How can you position a website in several languages?

Published on 17/01/2024

Nowadays, the need to create multilingual websites has become a priority for many companies and organisations. Positioning a website in several languages involves more than simply translating the content; it also requires an in-depth understanding of the technical and cultural aspects, as well as best practice in SEO. In this article, we'll explore the essential steps for effectively positioning a website in several languages.

1. Plan the website structure:

The first step is to create a clear, user-friendly structure for your multilingual website. Choose between a sub-domain (en.yoursite.com), a sub-directory (yoursite.com/en), or a language parameter in the URL (yoursite.com/?lang=en). Make sure your choice is compatible with search engines and offers an intuitive user experience.

Imagine you manage an e-commerce website called "FashionWorld". To position the website in several languages, you can choose to use subdirectories in the URL. For example, the French version of your website could be accessed from "fashionworld.com/fr". Not only does this structure help users to browse easily between languages, it is also search engine friendly.

2. Use HTML tags:

Language-specific HTML tags, such as <html lang="fr">, are crucial for indicating the language of each page to search engines. These tags help to improve the relevance of the page for users searching for content in a particular language.

Make sure you include the language-specific HTML tag in the header of each page. If you have a product page in French, your HTML tag would look like this:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="https://yoursite.com/fr/page" />

3. Translate the content:

Translation of the website content must be carried out with care. Avoid literal translations, which could lose their meaning in another language. Use a translation agency that works with professional translators or use machine translation tools, but be sure to revise and refine the content to ensure quality.

Let's take the example of the product descriptions of an online boutique. If your flagship product is an "elegant dress", make sure that the French translation is not just literal. A more appropriate translation might be "robe chic" to reflect the cultural nuances of fashion in French.

4. Hreflang Tags:

Hreflang tags are essential for indicating the different language versions of a page to search engines. Add these tags to the header of each page to help search engines understand the relationship between language versions.

For example:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://yoursite.com/en/page" />

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="https://yoursite.com/fr/page" />

5. Content strategy:

Adapt your content strategy to the culture and language preferences of your target audience. Understand cultural nuances to ensure that the content is relevant and respectful in each language.

Let's imagine your website offers blog posts on fashion trends. Adapt your content strategy to cultural preferences. If you're targeting the Asian market, explore fashion trends specific to this region in your content.

6. Testing and optimisation:

Carry out tests by gathering feedback from native users of each language. For example, if your website includes an order form, make sure that the fields are clear and adapted to each language. Monitor performance, correct errors and optimise content based on analytical data.


Positioning a website in several languages requires careful planning and a thorough understanding of the technical and cultural aspects. By following these steps, you can create an effective multilingual website that offers an optimal user experience and maximises search engine visibility.

Emeline PADIEU's picture
Emeline PADIEU

Emeline holds a Master's degree in Applied Foreign Languages, specialising in International Management and International Trade Techniques. She completed her end-of-studies internship at AbroadLink Translations and now works there as a sales and marketing assistant

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