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.”
If sites are set up to automatically serve the appropriate HTML content to users, depending on their location and language settings, then that can be done by using server-side 302 redirects or by dynamically serving the right HTML content, they wrote. “Remember to use x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation on the homepage /generic page, even if the latter is a redirect page that is not accessible directly for users.”
Companies should also consider redirecting users for whom there is no one specific language version that would be useful, wrote Bahajji and Illyes. “For instance, [direct] French-speaking users on a Website [to a version] that has English, Spanish and Chinese versions. Show them the content that you consider the most appropriate.”
Webmasters should be sure that all the pages, including country and language selector pages, have rel-alternate-hreflang annotations and are accessible for Googlebot’s crawling and indexing, wrote Bahajji and Illyes. “Do not block the crawling or indexing of your localized pages.”
Companies should also always allow users to switch local version or language through a drop-down menu or other configuration tool so they can select their best choices for using a site. They should also maintain separate URLs for each country and language version to give users the best possibilities of using the sites.
Google is often working to help webmasters and companies improve their Websites for more interactions with users and customers.
Google Gives Tips for Building Websites for International Users
In April 2014, Google refreshed its free online Webmaster Academy course to provide even more tips and information to beginning Webmasters to help them improve their Website skills. The new Webmaster Academy includes expanded information on how beginning Webmasters can build great Websites that are valuable and attractive to users, as well as details about how to build sites that will be seen by Google’s search engine before displaying them to users in search. The course was started two years ago.
In March 2014, Google unveiled a new Google Maps Embed API that aims to make it easier for Website designers to place detailed Google Maps into Web pages so that customers can locate their physical locations more easily. The new API improves on a previous move by Google in December 2013, when the search giant began allowing Website owners and bloggers to embed and use Google Maps images for free.
In December 2013, Google provided a checklist for Website developers to help them ensure that the sites that they build and maintain are always optimized to work well on mobile devices so that sales can be closed and revenue can be generated. The checklist includes relevant studies and business cases as well as videos and slides explaining how to use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to understand mobile visitors’ experiences and intent, according to an eWEEK report.
In November 2013, Google released its latest Google Cloud Endpoints project for general availability, which aims to make it easier for mobile developers to tie their apps into Google’s APIs. For mobile developers, Endpoints provides a simple way to develop a shared Web back end and also provides critical infrastructures, such as OAuth 2.0 authentication, eliminating a great deal of work that would otherwise be needed, according to Google. Google Cloud Endpoints also provides developers with a simple way to create, expose and consume APIs served from App Engine.