French Business Etiquette : when in France....

Check out our formal French guide for instant brownie points

Is it worth doing business in France?

Using French accented and special characters

Are bad translations and Google Translate transforming languages?

Don't fear foreign enquiries!

Is a multilingual website better for search engines?

Small businesses can double their customer base by selling to France – but what are the main errors to avoid?

International Trade : transcreation is the new translation

Is a multi-lingual website better for search engines?


Running another version of your website in a different language is a simple yet effective way to double your web presence, your links, your keywords and ultimately, to improve your Google ranking.

If you’re reading this, I have no doubt you’ve already researched every other article available on SEO tips. You’ve optimized your content and metadata with your keywords of choice, you’ve increased the amount of internal and external cross-links, you’ve added a sitemap and embraced social media. Well done, that’s all the free stuff done.

Although I don’t often see it mentioned, there is another affordable and potentially very beneficial exercise which is worth a try: get your website translated into another language.

As a bonus, multilingual websites convey the impression of a larger, steadier business and inspire trust to its visitors and customers. It looks good.

Why does it help?

Firstly, because your website will be twice as big. It will have twice as much content, twice as many links, twice as many keywords. Whether you decide to run 2 separate domains alongside each other or to run each language on a sub-domain, you will double your SEO effort. Want more? Add another language!

Secondly, you will increase your audience by the amount of people who speak that new language. For French, for example, you’re talking an extra 80 million internet users, 45% of each don’t speak a word of English. Obviously it’s particularly useful if you’re willing / trying to sell your product abroad (see our article on going global). Even if you’re not yet ready for international trade though, traffic makes traffic: the more a page appears to be the appropriate result to a query (ie, gets clicked on), the more Google will list is as a result to that query. In other words, Googlebots are like sheep and any newly increased traffic on your foreign site will benefit the search engine ranking on the English one.

Finally, people overseas won’t be searching your keywords in English, they will search in their language. So when a French prospect types in ‘bateau’, only multilingual websites with the word “bateau” in their metadata and content will respond to the query. English web pages with “boat” as a keyword won’t show in the results at all. “Obviously”, I hear… But it means that your English competitors with a multilingual website could be ranked higher than yours because they benefit from their French search results, too.

How to get it done?

Decide on a sub-domain or a new domain name in the new language and purchase it. Then you need to have the actual site translated.

The cheap way: find yourself a translator, extract the entire content of your website including metadata, alt tags, image names etc, into a MS Word document, and commission them to translate it. It is then ready for you or your webmaster to re-incorporate it all into a copy of your website. A little hard work and error prone, but potentially cheaper.


The best way: find a bi-lingual webmaster / agent, give them access to your English website and let them do the translation work, including all the SEO. Hopefully, they should be able to submit the urls to language specific search engines in the relevant country(ies).


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