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5 things you need to know about Google Input and multilingual SEO

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
12 July 2012

If you follow the developments coming out of Google HQ closely, you’ll be well aware of how much the boffins at Google are cranking out these days. From algorithm updates to social networking widgets, Google release new ‘things’ on a daily basis – and a lot of them are met with a certain amount of disdain from online marketers, particularly when they stray away from Google search.

Thankfully, Google Input is an innovation which even the fiercest critic would find it hard to berate – after all, it’s all about making search more accessible for everyone. As with all the biggest announcements, Google have explained it all in a very glossy (and admittedly beautiful) video, which you can watch below:

Available through the Chrome web store, Google input is a browser add-on (for Chrome, naturally) which opens Google search up to users of 80 different language. No longer do you have to translate your query before typing it in to the search box, or indeed anywhere else on the web. You can find out all about the tool on it’s Google Chrome Web Store page.

Whilst this new tool isn’t exactly a game-changer, it DOES add an extra complicated layer to the practise of multilingual SEO – something which Tamar are very familiar with as part of our work with a number of international businesses.

So what does multilingual SEO actually involve? Naturally, like all SEO it’s a complex business that – depending on your size – you may want to involve a 3rd party agency in. However, even if you’re planning to address it with an expert, a working knowledge of the practise would certainly help. So, with that in mind, here’s five free tips for you:

1. Ensure your site is internationally optimised

Including international languages (particularly in non-western scripts) is a lot trickier than you might think. Always ensure your site uses UTF-8 characters for instance, or you may be missing out on traffic which uses particular character forms. Make sure you use geo-targeting correctly to feed the right content to the right countries. And don’t forget to provide multiple layouts (particularly for navigation elements) to cater for readers who are reading in languages which go from right-to-left.

2. Understand local user differences

Even the most expert user experience analyst is only as good as the language they work in, and assuming all international users have the same experience is short-sighted. Make sure you fully understand the different issues and preferences that users have in the country you’re targeting. Some international users will very rarely purchase online without having spoken to a sales rep on the phone, for instance.

3. Optimise for local search engines

We all know that Google rules the roost in the UK and USA, but it’s not that way everywhere. If you’re marketing in china for instance, Baidu needs to be your biggest consideration, whilst in Russia it’s Yandex. And just as it was when you optimised for Yahoo back in the day, different search engines have different preferences for how you optimise…

4. Build relevant links

Getting a relevant link profile built for the countries you’re optimising for is crucial – and it’s not just about getting translated content on the same old sites you’re using at the moment. Getting relevant, correctly-translated links for sites local to the country in question is crucial…

5. Create relevant content

If your international content strategy is no more complex than “Translate all our content using a translator” (don’t even THINK about using an automated translation site…!) you’re going to quickly come unstuck. A proper content strategy for each country you’re optimising for is a no-brainer – not only due to the intricacies and subtleties of language, but because your content is almost-certainly going to contain information which isn’t relevant or correct for other territories.

If those tips have whetted your appetite and you want to talk to an expert about international SEO, get in touch with Tamar and we’ll tell you what you need to know. We’ve been optimising in languages and regions from Arabic to Cyrillic for over a decade…

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