Technical SEO for Multilingual Websites: A Complete Guide

Localizing and optimizing your website for international audiences can open the door to immense opportunities. By translating your content, targeting relevant keywords in different languages, and making sure its setup follows best SEO practices, you can tap into untapped markets and increase your online visibility. Technical SEO is an important part of this process to ensure multilingual websites look optimized from a visitor's point of view and are also friendly to search crawlers. In this blog post, we will go through the complete guide on technical SEO tips when creating or optimizing multilingual websites so that you bring maximum organic traffic to yours!

A well-optimized multilingual website may boost its search engine presence, increase traffic, and improve conversion rates. Let's consider the important technical SEO factors to consider while optimizing a multilingual website.

URL Structure

A multilingual website URL structure greatly impacts how search engines view and index its pages. Selecting a URL structure that is obvious and simple for users and search engines to understand is crucial. For websites that support many languages, some of the most common URL formats are −

  • Subdirectories − This structure involves adding a language code to the end of the main domain name, such as for the Spanish version of the website.

  • Subdomains − This structure involves creating a separate subdomain for each language version of the website, such as, for the Spanish version.

  • Top-Level Domains (TLDs) − This structure involves using a different top-level domain for each language version, such as for the Spanish version.

Hreflang Tags

According to a user's location and preferred language, Hreflang tags in HTML inform search engines which language and national version of a page to show to them. For websites that support many languages, hreflang tags are vital because they guarantee that visitors are sent to the appropriate language version of a page, lowering bounce rates and enhancing user experience.

It's crucial to ensure that hreflang tags are applied correctly and do not clash. Sitemaps, HTTP headers, and page headers can all use hreflang tags.

Language Markup

A technical SEO component called language markup informs search engines of the language in which a page was produced. Language markup can make it simpler for search engines to index and rank a page by assisting them in understanding its content. HTML properties like lang and xml: lang can be used to implement language markup.

For search engines to understand the content of each page and choose which language version of a page to display to people, language markup must be implemented on multilingual websites.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can be a serious problem for websites that support many languages. Duplicate content can be viewed as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings, and search engines penalize websites with it. It's important to create original material for each language version of the website to avoid duplicate content problems.

Canonical tags must be used in addition to original content

creation to notify search engines which version of a page is the primary version. By guaranteeing that the right version of a page is indexed and ranked, canonical tags can help clear up any misunderstandings.

International Targeting in Google Search Console

To instruct Google on the country and language version of a website to display to users in particular regions, Google Search Console provides choices for international targeting. International targeting is especially helpful for multilingual websites aimed at certain nations or areas.

Website owners can choose their preferred country and language version in the search console settings to set up international targeting in Google Search Console. It's crucial to remember that multilingual content intended for various nations shouldn't use international targeting; rather, it should only be used for country-specific content.

Site Speed And Performance

Site speed and performance are essential for any website but particularly crucial for multilingual websites. Users expect fast and responsive websites,

Site speed and performance are essential for any website but particularly crucial for multilingual websites. Users expect fast and responsive websites and slow loading times can lead to high bounce rates and reduced conversions.

To optimize site speed and performance for a multilingual website, it's important to consider factors such as server location, caching, and image optimization. Website owners can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify performance issues and implement necessary improvements.

Localized Content

Localized content is content that is tailored to specific regions or countries. Localized content can improve user experience and drive more targeted traffic to a website. To create localized content for a multilingual website, it's important to understand the cultural nuances and preferences of the target audience.

Localized content can include product descriptions, blog posts, and landing pages tailored to specific regions or countries.

Mobile Optimization

Another important aspect of technical SEO for multilingual websites is mobile optimization. Mobile optimization includes factors such as responsive design, page speed, and mobile-friendly content. Website owners can use tools such as Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to check if their website is optimized for mobile devices and identify any areas that need improvement.

Implementing mobile optimization for a multilingual website can improve user experience, increase engagement, and drive more traffic from mobile users. By ensuring that the website is mobile-friendly, website owners can stay ahead of the competition and improve their overall online presence.


In brief, establishing a multilingual website is a smart move that should pay off in attracting global customers. To maximize the outcome from an international website, ensuring all expected technical SEO basics are carried out within each language version is important. This includes ensuring proper keyword research and placement, internal linking and page structure, sitemaps for better crawling, optimized images and content titles, and backlinks.

Several translation services are available to help you practice meaningful localisation, but conducting thorough technical SEO in every language will be essential if you want to achieve high organic traffic and conversions no matter which region your web users come from. Ultimately, while starting up a multilingual website can involve considerable effort and investments over the long run, the end result will certainly be worth it if it leads to more business success on an international scale.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started