back of the URL to signal which country that site is for.  For example, .uk signals the United Kingdom, while .cn tells search engines that the site is for China.

Google also has a geo-targeting tool, which allows you to tell Google directly that your site is supposed to be for users in a certain country.  The only reason you would need to do this is if your site does not have an extension on the URL indicating which country the website is for.

Your IP address also provides a clue to the search engines which area your content is aimed for, as does the contact information and links from other websites that are local to your area.

Avasoft will help you develop and manage your multiregional and multi-lingual sites so that you get everything you need.  Contact them right away for more information about what multi-regional and multi-lingual sites can do for your business.

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