Creating and managing a multilingual website can be a daunting task. Add in SEO analytics for each language, and you’ve opened yourself up to a whole new can of worms.
But if you’re not optimizing your website for SEO in each language, then why translate it in the first place? While adding more languages provides an opportunity to reach an entirely new audience, it also means tracking that much more data. But that doesn’t need to be exponentially time-consuming.
This article will explore how to efficiently manage the SEO for a website in multiple languages, and track the correct SEO and web analytics for your multi-language website.
What is multilingual SEO analytics and why is it important
Tracking your multilingual SEO analytics is key to ensuring that your website is performing well in every language.
So once you’ve perfected the multiple iterations of your translated content and optimized them for search with the right URLs, hreflang tags, and metadata for your multilingual site, it’s time to analyze what’s working and what’s not.
Multilingual SEO analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing your search data to glean insights into how your website is performing in different languages.
When you have various translations of your website, your SEO needs to match the language your target visitors are using. Your English website might be fully SEO-optimized, but if your French-translated one isn’t attracting nearly enough visitors, then it’s time to dig into your SEO analytics to uncover insights on how to improve your site’s ability to compete in French.
- Keyword research: If the additional languages are not native to you, keyword research can be a bit tricky. Tools like Google Translate only go so far and often miss regional slang or other dialect issues that can lead you to target an incorrectly translated keyword.
- SEO optimization: The text may have been translated, but did you carry that through the entire SEO optimization process, including the SEO metadata, image alt tags, and external links pointing to the page in the correct language?
- Content planning: Although topics of interest may intersect between languages, that is not always the case. What people are most interested in within English-speaking countries isn’t always going to be the same top-priority topic in Spanish-speaking countries.
Tracking your SEO metrics allows you to identify issues that may be hampering your site’s ability to rank in other languages and continually improve your website’s language iterations to optimize your reach.
No more shooting in the dark. Even if you yourself don’t speak the language, this shouldn’t hamper your data-driven marketing efforts.
How to track SEO success for multilingual sites
In order to successfully analyze your website’s performance, you’ll need the right measurement tools.
Here are three essential tools to gather your SEO analytics data:
To start, Google Analytics is an essential tool to set up to determine what a visitor does once they’ve landed on your website.
It’ll tell you essential information such as:
- The number of sessions (site visits)
- Traffic sources–are they coming from Social media, Direct, Organic, Email, or other sources?
- Conversion rates–are they performing your intended end goals?
- And more.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) gives you in-depth information on what happens while your visitor is in the search engine before they decide to visit your website.
Use GSC to:
- See which keywords have the highest volume of traffic – you should do this when optimizing for SEO for each language
- Identify which search queries are driving traffic to your site in each language
- Analyze impressions, clicks, CTR, and your position in Google Search
- Test how mobile-friendly your site is
- And more.
Google Business Profile (GBP)
If your multilingual website is targeting different geographic locations, you’ll need to ensure you’re optimizing your site’s iterations in the desired location. GBP is important to track your website’s rankings if you’re promoting a local business and need to optimize for local SEO and appear on Google Maps–preferably on the Google 3 pack.
To optimize a website in different languages, additional tools such as Moz, Semrush, and Buzzsumo will help you stay on top of your keyword rankings–and keep an eye on how your competitors are doing.
15 SEO metrics to track–in every language
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your SEO analytics tools, it’s time to consistently track the right metrics.
Here’s a list of SEO metrics that you should be tracking and where to find the data.
