Making your WordPress website multilingual

What is the best way to offer your website in different languages? Does WordPress support this? And how would I actually go about it?

Reasons for a multilingual website

Many of our clients want to offer their content not only in their native language but in other languages as well. The companies often have clients in other countries already and want to expand, or they feel that they cannot reach enough people if they confine themselves to one language. Some are located in countries that are multilingual, like Switzerland, Canada or Luxemburg, and they want to cater to all of the languages spoken in their home country.

This does not apply quite as often to companies located in English speaking countries, but here in Germany it is rather normal to offer at least an English version of your website. The only exception being many local businesses who don’t need to reach out quite as far. But I feel they cater more and more to expats as well.

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Local SEO – Are local businesses different?

Google and such are out to give you, their users, useful search results. This is one reason, why search engines are trying hard to distinguish between local businesses and businesses with no real “local” component. If we are looking for a restaurant or an optometrist, we are looking for an address in a certain region. Results that showcase businesses in different cities, states or countries are utterly useless at that point.

You have a local business? In this case you need to see to that your website and online activities focus on that fact. A good place to get started is Google MyBusiness. Secure your page and fill in all the necessary details. This is fairly easy and does not take a lot of time. What else do you need to keep in mind?

Local Search is different.

Google uses a different algorithm to search for local businesses than it does for other search requests. Reading through Google’s support documents, you will find that it states that “Relevance, Distance and Prominence” are the three factors that highly influence the ranking of your business. If you take a closer look you will find that a whole bunch of smaller criteria are adding up: 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors.

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