29 Jun Multilingual Websites: Time to Update Title Tags
Because the World Wide Web is truly worldwide, companies serve clients across the globe. Google and other search engines help overcome language barriers through transliteration (scripted languages) and multi-language content. One trick many companies employed to “help” web searchers find them was to create dual languages in their Title Tags. Google, however, just released an algorithm adjustment that impacts this practice.
Google says, with this tweak, the search engine will choose only the title result that matches the primary language of the page. If Google detects a mismatch, it will generate a title with the page’s predominant language. If a company offers a dual-language Title Tag, for example, then the secondary title (often English) may not display if the page copy isn’t written mostly in English.
In their announcement, Google offers the following examples:
गीतांजलि की जीवनी – Geetanjali Biography in Hindi
The title consists of two parts (divided by a hyphen), and they express the same contents in different languages (Hindi and English). The title is in both languages, but the document itself is written only in Hindi. Google detects the inconsistency and might use only the Hindi headline text, like:
गीतांजलि की जीवनी
Latin scripted titles
Transliteration is when content is written from one language into a different language that uses a different script or alphabet. Consider a page title for a song written in Hindi, but transliterated to use Latin characters (aka the Roman alphabet, the standard script of English and most European languages) rather than Hindi’s native Devanagari script:
jis desh me holi kheli jati hai
Google then tries to find an alternative title using the script predominant on the page, which in this case is Hindi:
जिस देश में होली खेली जाती है
The key takeaway: Web developers and content creators need to write Title Tags in the predominant language of the page.
Multilingual or Not: Improving Search Results with Title Tags
Discussing language as a ranking factor, Search Engine Journal mentions meta tags or attribute settings in Advanced SEO to help a multilingual audience find you. Not every site needs multilingual solutions, however, every site does need strategic, well-written, clear Title Tags. Determine if your website truly has a multilingual target, then consider the steps below for improving your Title Tags — and search rankings — moving forward.
- Go through and remove dual-language Title Tags, matching the tag to the page’s primary language.
- In addition to changing all Title Tags, update your Meta Descriptions to the same primary language.
- Decide if Google and online machine translation tools offer you the reach you desire.
- Based on your customer reach, it may be wise to invest in dual translation pages, not just letting bots do the work — aka, having two predominant languages on a page or an English and secondary language page.
- Beyond translating your homepage and checkout page, don’t forget product descriptions. Check out 10 inspiring multilingual sites and tips on translating your website from the Translation Partner.
- Read more on Google’s Title Tag best practices.
Finally, give The Threadgill Agency a call! We offer SEO services to help you create industry-specific, competitive Title Tags and Meta Descriptions to improve your rankings. Whether you have a multilingual site or not, contact us to strengthen your digital marketing strategy and results today.