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Doing business abroad and dedicated online marketing efforts requires creating, or expanding, an existing website in the right way. But how do you go about it? What you should start with is, of course, content translation. It’s worth considering whether we want to simply translate our content into the language of our choice, or, for example, try to adapt it to the business realities of a given country with the help of a translator who is a native speaker.
How to post a language version on a page?
When we have our website content ready, it’s worth considering how we want to post it on the site. Here we have three options, each of which has its good and bad points. Choosing the right option depends primarily on our needs:
- Language version of the site in the subdomain – for example, eng.yourjadomena.pl
- Language version of the site in a separate domain – twojadomena.com
- Language version of the site in a subdirectory of the main domain – twojadomena.pl/eng
Language version of the page in the subdomain
Being the owner of an Internet domain, we can create any number of subdomains within it. Under each subdomain you can place a separate website. And this is how Google treats subdomains – as separate sites.
Thus, the language version in a subdomain will be treated by Google as a separate entity, which will allow us, first of all, to monitor the results and data individually in Google AdWords and in Google Search Console without additional analytical work. In this situation, each subdomain can have individual activities carried out in the form of content development for keywords dedicated to it and the acquisition of backlinks dedicated to each country.
The plus side of posting language versions of subdomains is also the savings in the form of not having to purchase and maintain further domains. The downside, however, is that subdomains may have slightly less power than the main domains, which may affect their positioning.
Objectively, this is the best solution, but also the most expensive. Purchasing a domain with an extension dedicated to a particular country (e.g. UK- .co.uk, USA – com, Germany – .de, etc.) allows you to conduct the most effective SEO efforts, since the top-level domain is automatically assigned by Google to a particular country and language. However, when choosing this way of posting language versions, remember that they should be linked from addresses with the same extensions.
The downside of such a solution is, of course, the cost – not only the purchase, but also the subsequent maintenance (domain renewal), which will increase over time. So each additional language version will be another cost. It should also be taken into account that in some countries the purchase and maintenance of domains is definitely more expensive than in Poland. Another disadvantage may also be the lack of availability of the same domain we have in Poland in other countries, which may involve the need to choose a different one than our native one.
This is by far the most popular and objectively cheapest option for implementing language versions. All language versions will appear inside the top-level domain. However, this is the solution with the most downsides. In this situation, Google will treat everything you post within these versions as a single entity. This can significantly reduce the effectiveness of positioning and negatively affect the results in other countries.
Keep in mind that by choosing this option, the link profile we build will apply to the entire domain, not just individual countries, which will require the use of an especially careful link source selection strategy. In addition, in this case it will be difficult to monitor the results for individual countries, both from Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Hreflang – i.e., attribute necessary to implement regardless of the implementation option chosen
No implementation of the language version of the site can take place without the proper inclusion of the hreflang attribute. It is extremely important because it defines localizations and languages for all countries where we want to be visible. Thanks to this attribute, the search engine is able to display content in the appropriate language to the user in response to their question, based on their localization.
Google’s guidelines present what an example of a properly worded hreflang should look like:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="language-code" href="url_page" />
As we can see in the syntax appears to us “language code” it must comply with ISO 639-1 for hreflang to work properly. Each language version must also have a return tag, that is, if, for example, the German version of the site has a tag for the English version, the English version must have a return tag for the German version.
She has 11 years of professional experience, she started her career at the Emarketing Experts agency as a junior SEO specialist. In addition to website positioning, she was responsible for conducting 360° marketing projects as an Account Manager at They.pl. She worked for companies from the financial sector (Bank Millennium, Bank Meritum, Finai S.A.) and e-commerce (e.g. Black Red White, Autoland, Mumla). At Up&More, he is responsible for, among others, SEO projects for Panek Car Sharing, Amerigas, Interparking, H+H and Autoplaza.