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4 Multilingual SEO Strategy Points! Explanation of the latest SEO that gets results!

With globalization, many things are becoming multilingual, and SEO is no exception.

So-called "multilingual SEO" requires different knowledge and skills than SEO for the domestic market.

Overview of Multilingual SEO

4 Key Points of Multilingual SEO Strategy

Points to keep in mind when attacking multilingual SEO

The above points will be explained in an easy-to-understand manner.

Please refer to this section if you are considering or implementing multilingual SEO.

What is multilingual SEO?

First, we will start with an overview of multilingual SEO, which in a broad sense refers to "SEO in multiple languages.

However, multilingual SEO in the narrow sense discussed from the Japanese perspective is slightly different, and can be described as "SEO that implements a website designed for the Japanese market in languages other than Japanese.

Until now, the theory has been to implement Japanese-specific SEO on Japanese websites, but with global expansion, there is an increasing need to implement SEO "across the board" in a variety of languages, including English and Chinese.

Naturally, the knowledge and skills required are different from those of Japanese-specific SEO, so this is an area of SEO that you will want to master if you want to conduct Web marketing on a global scale.

4 Key Strategies for Multilingual SEO

First, we covered an overview of multilingual SEO. A common misconception is that "translating Japanese websites and content is not a problem.

Since such a mechanical response is insufficient for SEO, we have summarized the key points of multilingual SEO below.

  1. Set "hreflang" tags for each language

  2. Optimize URL structure

  3. Improve the quality of content

  4. Develop SNS at the same time

Let's take a closer look at the above four points.

Setting "hreflang" tags for each language

The most important part of multilingual SEO is the "hreflang" tag, which specifies the language of each page and tells search engines about it.

Since this tag is not often discussed in SEO for the Japanese market, many people may not be aware of it, but it is a very important point, so be sure to set it.

The procedure is as follows.

  1. Create a page for each language

  2. Include the "hreflang tag" for the relevant language on each page.

  3. Interlink each page with the other.

There are two main methods of setting "hreflang" tags: the "Head tag" and the "sitemap.

Basically, the "hreflang" tag is placed in the Head tag, but for large sites, it may be placed in the sitemap to make it easier to manage.

Optimize URL structure

In multilingual SEO, "URL structure optimization" is also very important.

Google's official portal site, Google Search Central, recommends the following three URL structures

  • Country-specific domains

  • Subdomains using gTLDs

  • Sub-directories using gTLDs

These are briefly explained below.

Country-specific domains


  • Allows for region-specific SEO

  • Easily trusted by users in the region


  • High cost to acquire a domain name for each country

  • Domain authority is distributed.

It is one of the options to acquire "country-specific domains" such as "" for the U.S. or "" for France.

However, when developing a website in multiple languages, it is necessary to acquire a domain for each language, which is expensive, and this is a major disadvantage.

Subdomains using gTLDs


  • Easy to install

  • Servers can be changed for each region.


  • Cannot identify the region from the URL

  • Domain authority is distributed.

Subdomains using gTLDs" have the advantage of being easy to implement, since there is no problem with acquiring a subdomain and executing a server contract for each region.

Another advantage is that servers can be used for each region, as it has been shown that using a "server that is physically close" to the relevant region can have a positive SEO effect.

Sub-directories using gTLDs


  • Domain authority is easily shared.

  • Can be managed within a single domain


  • Difficult to specialize by region

  • Need to operate on a single server

Lastly, "Sub-directories using gTLDs" are placed under the main domain, making it easy to share domain authority.

As a result, it is a URL structure that should be considered when the power of the main domain is strong, as it allows multilingual operation while inheriting some of the domain power of the Japanese site that has been built up to this point.

Improve the quality of content

In implementing multilingual SEO, it is also important to "improve the quality of content.

The following is a summary of points related to the quality of content.

  • Include locale-specific information

  • Improve the quality of translation.

  • Understand search behavior and keyword trends in each language

Since multilingual SEO is still in the process of spreading, even a uniform approach such as "translating Japanese articles as is" may produce SEO results for the time being.

However, as multilingual SEO becomes more widespread, it will be necessary to compete on the basis of "content quality," so be aware of the need to focus on content quality from the start.

Develop SNS at the same time

The "use of SNS," which has become commonplace in SEO in Japan, is also effective in multilingual SEO.

However, the same methodology used in Japan may not be as effective as in Japan, so be aware of the following points.

  • Use SNSs that are popular in the relevant region.

  • Make the best use of the SNS because it originated in Japan.

  • Consider cost-effectiveness before implementation.

SNS operations consume a huge amount of resources in Japan alone, so it is necessary to estimate the cost of operating in multiple languages and regions in advance.

Points to keep in mind when attacking multilingual SEO

Multilingual SEO differs in many ways from SEO for the domestic market, and there are a number of points that require attention.

  • Do not rely too heavily on machine translation

  • Do not neglect information gathering in the relevant country.

  • Be careful not to take a "Japan-oriented" viewpoint.

Let's take a closer look at the three most important points mentioned above.

Do not rely too much on machine translation

A common practice in multilingual SEO is to create content that is "machine-translated to duplicate content.

Needless to say, the essence of modern SEO lies in the "quality of content," so simply machine translating articles created for the Japanese market using Japanese will most likely not be enough to beat the competition.

Of course, the accuracy of machine translation is an ever-evolving world, so it can be a great weapon if used effectively.

Therefore, it would be a good idea to use both human and machine translation depending on the content.

Do not neglect to gather information on the relevant country.

When implementing multilingual SEO, there must always be a "target country.

If you neglect to gather information about the country, you will not be able to implement effective multilingual SEO, so at a minimum, it is a good idea to understand the following points in advance.

  • Local information

  • Customs and trends

  • Websites with domain authority

In particular, understanding "websites with domain authority" and obtaining effective backlinks will lead to multilingual SEO.

Be careful not to take a "Japanese perspective

When we Japanese implement multilingual SEO, it is inevitable that we end up looking at things from a "Japanese perspective.

However, as much as possible, we should try to look at SEO from the "perspective of the country concerned," rather than from the perspective of Japan.

For example, in Japan, high-speed Internet is widely available, so websites and pages with rich information and design can be accessed without problems.

However, in some countries, it is not uncommon for the Internet environment to be fragile, and there is a possibility that usability will deteriorate with websites and pages that are as rich as those in Japan.

It is not uncommon for these "things that are commonplace in Japan" to not work overseas, so it is important to take the perspective of the relevant country whenever possible.


With globalization, multilingual SEO should become more and more mainstream in the future.

It is highly likely that simply translating websites and content created for the Japanese market will not work, so it will be necessary to engage in multilingual SEO as described in the article.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that the essence of modern SEO lies in the "quality of content," which is the same in all languages and regions, so it is important to remember to "create high quality content.

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