How to do Multilingual SEO for Content Localization

Today, many businesses are breaking into international markets to reach more customers.

However, the question remains – how do businesses sell to customers with different languages and cultural backgrounds? How do you optimize your website to rank in other countries as well?

The answer lies in multilingual SEO.

This can be overwhelming, so in this article, we’ll show you how to do multilingual SEO effectively. You’re not alone on this.

Let’s dive in.

A Brief Overview of Content Localization

Content localization is the process of targeting a particular audience by modifying existing content and user experience to fit the audience’s language and cultural preferences.

However, content localization goes beyond mere translation to other languages. It includes optimizing content for local searches as well, and this is where multilingual SEO comes in. 

What Is Multilingual SEO?

Multilingual SEO is the art of optimizing multi-language (localized) content for search engines. It involves using SEO best practices that align with the target region of the content.

You don’t want to confuse Google and other search engine bots that are trying to rank you, do you?


Because the people you’re trying to target are most likely to search on Google using their native language. For example, if you’re trying to target Spanish folks, it’s best your content is written in Spanish.

You get the picture?

Not to worry though, multilingual SEO is just like regular SEO. The only difference is that you have to optimize your content for different languages. 

With that said, let’s discuss how to do multilingual SEO.

How to do Multilingual SEO for Content Localization

Here’s how you can break into international markets with content localization and multilingual SEO. 

1. Conduct In-Depth Keyword Research for Each Target Market

This is the first and most crucial step in an SEO-conscious localization process. Find keywords your target audience is using to find businesses like yours. 

Powerful tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Google’s Keyword Planner will help you narrow your keyword research to specific countries. And when you find the top keywords for each country, you’ll be able to optimize your localized content to rank in the appropriate region. 

Pro tip: If you are targeting 3 different regions, ensure you separate the keywords for each area. Don’t mix the top keywords trending in the United States with the ones for Canada or Australia. 

2. Dig Into Cultural Nuances

What works in one country may not work in another, even if they seem similar. You have to dig deeper to understand the cultural nuances of your target regions. 

For instance, what Americans popularly call “French fries” or “fries” is what the British know as “Chips.” And what the French-speaking people call “café” is what English speakers refer to as “coffee shop.”

This makes it crucial to dig into the language and culture of your target audience when localizing your content – and it affects SEO too. You shouldn’t be optimizing for the keyword “coffee shop” when your target audience is searching for “café.” 

3. Work With Language Experts and Translators

Automated translation tools have improved over the years, especially those with advanced Artificial Intelligence.

However, they are still no match for the accuracy and cultural awareness of expert human translators. So even if you use a translation tool, ensure you hire an expert translator to check for errors and cultural appropriateness. 

4. Translate All Metadata and Alt Text

Just because metadata and Alt text are hidden doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Paying attention to this tiny detail can make your localized content shoot to the first page of local searches in the target regions. 

5. Implement the Hreflang HTML Tags

Don’t let the name scare you. It’s nothing complicated at all.

Hreflang HTML tags are just simple tags embedded inside website pages to tell search engines that different versions are available for specific regions. 

See an example in the image below.

How to do multilingual seo

Image source: Lokalise

In the image above, the Hreflang HTML tags specify that the website “” has French-Canadian, Spain-Spanish, and American-English versions. 

After localization, adding such tags to your website will tell search bots what to do, and help others find your website easily – bringing you significant organic traffic in the long run.

6. Build High-Quality Local Backlinks

Search engines like Google would take longer to rank your localized content if no trusted websites are linking back to your website. 

These “trusted” websites are usually popular news outlets, public forums, government-owned websites, or any reputable local website in a target region. 

You would need to conduct outreach campaigns to connect with these reputable local websites.

A good idea is to write an article about a new trend in the local region and pitch that to a reputable news website. But somewhere inside the article you pitch, ensure you include a link pointing back to your localized website. Preferably a do-follow link.

This way, search engines understand that reputable local websites find your content relevant.

7. Optimize for Speed and Responsiveness

We live in an era where our attention span is barely 8 seconds.

No one would enjoy browsing through a slow and unresponsive website even if it’s displayed in their language and optimized for SEO. That’s why you should check your website’s speed, especially after implementing localization.

And don’t forget to also check the responsiveness of your localized website on both desktop and mobile devices. Is the website displaying nicely on mobile? Are all the buttons working after localization?

For example, you don’t want to discover that your website’s “Checkout” button isn’t working on mobile devices. So, ensure you check for these issues and address them if they happen.

Pro Tip

Consider implementing region-specific URLs

Something like “” for France and “” for the U.K. It’s obvious that both websites belong to the same company, “MySweetShop,” but the URL extensions are unique for different regions. 

This method works well for localizing different versions of a website. Plus, search engines will easily rank websites with region-specific URLs for local searches in a specific region.

In Conclusion

If you can implement these tips, your journey into international markets will be easier. Within a few months, your business can start ranking in your specific target regions. And when that happens, your customers will increase as well.

So, dear reader, let these tips guide your multilingual SEO process.


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