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  1. #1
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    Question SEO in second language

    I have a client who wants to rank for both english and spanish. I'm curious what opinions might be out there on the best way to approach this. Here's my thought.

    1. Build the site in English

    2. Instead of a site that has multiple language capability (which we have no problem doing), build a second site in Spanish. I'm assuming that I can use exactly the same content just translated and we would not get hit with a duplicate content penalty. We use a very content driven SEO strategy to get our clients ranked in their local market so I'm not super concerned about link driven SEO.

    3. Run two independent SEO campaigns that mirror each other (One English and One Spanish). This would be for the content.

    I'm not sure how to handle Google+, social media, and citations in multiple languages.

    I'd love to hear back from anyone who has done SEO for the same client in two languages (or more). Perhaps just one language dominates and I'm overthinking it. I really don't know.

  2. #2
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    Re: SEO in second language

    a couple resources I'll give you to review are:

    The Ultimate Guide to Multilingual and Multiregional SEO

    and

    https://moz.com/learn/seo/international-seo

    and

    https://support.google.com/webmaster...r/182192?hl=en

    There are a ton of ways you can do this (development wise), but what you need to make sure to do is identify the sites are targeting different regions/audiences appropriately. I'm not an expert in International SEO by any means, but have some experience working with international clients. Make sure your domains/subdirectories correctly reflect the region, and make sure they're marked up correctly (hreflang tag for example).
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  3. #3
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    Red face Re: SEO in second language

    Hi Eric,

    I appreciate that. Just to clarify, this is LOCAL SEO and we are targeting the same region (Miami) in Spanish and in English. We've decided to create an independent URL and use a real translator (rather than something like Google translate). Our SEO process is very content focused (and working very well) so our thought is to translate our content and submissions and resubmit to the independent translated site.

    I'm still struggling with having Google MAPS in two different languages for the same business in the same region. We thinking of setting of English and Spanish "suites" within the same office to have different addresses. We already have multiple phone lines and the names will be different just because of the translation. That will get us a Google MAPS in Spanish for the same business.

  4. #4
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    Re: SEO in second language

    So it's one business that wants to target two demographics (english speaking, spanish speaking) in one city (Miami)? You will still need to apply hreflang rules to the site to identify the different targets. Are you using a subdomain/subdirectory or are you using a completely different URL?

    "We thinking of setting of English and Spanish "suites" within the same office to have different addresses."

    I don't think this is appropriate. I think you need to have one listing and note you offer services fluent in both English and Spanish. It doesn't seem like a different business or different services. Just because they can speak two languages wouldn't qualify them to have more than one GMB page.
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  5. #5
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    Re: SEO in second language

    I'm going to use a complete different URL (also in spanish but as a .com). The domain will be a parent portal (we use DNN). I do plan on applying hreflang rules to the site. Each site will have a language icon corresponding to the other site in case the user wants to switch.

    I agree in principle regarding having two separate GMB pages but Google makes no provision for communicating in two different languages to the same market so until that issue is resolved, I have to go with what makes the most sense. I don't think it will hurt my local listings rankings nor will the listings compete because they'll come up in distinctly separate searches.

  6. #6
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    Re: SEO in second language

    Would you agree that when we discuss GMB we're primarily talking about business location? In this case you're talking about one business in one location with basically two people to handle the calls (to keep this simple). Since you can't separate by language, you can only separate by location then it's possible that the business will show twice for the same search regardless of browser language setting. More than likely you'll be flagged for spam and have the business taken down if you go that route.

    Since Google makes no provision for communicating in two different languages, you can't assume you're "allowed" to make two locations for the same business. If the case is the way you've described it (trying to follow on what few specifics there are about the business), then the business only needs one location but can make mention they are able to handle both languages (in description).

    GMB is based on location, so if you want to target by language in a largely English-speaking country then you might need to pay for Adwords. Otherwise just set up one page and highlight the fact that the representatives can help in both English and Spanish.

