Are you building a multilingual website, but are you struggling your mind to make it SEO friendly? Sit comfortably on your chair, sofa or whatever you want and read the best ways to internationalize a website.

There are two main ways that Google helps webmasters to target their website:

  1. Geotargeting
  2. Hreflang

GEOTARGETING

GeotargetingYou need a clean section of your website to target one country. Google should be able to recognize a clean section of your website for each country:

  • subdirectory (yourdomain.com/it/),
  • sub-domain (it.yourdomain.com)
  • domain for a specific country (yourdomain.it).

If you want to target the whole domain and boost your rankings in a specific country when people are searching for something local, you have to use a country code top-level domain.

Remember that the new top-level domains like: .berlin, .swiss, etc. are treated by Google as generic top-level domains. For this reason you have to specify the geo-targeting because Google will not automatically geo-target them.

HREFLANG

Hreflang is a tag that you put into the header of your pages and you tell Google essentially per page: which other pages are equivalent in other languages for this specific page.

Hreflang

Image by: 121Watt.de

When you use hreflang:

  • you don’t need a special URL structure, you just need separate URLs;
  • you can tell Google a default language, which means that anyone who is not searching in the language that you specified, will be shown the default version;
  • there are some strict guidelines on the placement and the usage. This is one things where you have to watch out for the technical details (read Google guidelines);
  • this doesn’t change any of the rankings for your site, because it’s only specific to show the right version of the URL.

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