5 articles on successful international SEO (and a bonus)

 Links to 5 articles explaining how to successfully optimize multilingual websites, plus a link to the article explaining Russian SEO market and basics of working with Yandex

As I have recently realized while doing exercises for the copywriting course I'm taking, search engine optimization is not exactly easy. International SEO is even more difficult.

This collection of links on global search engine optimization gives an overview of steps to implement and potential pitfalls to avoid. Bonus article is an overview of a Russian search engine market and introduction to Yandex, the leading search engine there.

SEO Without Borders: A Guide to International SEO

By Nick Paterman


Information on international SEO

A comprehensive guide on creating and optimizing a multilingual website, from domain structure to keyword research, including the most common mistakes.

SEO optimization take-away

Tips on how to optimize SEO on-page – should be based on keyword research in each language, not on a master list of English keywords that have been translated. Based on that – changes in titles and other key on-page elements.

A word of warning

Advice in the section on translation should be taken with a grain of salt, both regarding the advice on finding a translator (unless you have a vetting and a quality assurance process in place), and the advice on using machine translation to populate the pages once the translation budget runs out.

As pointed out in the comments, automated translation could be viewed as spam and lead to lower ranking (see more here).

Based on the advice for on-page optimization, it might make sense to invest in collaboration with an SEO expert or an in-language copywriter to optimize the translated copy, unless your translator provides such services.


Secrets of SEO Success in Other Languages

By Christian Arno


Information on international SEO

Less technical in nature, more in-depth information on keyword research and optimization. Examples of why keyword research (not keyword translation) is a must, links to Chinese and Russian keyword research tools, as well as peculiarities of Yandex search engine (don’t know what’s Yandex? See below).

SEO optimization take-away

Optimization should be based on country, not language, and take into account cultural differences, as well.


How To Do International SEO When You Don’t Speak The Language

By Aleyda Solis


Information on international SEO

International SEO is possible even if you don’t speak the language, as long as there is an ongoing native language support. This extensive article describes how to set up such a SEO process.

SEO optimization take-away

Verification must be conducted at each stage to avoid errors based on misunderstandings (context is king).


9 Ways to Completely Sabotage Your Global SEO Strategy

By Diana Urban


Information on international SEO

The biggest pitfalls a beginner might commit, and a link to an SEO guide.

SEO optimization take-away

Researching local competition will help identify the right keywords to target for local SEO.


Google: Machine translation is web spam - user translation possible?
(a word from webmasters)


Information on international SEO

While this is not really an educational article, the webmaster discussion is a must-read in its own right. Should one use machine translation on websites? How to save money on translation and avoid rank penalties? How to ensure user-friendliness at the same time? These questions are discussed from the viewpoint of webmasters (some of them bilingual). I think it is especially interesting because it gives an idea of how decisions on website translation and SEO are sometimes made and how they exactly they lead to suboptimal results (user translation without QA process, for instance).

SEO take-away

High ranking by itself is not enough – the important criterion is visitor conversion. As user iamlost points out, in this case content quality matters: “I see machine translation as disrespectful to a visitor, not helpful.”


Bonus: SEO and The Search Engine Market in Russia

By Vladimir Kharev


If you need to optimize pages for search in Russian, then a search engine that can’t be overlooked is Yandex. In this article you can find out how it’s different and get some tips on how to make your Russian-language SEO efforts a success.

 Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations. English to Russian and German to Russian website localization, transcreation. Russian copywriting. ATA and CATI member.

Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations

English to Russian and German to Russian website localization, transcreation. Russian copywriting. ATA and CATI member.