When a school wants to expand its online presence internationally, it can take a big step forward by developing a website that is available in multiple languages. An advantage over the competition and a more pleasant user experience for international prospects might be yours with a site that supports many languages.
However, there are challenges associated with multilingual SEO and content creation, and many educational institutions find that they do not receive the traffic and exposure they had hoped for in new languages. In the initial few weeks or months of a multilingual online project’s launch, underlying site structure, user experience, and measurement issues can become apparent.
Do you wish to keep from making these errors? Some basic tips for optimizing your site for multiple languages are provided below.
Can you do more to appeal to foreign students? Learn the answer by requesting a free review of your website.
1. Do some background research on your school’s ideal students
The investment in time, money, and other resources required to develop a multilingual website warrants careful consideration before you begin. In order to get a feel for how your audience is speaking to you, it’s helpful to take a look at the language overview under the “Geo” tab in Google Analytics. Insight into which languages may be the most lucrative for your school can be gleaned from this report by viewing the browser language of site visitors.
It could be instructive to examine the data more closely to find out from what nations your visitors are making their requests in languages other than your own. By taking a look at the same institution, we can see that visitors who speak Spanish come from all over the world.
This research will assist you in adapting your translated materials to the distinct cultures of the countries and regions you intend to reach.
A lack of traffic from people who speak different languages in Google Analytics does not rule out the requirement for a multilingual site. The requirement for content in several languages is heightened if potential customers in high-value areas are turning away from your website because of the language barrier. This may be the case if the population you’re trying to reach has a low level of skill in your original language.
You should think about your Google Analytics data in conjunction with data you have on your target audience, the demographics of your current and former students, and the results of your competitors. By doing so, you can gain a sense of your current position, your ultimate goals, and the length of time and effort required to achieve them.
Multilingual search engine optimization (SEO) for academic websites relies heavily on the domain and URL structure of those sites.
The more technical components of multilingual SEO for educational websites can be considered after the framework has been laid. How will you organize your domain? That’s the first question to ask. There are essentially three groups into which the choices might be placed:
Web addresses that end in a country’s three-character code are known as “country code top-level domains” (ccTLDs This is a different website altogether, with a domain name appropriate for the country you’re promoting to. Domain names ending in “.cn” (for China), “.de” (for Germany), and “.it” (for Italy) are all examples of country-specific top-level domains (Italy). As an example, the.eu top-level domain is reserved for websites based in Europe. Not many educational institutions offer this choice.
Using subdirectories allows you to use the SEO value of your parent domain; nevertheless, it’s important to realize that subdirectory sites may take longer to establish credibility in your target regions because they don’t transmit as many local signals to search engines as do standalone domains.
A subdomain can be thought of as an alternative to both creating a new domain and relying on subdirectories. Although it shares a connection to your main domain, this new page should be treated as its own web property and given the same attention as any other authority site. This may be the ideal choice for universities with extensive online resources and a huge amount of content to index.
If you want to make a big impact on search engine optimization, don’t just translate the page names; instead, localize the full URL string into the language you’re targeting.
Many websites have experimented with locale-aware pages as a viable alternative in recent years. These are websites that change the language shown from the same URL depending on the user’s location or browser settings. Google, however, has previously warned that it does not advise this strategy, warning that it “may not crawl, index, or rank all your material for different locales.”
If your content management system (CMS) can’t handle a multilingual framework, you may need to adapt it before introducing these kinds of structures. In order to create a fully functional and optimized multilingual site, the WPML plugin is a great choice for WordPress users.
2. Have a Plan for Translating the Content on your Education Website
To avoid embarrassing mistakes, avoid the temptation to cut corners while translating the text into alternative languages. When using translation software or outsourcing to a third party, many educational institutions find that the resulting information is inappropriately localized for the target audience, doesn’t read well, or has other obvious problems.
When looking for translators, it’s important to choose a renowned, professional service and state clearly the location you’re aiming for. If at all possible, have a native speaker of the language review the finished text to help you identify any mistakes. You could even enlist the aid of your current student body for this endeavour.
3. Consider Investing in the Production of Brand-new Content
While it could be helpful to translate many of the pages of your website, as well as blogs and other marketing content produced in your own language, you shouldn’t discount the importance of developing brand new content tailored to the languages you’re trying to reach.
Even with careful translation, the aesthetics of different languages can make for the text that reads well in one to fall flat in another. On the other hand, a native speaker of the language will be able to produce an authentic essay that resonates with your intended audience.
4. Make sure that your school’s website has full On-Page SEO
It is crucial to optimize on-page SEO in the same way you would in your native language when translating or generating new alternate language material. To do this, you must ensure that your page’s title, header tags, alt text for pictures, menus and navigation, and body text are all optimized for specific keywords.
it’s not as easy as just changing the words around to make the translation work. It’s doubtful that the identical translations of your targeted keywords in your native language would draw the same amount of traffic as the originals, because prospects who speak various languages may phrase searches differently or just have different search habits.
In order to establish search engine optimization in a new market, you will need to conduct intensive keyword research in your target language. Fortunately, this can be accomplished in large part by using the same strategies you employ in your home market. You can use keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz’s, and SEMrush’s to find search terms that people use and compile a list of keywords to use throughout your site.