Why do we need multilingual SEO?
Multilingual SEO allows efficient and effective transition into new markets, as well as adaptation to new cultures and languages. Businesses can use Multilingual SEO to analyse the return on investment in new countries and reactions of customers who live there. Just like regular SEO, multilingual SEO is used to make your site rank higher on organic search engine results, increase the prominence of your brand, and build relationships with other businesses and publishers in order to build popularity.

The Internet - Growth and Usage Graph

Dos and don’ts of multilingual SEO


  • Build local links from the websites in the country you are targeting
  • Conduct extensive research into the target country
  • Research competitors in that country
  • Separate your content that is targeted to different languages or different countries


  • Assume Google is the only search engine that people use. A lot of people use search engines such as Baidu and Yandex
  • Use multiple languages on the same page
  • Assume that the same word in the same language means the same thing in different countries. (UK English, US English, Indian English)

Should multiple languages be hosted on the same domain?
Whether you host multiple domains on the same domain or have a country specific domain, your site can be optimised to rank appropriately, so long as you follow the search engine guidelines. The decision, therefore, boils down to business needs and resources.

The absolute best practice is to have country-specific domains hosted in that specific country with clearly targeted directories or subdomains for each language that is spoken in that country.

Although country-specific domains allow clear geo-targeting and easy separation of sites, they can be expensive maintain and might have limited availability. Country-specific domains also require more supporting infrastructure.

Hosting multiple languages on the same domain makes setting up the website easier and needs less support than country-specific domains. Google’s official guidelines for multi-regional sites provide clear instructions to declare the the language and locale for each section of the site to search spiders.

Both options work well and are effective, therefore, it depends on the time and resources the business can invest. Working with an international SEO agency that can meet specific requirements can help ease the burden for in-house marketing teams.

Do US and UK versions of the site create duplicate content?
The short answer here is “yes”. If you do not change the content and simply alter prices and country-specific data, then your US pages could be perceived as mere duplicates of your UK pages, which may result in Google choosing to drop one and list only the UK or US page on the organic search engine listings.

However, there are ways to avoid this problem. The most obvious solution, of course, is to differentiate the content – write for your audience, provide different text, vary your blog posts and differentiate your products. Each market is interested in different content, therefore, it is important to create new content not only to avoid duplicates, but to engage each of your target markets specifically. That being said, this isn’t always the most practical solution. In most situations, the simplest option is to either use a country-specific domain, sub-domain or directory and then declare the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” tag.

International sub-directories or country-specific sub-domains?
This decision is down to the business’ specific requirements and resources. As with the issue of duplicate content, it is up to the webmaster to cater to their own needs.

How to indicate language / region to Google?

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