Google Gives Tips for Building Websites for International Users
by Todd R. Weiss
Businesses should tailor their Websites for customers who use other languages if they want to increase their international sales and footprints, according to Google. Google is advising companies to improve their Websites so they can attract and retain more customers in foreign countries to increase sales and services abroad.
To do that, Google has created a helpful list of suggestions that business can use to add foreign language capabilities for their sites, especially their home pages, as well targeting specific content for users in other countries.
"If you are doing business in more than one country or targeting different languages, we recommend having separate sites or sections with specific content on each URL targeted for individual countries or languages", wrote Google Webmaster trends analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes in a May 12 post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.
"For instance, one page for U.S. and English-speaking visitors, and a different page for France and French-speaking users".
When building sites, companies can approach the language and location issues in several ways, wrote Bahajji and Illyes.
They can configure their home pages to allow users to choose to view the site in a language they speak by clicking a link to an alternate site in another language, or the sites can automatically be set up to recognize a users' location and deliver an appropriate site in a specific language based on that location.
If companies set up their Websites to let users choose the language they'd like to use, then they should "remember to use the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation for the country selector page, which was specifically created for these kinds of pages", wrote Bahajji and Illyes. "The x-default value helps us recognize pages that are not specific to one language or region".