Many businesses are taking advantage of the reach of the internet by creating foreign language websites to access potential clients from every corner of the world. And as with your main website, search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for each of your foreign language websites to generate regular and steady traffic – this includes link-building.
Link-building, to recap quickly for those who don’t know, is an internet marketing strategy which enables online businesses to boost their rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) by creating links back to their website, through online comments, article placements and directory entries. Links establish connections between websites, and are also the path search engines use to find their way to and index websites. By regularly publishing posts or articles in relevant online publications ,with a link back to your site, you’ll see your site gradually rise in the Google rankings. The good news, if you have multilingual sites, is that it works the same in any language.
You will, of course, have to create content and listings in the relevant language, for which you may have to enlist the help of a language services agency. But to get you started, here are five pointers to keep in mind when embarking on a multilingual link-building mission:
1. Quality over quantity
Search engines take into account the relevance and authority of the sites which are linking to you, so make sure you spend time creating quality content for high ranking sites rather than piles of low-value content for the internet’s backwaters. When it comes to article placement, the information needs to be up to date and of value. By establishing yourself as a quality content provider and an industry expert, you also give your business a good name, which is a great marketing strategy in itself.
2. Get Clued in
Link-building is an ongoing process so get cracking on creating lists of relevant sites for each target language, and make sure you keep abreast of the latest industry news and developments. Over time you’ll be able to create content more quickly as your knowledge increases, and you’ll also get an insight into the varying interests of different language markets.
Dodging the duplicate content rule
It is a handy fact that Google doesn’t penalise you for duplicating content in a different language. What this means is that, rather than having copy-writers producing content for language, you can translate or ‘transcreate’ your original content into your chosen languages, saving both time and money.
Culturally sensitive pitching and content
Something to keep in mind is the varying cultural nuances and formal procedures required when pitching to, and writing for, foreign websites and audiences. The relatively informal pitching etiquette and writing styles of the UK and US might not be so appreciated in Japan or Germany, so make sure you know your audience.
Multilingual link-building on a shoestring
If the budget, or even DIY, option is what you’re after, start your link-building strategy by targeting web directories for each different language. All you tend to need to add your site to a web directory is a short blurb about your website, your contact details, and of course a link to your site. As with most easy options there are some down-sides however. If you are in a competitive niche, web directory submissions alone might not be that effective and a more complex link-building strategy may be necessary, involving article placements.
Building back-links to your translated websites is not something you can choose to ignore, though – because once you’ve invested money in translating and optimising your foreign language websites, you won’t see the return on investment (ROI) that you want if the sites languish down the bottom of the Google rankings (more than a third of all search traffic goes to Google’s top ranking page). The most effective way to start climbing the SERP rankings is by building back-links – so if you’re not already looking at a multilingual link-building strategy, making use of web directory submissions and article placements, then now may be the time to get started!