How to optimise SEO with Squarespace and the Multilingualizer

One of the most common reasons for people wishing to make their Squarespace sistes multilingual is to attract traffic from those markets. Commonly, we have consulants, micro-businesses and small businesses who are themselves bilingual or polyglots and their customers are similarly talented.

By adding the Multilingualizer to your Squarespace site, you get the ability to have blocks of text be hidden or shown for different languages. Since the text all exists on your site, Google is guaranteed to see it, but with the latest changes we’ve made things are even better for SEO now.

Automated SEO Improvements

We have made a couple of important additions to the Multilingualizer to help with your SEO landing pages which have gone live today.

The first change is we’ve added the ?lang=fr style parameter so there is a unique page for each language. In Squarespace, the URL to change language still needs to be javascript:languageClicked(0); but if you wish to link directly to a specific page, you can enter that URL and add ?lang=fr to have the content displayed in your translation to French.

This ?lang=fr parameter has allowed us to add hreflang meta tags which Googlebot processes (it can process some limited JavaScript) and means Googlebot no longer needs to infer which language a particular page is written in. For example, if you have /dog-collars/ then Googlebot will also see /dog-collars/?lang=fr and any other languages you have added and index them separately.

Note – this still means the URL is not translated. If you wish to have translated URLs for some pages then for those you will need to make use of our other new feature – language specific menus.

Language-specific Menus

Thanks to popular demand, we’ve added language-specific menus to the Multilingualizer.

For example, you can create a menu specific for the French language and inside it have links to French-specific pages – these French-specific pages can have French language URLs and be entirely in French. To make a menu be French-specific, all you need to do is add an extra menu item to the French-specific menu at the bottom called [french]. Give it a URL of # (the menu item gets removed anyway). Now only French-language users will see this menu and you can contain French-specific pages with French URLs inside it.

Product Pages

Use our on-page translation system for your products so you don’t need to maintain two stores. Bear in mind that we cannot translate the checkout pages, but if you use the on-page translation all translations of the product names will be passed through to your payment gateway. Payment gateways themselves mostly present pages in the users language.

If you don’t wish to have both languages present in your product names at checkout, if you’re on SquareSpace or Shopify, you can run two or mores stores – one for each language. But then you have stock control issues where the stock needs to be updated between the different stores. Until Squarespace or Shopify add multilingual features, there’s no way around this.

Other Changes

We’ve added video tagging – when you add a video to your site, add [english] to the video description and this video will only display for English-language visitors.

Summary

We’ve improved natural SEO using hreflang metatags and the unique ?lang=fr page for our on-page block translation. We’ve also added language-specific menus to allow you to easily have complete pages specific for each language where necessary. We’ve got a semi-automated translation tool coming soon to make it easier for you to generate backfilled translations for all your pages.

If there’s anything else you’d like to see, let us know and we’ll add it to the next sprint for the Multilingualizer.

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Dave Hilditch

Dave has been programming since 6 years old and has been developing WordPress plugins, themes and websites since 2010. In the past he built the browse view technology for Skyscanner and now he helps clients with interesting website challenges.

He is always on at least one of his computers when he's awake, so get in touch and he'll get right back to you.

He is the creator of the Multilingualizer.
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