|SEO metric||Why it’s important||Where to track it|
|Organic traffic||This is the strongest indicator for your SEO performance, as it shows you increases in visitors over time–even for keywords that you weren’t targeting.||Google Analytics|
|Organic conversions||This measures the quality of the traffic you’re bringing in, as defined by a ‘Goal’ conversion, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a trial, or subscribing to your company newsletter.||Google Analytics|
|Keyword rankings||You’ll need to track whether or not you’re selecting the best keywords for each language–and ranking for them. This tells you whether your SEO strategy is improving your target keyword rankings.||Google Search Console, Semrush, AgencyAnalytics, Moz, Ahrefs|
|New backlinks & referring domains||While competing for keywords, you’re also competing for credibility. More (and better quality) backlinks will get you more referral domains. It’s also important to have backlinks that correspond to the language of the page.||Google Search Console, Semrush, AgencyAnalytics, Moz, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO|
|Authority metrics||Your domain authority (DA) is a measure of your website’s quality and goes from 0-100. Generally speaking, a DA above 50 is considered good.||Semrush, Ahrefs, MOZ|
|Local visibility||Localized marketing is especially important for companies with offices or locations around the world. Is your Italian-translated website getting visibility in Italy? It probably should.||Google Business Profile|
|Organic landing page metrics||These tell you the: number of sessions, % of new sessions, New users, Bounce rate, average session duration, and more. Use this to help discover which landing pages need optimizing, and which are doing great.||Google Analytics|
|Page speed||It’s important to ensure that your page speed load time and time to first byte are up to par.||Google’s Page Speed insights tool, Google Lighthouse, Gtmetrix, Pingdom|
|Top Exit Pages||This will tell you which pages are contributing to your bounce rates to identify which ones need more work.||Google Analytics|
|Mobile traffic||Nowadays, more than half of all searches come from mobile devices, and people on mobile devices search differently than those on a desktop. Keep track of your mobile traffic to identify whether you’re also targeting mobile-friendly search terms. If you notice a change in usage patterns, it’s also time to check whether you need to invest more time in making your site mobile-friendly.||Google Analytics|
|Engagement metrics||These metrics include bounce rate, time spent on your site, and number of pages per visit. They tell you how much time visitors are spending on your site. Generally speaking, more time they spent on your site and lower bounce rates translate to better rankings.||Google Analytics|
|Organic click-through rate (CTR)||Check your CTR for each page, query, or device to see which content is performing poorly on SERPs. Poor CTRs could indicate a keyword target mismatch, or a poorly written title or meta description.||Google Search Console|
|New vs. returning visitors||When visitors come back to your site, it’s generally an indication of a more engaged user. Pay special attention to your returning visitors’ exit pages to know just where to optimize for conversions and seal the deal.||Google Analytics|
|Crawl errors||As with any website, technical SEO errors are inevitable. But this becomes even more common on multilingual sites because every page has multiple versions. It’s important to stay on top of these by running site checks on a regular basis to ensure nothing is broken in your SEO machine–and prioritize what to fix.||Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz|
|Competitor SEO metrics||Once you’ve checked your own SEO metrics, it’s time to look into the competition to stay ahead of the game. Identify new keyword opportunities and compare total backlinks.||Spyfu, SE Ranking, Buzzsumo, MozBar|
Creating a sustainable multilingual SEO strategy
If you want to expand your business into new markets, then you need to start thinking multilingual. In order to do this effectively, you need a multilingual SEO strategy in place. It is important to remember that multilingual SEO takes time and effort–but the payoff can be huge!
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Do your research: make sure you understand the different markets you want to target. What language do they speak? What are the key search terms they use? Is there regional slang that you need to be aware of.
- Create quality content: this is one of the most important aspects of any SEO strategy, but it is especially important for multilingual SEO. Your content needs to be well-written, well-translated, and relevant to your target market.
- Promote your content: once you have created great content, you need to make sure people see it! Use social media, email marketing, and other channels to get your message out there, in the right language to the right people.
- Use the right tools: Succeeding in multilingual search is made easier when you can automate the tedious tasks of manually logging in and out of multiple accounts. You’ll need a way to quickly perform essential tasks such as rank tracking and site auditing. And all the better if you have multiple SEO reporting tools built into one to manage and analyze your progress from one place.
- Monitor your progress: keep an eye on your traffic and rankings using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. This will help you track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your strategy. For example, GSC can help you identify keywords that have high impressions but low clicks for each language. Targeting those first will set you on your way to improving your CTR–and improving your website’s performance.
- Adjust accordingly: if you’re seeing progress in one language but not in another, review the details of each, right down to the keyword level, to see if you’ve made a misstep in your targeting, content, or translations.
By following these tips, you can create a sustainable multilingual SEO strategy that will help you reach new customers and grow your business.
Pro Tip: If you’re just getting started in a new language, you don’t need to track every single translated keyword that you do for your primary version. Pick the top 10 to 20 keywords and start there. Once you’ve got a handle on the processes, you can expand to more keywords and more languages.
SEO analytics involves a whole gamut of data. Add in multiple languages, and you’ll need to get organized or risk getting in over your head.
You’ll also need to decide how often you’re tracking your SEO analytics to stay up to date and climb up the search engine rankings. Do them too often, and you might not track changes to glean enough actionable data. Do it too infrequently, and you risk losing out on a lot of traffic potential.
The problem is that with every language you add to your site, exponential amounts of keywords and SEO data are involved. It’s key to manage your multilingual SEO analytics to ensure your website’s continual growth.
SEO is about making incremental improvements to maintain long-term success. If you know what metrics to look for, you’ll know how to improve. And having a plan to track them efficiently will give you more time to dedicate to the content itself.
In this article, we’ve explored how to track your multilingual SEO analytics efficiently, which SEO metrics to track, and why. Here’s a quick recap:
- Get the right SEO reporting tools–and consolidate them into one when you can
- Track the right metrics
- Target the landing pages that need more attention first to get quicker results