    Does that make sense or is there something about the business that wasn't shared which could change the situation?
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  7. #7
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    Re: SEO in second language

    I'm with Eric, Unless you're also separately incorporated as two businesses, this sounds like a breach of TOS to me, though obviously many companies skate under the radar with a whole lot worse. Still not something I'd have a client do though.

    As far as how to handle the social aspects (Google+ is kind of worthless for most industries, but it might still be good for yours) I'd use the same rules as I would for any kind of audience segmentation. With email autoresponders it's obvious... you won't just separate by language, by by 'have they paid me money in the past? Did they attend the last webinar I held? etc'. Segmentation is always a great idea when your tools allow for it... segmenting by language all the more so. I know with Google+. Obviously client's budget and local competition for your industry decide how intense you want to get with it, but I'd definitely segment any email list, and I'd consider creating secondary social media accounts if the spanish speaking segment of my audience was large enough, and the performance for the the english side of the social media warranted expanding that side of my efforts.

    I have no direct advice for you beyond that, though if it was me, I'd start with research. You may have already done all this, but for the sake of having something to contribute to the conversation, I'll do a little brainstorm dump. Obviously if you haven't already done this, this is high priority:

    - you should have already done your keyword research for both areas, but... if you haven't, obviously do that now.
    - make a list of high population (or high competition in your industry) cities. Go the extra step now and scrub it against this list.

    You should end up with a list of a few top english keywords, a few top spanish keywords, and a few cities to investigate (including your own market, obviously). Now it's time to roll up your sleeves and dig in. There are probably tools to automate this, but you'll waste more time looking for that tool if you don't already know it than you would just doing the work. It'll take you maybe two hours if you hustle You're looking for businesses that rank well for both english and spanish keywords. Once you find them, you should have a good idea what to do next.

    Keep in mind too... when it comes to 3-pack rankings, I rarely see industries where one business can make it in the 3 pack for the whole range of keywords even in just one language. Most businesses have to settle for picking a few of the possible arenas to really dominate, and hit the rest with organic pages. Some hit more and some hit less, but it's tough hitting all of them. I've been looking at wedding photography lately, and I have yet to see a city where one business shows for all the keywords I look at. I don't know what your chances are of being able to outrank an exclusively spanish business, but if you can find a few precedents of other companies that have done that, that'll at least give you somewhere to start.

  8. #8
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    Cool Re: SEO in second language

    I'm not really trying to argue what Google allows or disallows. I'm really more looking for what makes sense to the end user. In this case, what use is an English GMB to somebody that doesn't speak English?

    There are situations in which Google does allow the same location to be used. For example, a law firm may list its lawyers each on their own GMB. The same goes for clinics and associated medical professionals within the same practice. (If I'm to understand Google terms of use.) The simple fact is that this hasn't been covered under Google's guidelines and since Google provides no way to work within the given standards, one has to go outside the box.

    I can't assume that it's allowed. I can't assume I'm not allowed. I'm just going to do what's right for the client and the end user. I'll let Google figure it out I guess. My guess is they'll never notice.

  9. #9
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    Re: SEO in second language

    What you're misunderstanding is that we're arguing the same point - what's best for the user (and the business owner). Language doesn't necessarily define location, but what we're discussing is a location based product. While I understand it doesn't help someone who doesn't speak English to see an English maps page, it's against the GMB quality guidelines for you to create two pages for the same business targeting a different demographic. That's no different than a service area business creating a page for every location they serve; same business but different audience target (in that case different city instead of language).

    If you want to target a different language in the same location, you'll need to buy AW ads using location extensions and only targeting Spanish browsers. What you've described so far does not fall into the category of individual practitioners, but instead one business who intends to target a market segment differently. That does not allow you to make multiple pages. GMB does not let you define a target based on language like AW, so it's really all dependent on the location or the Mapping of that business location in relation to the searcher.

    If you want to take the approach of "I'll gamble and see what happens" then best of luck. I've seen plenty of businesses get burned by that mentality, so I hope you reconsider your approach. I'll tell you now it won't be Google that will immediately catch your play, it's actually more likely to be a competitor of your client reporting it. GMB is cut throat because it's driving "free" foot traffic to locations and driving online leads.
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