This article is contributed by Kay Winders.
The Internet is a great unifier, allowing you to market your brand to people around the world. Anyone anywhere can access your content so long as they have an Internet connection.
However, language can be a barrier. Creating a multinational version of your site can make it easier for people to read your site in their own language and allows Google to index it for people searching from those countries. Here are a few things you need to know about in order to create a multinational version of your site:
Create a Subdomain
If you don’t want to register a separate URL for each new national version of your site that you want to create, you can create a subdomain instead. This could be it.example.com/ or au.example.com, for instance.
Creating a subdomain allows you maintain the authority you have built in your primary domain. However, you may lose some of your linking authority as other sites may forget to include the country-specific part of your domain and just link to the standard www (subdomain) instead.
Register a Country-Specific Domain
A country-specific domain is what most users are more accustomed to seeing when they visit a national version of a site. These domains look like www.example.co.it/ or www.example.co.au/. This requires registering a separate url and creating the contents of your site on that new domain.
The advantage of registering a country-specific domain is that it is more likely to rank in country-specific searches and your inbound links are more likely to be correct (as this format is more usual than the subdomain format).
Create a Subfolder
The easiest way to set up a multinational version of your site is to simply create subfolders. The address for a particular national version of your website would then look like www.example.com/china or www.example.com/france. Using a URL like this can help you to boost page rank for the entire site as any links or other SEO juice pointing to the national ‘site’ would contribute to the whole domain.
The disadvantage of this option is that users may find the URL too cumbersome and confusing. People may not type the whole URL, and they may then be redirected and become confused. You also won’t be likely to rank well in search listings specific to that country.
The Advantages of a Multinational Website
No matter what option you choose, creating a multinational version of your site can help you connect with more users and promote more awareness of your brand. Translating your site into other languages will help you increase your reach and boost the page rank of your site, as well.
You could use one of the many free translation services on the web, such as Babelfish, to convert your site content but doing this is not recommended. Just imagine how you might feel in visiting your national ‘site’ if the content is what is often produced by such software. Your confidence in the company may be weakened if there are weaknesses in the language being used. Perhaps in the future, automatic content translation may be a possibility as the logic improves but not for now.
Much better is to contact your local university and find a student for each of the language versions you wish to create. You may decide to go with less web pages for particular language versions and you may offer links to English language versions of some pages. It is highly probable that most of your potential customers can speak English anyway. However do not underrate the warm feeling they will have for your company by having an entry page and other important pages in their own language.
Is Your Website Already Multinational
Have you created a multinational version of your site? What website architecture did you decide on? How did you get the content translated?
Tell us how you did it and whether this helped to increase your site’s traffic, page rank or awareness of your brand. Share your thoughts in the comments!
Author Bio: Kay Winders is the resident writer for badcreditloans.org, where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening