28.06.2024

Marketing & Growth

Your guide to building multi-language websites in HubSpot

25 min read

Matthew

In this article, we'll look at the benefits of multilingual websites, what features exist in HubSpot Content Hub and how best to use them, and best practices for maximising their impact on your global marketing strategy.

For companies operating in multiple regions, providing content in the native language of each market can significantly enhance user engagement and satisfaction.

There are two main reasons for building a multi-language website:

  1. To improve user experience
    • Users landing on a page that is relevant to their location, region, country, or language are more likely to have a positive experience.
    • Personalised content, such as products sold, messaging, imagery, and videos tailored for the region, can greatly enhance user satisfaction and engagement.

  2. To drive more relevant organic traffic
    • Google sends users to the right page depending on where they are searching from. For example, someone searching for the website of a company in Germany should find the German version of the website. Google knows that a regional page of the homepage is more useful to users depending on their location.
    • This improves search visibility and drives organic traffic from different geographic locations.

HubSpot Content Hub offers a comprehensive solution for building and managing multilingual websites, with features that support the creation of regional pages and the implementation of SEO best practices, making it easier for businesses to connect with their international audience. 

Key SEO considerations with multi-language websites 

Setting up regional websites is an important strategy for companies that have several locations across multiple countries and want to connect with specific geographic audiences. Regional pages allow organisations to tailor their content to the cultural, linguistic, and regional preferences of their target market. 

This localisation helps in building stronger connections with users by providing them with relevant and relatable content. It also shows commitment to serving each region's unique needs, enhancing your brand's reputation and trustworthiness.

Let’s delve into the benefits:

  • New customers and higher sales: While a multi-language website opens doors to new markets and audiences, a thoughtful approach is crucial. Customers are more likely to trust your brand and make purchases when it's clear that you've done your due diligence to understand and adapt to their location.

  • Search engine expansion: Multilingual websites can significantly boost SEO. HubSpot's hreflang tags ensure proper indexing and display of language versions, enhancing global search visibility for more organic traffic. While Google dominates, numerous local search engines like China's Baidu and Russia's Yandex serve unique audiences. Considering these local engines is vital for effective international audience reach.

  • Building reputation: A multilingual website demonstrates that you respect and value other markets enough to adapt your online presence to their languages.

  • Enhanced user experience: Multilingual websites offer a superior user experience. Visitors are more likely to engage with and trust a website available in their native language, enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing the likelihood of conversions and customer retention.

  • Better localisation: Multilingual websites allow global teams to customise content for specific markets, addressing cultural nuances, preferences, and market-specific trends. This level of localisation is crucial for effectively engaging with local audiences.

  • Global brand consistency: A multilingual website built on the HubSpot platform ensures that your brand message and identity remain consistent across different language versions. This consistency is vital for maintaining a strong, global brand presence.

Significance of technical SEO for multi-language Websites

Technical SEO involves the backend aspects of your website that influence its performance on search engines. For multi-language websites, technical SEO plays a pivotal role in ensuring that each language version is appropriately indexed by search engines and that users are directed to the correct language version based on their location and language preferences.

One of the key elements of technical SEO for multi-language websites is the implementation of hreflang tags, which are HTML attributes used to indicate the language and regional targeting of a webpage. They help search engines understand which version of your content should be shown to users based on their language and location. Implementing hreflang tags correctly ensures that search engines direct users to the appropriate regional version of your site, improving the user experience by providing content in their preferred language.

Hreflang tags play a significant role in both SEO and user experience. Hreflang tags are HTML attributes used to specify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage. By signalling to search engines the correct regional and language versions of your pages, hreflang tags can help improve your search visibility in different regions. This targeted approach can lead to higher rankings in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find your site.

Optimising technical SEO for multi-language websites

Here are some other practical tips to optimise technical SEO for multi-language websites:

  • XML sitemaps: Create separate XML sitemaps for each language version of your website. Submit these sitemaps to search engines like Google to assist with indexing.

  • Geotargeting: Use geo targeting settings in Google Search Console to specify the country targeting for each language version.

  • Mobile optimisation: Ensure that all language versions of your website are mobile-friendly, as mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor in search engine algorithms.

  • Page loading speed: Optimise page loading speed for all language versions. Fast-loading pages improve user experience and positively impact SEO.

  • Canonicalisation: If you use canonical tags on your website, ensure that URLs that link to other URLs with canonical tags do not have hreflang annotations. Hreflang annotations are for URLs that are self-canonical or have no canonical tags.

In summary, technical SEO is crucial for multi-language websites as it ensures that search engines accurately index and serve the right language version to users, ultimately improving visibility and user experience.

Best Practices and tips for managing multilingual websites

Managing multilingual versions of your site

When managing multilingual versions of your site, consider the following best practices to enhance user experience and search visibility:

  1. Use different URLs for different language versions: It's recommended to use distinct URLs for each language version of a page rather than relying on cookies or browser settings to switch content language. Implement hreflang annotations on these URLs to ensure search engines display the correct language version in search results.

  2. Dynamic content adjustments: If you opt to dynamically adjust content or reroute users based on their language preferences, be aware that not all variations may be indexed and crawled properly. This is because crawlers typically originate from a single region and may not set language preferences in HTTP requests.

  3. Indicate language variants clearly: There are multiple methods to label language or regional variants of a page, such as using hreflang annotations and updating sitemaps. This helps search engines identify and serve the correct version of your content to users based on their language and location.

  4. Ensure clear language indicators: The visible content of your page is used to determine its language, so avoid mixing languages within a single page. Use a single language for both content and navigation to help search engines accurately determine the page's language. Additionally, block search engines from crawling automatically translated pages using robots.txt to avoid poor-quality translations being indexed.

  5. Facilitate user language switching: Instead of automatically redirecting users based on assumed language preferences, provide hyperlinks to other language versions of a page. This allows users to manually choose their preferred language and ensures they have access to all site versions.

  6. Use language-specific URLs: It's beneficial to use localised words in URLs or Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). Ensure that UTF-8 encoding is used and properly escape the URLs when linking to them to maintain functionality and readability.

By following these best practices, you can ensure your multilingual site provides a seamless user experience and achieves better search visibility across different regions and languages.

In summary, regional pages and hreflang tags not only enhance the user experience by providing tailored content but also improve your site's SEO performance across different geographic regions.

HubSpot Content Hub makes it straightforward to implement these best practices, helping you achieve your global marketing goals effectively. Let’s take a closer look at HubSpot’s multilingual website capabilities in the following sections.

Why use HubSpot for this?

3 key reasons why you should use HubSpot to create multilingual websites

HubSpot Content Hub is a powerful platform designed to help businesses create, manage, and optimise their content.

With its user-friendly interface and extensive range of AI features, HubSpot Content Hub simplifies the process of building and maintaining websites, including those that serve multiple languages and regions. 

Some of its key features include drag-and-drop page editing, integrated SEO tools, content scheduling, and analytics, all of which contribute to a seamless content management experience.

Let’s dive into the three key reasons why you should use HubSpot to create and manage your multilingual websites.

  1. HubSpot provides data privacy and legal tools to manage a global website

Global teams face not only the challenges of communication across different languages and cultures but also the complex web of data privacy regulations and legal requirements, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), that vary from one country to another. 

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe consequences, including hefty fines, legal disputes, and reputational damage. This is where HubSpot steps in to assist global teams. The platform is designed to help businesses navigate the labyrinth of data privacy regulations and legal requirements effectively and efficiently.

HubSpot provides a comprehensive set of tools and features tailored to ensure compliance with diverse legal requirements. These tools offer businesses a robust framework to protect sensitive customer data and uphold legal standards across all regions they operate in.

Let's delve into how HubSpot achieves this:

  • Consent management: HubSpot's Consent Management tools allow businesses to collect and manage consent from contacts, ensuring that their data is used in compliance with the applicable regulations. HubSpot enables businesses to customise consent forms, making it easy to obtain and track consent for data processing activities.

  • Data protection features: HubSpot offers a range of features to safeguard data privacy, including encryption, access controls, and security certifications. These features guarantee the security and confidentiality of customer data, a crucial aspect of data privacy compliance.

  • International data transfer: For businesses with a global presence, the transfer of data between countries is a common necessity. HubSpot provides solutions for international data transfer, ensuring that data flows smoothly while maintaining compliance with regional regulations.

  • Legal compliance templates: HubSpot offers a library of legal compliance templates and checklists that businesses can use as a starting point to create compliant terms and policies. These templates can be customised to meet the specific requirements of different regions and jurisdictions.

By providing a comprehensive suite of features that ensure compliance, HubSpot enables businesses to operate confidently and securely in a global marketplace.

With the right tools in place, businesses can navigate the intricate legal frameworks of different countries while maintaining the trust of their customers and avoiding the potentially devastating consequences of non-compliance.

  1. HubSpot Content Hub streamlines multilingual website creation

HubSpot Content Hub is well-equipped to handle the challenges of multilingual website management.

Let’s dive into specific features designed to facilitate the creation and maintenance of content in multiple languages, ensuring that your global audience receives a consistent and localised experience:

  • Multilingual page creation: HubSpot allows you to create and manage pages in multiple languages easily. You can set a primary language for each page and add translations for other languages, ensuring that all versions of your content are connected and managed efficiently.

  • Language switcher: The platform includes a built-in language switcher that enables users to toggle between different language versions of your site. This feature enhances user experience by making it simple for visitors to find content in their preferred language.

  • SEO-friendly localisation: HubSpot supports the implementation of hreflang tags and other SEO best practices, helping search engines understand and index your multilingual content correctly. This capability is crucial for achieving high search rankings in different regions.

  • Content segmentation: You can segment your content based on language and region, ensuring that users see the most relevant information for their locale. This segmentation helps tailor your marketing efforts to specific audiences, improving engagement and conversion rates.

In summary, HubSpot Content Hub provides a comprehensive solution for managing multilingual websites. Its features support the creation of localised content, enhance SEO performance, and improve the overall user experience. By leveraging HubSpot's capabilities, businesses can effectively reach and engage their global audience, driving success in international markets.

  1. HubSpot’s Content Hub offers advanced language  translation capabilities

When creating content for multi-language websites, there are several options for translating content to cater to diverse audiences. Each approach has its pros and cons, including considerations of cost, quality, and efficiency. Let's explore these three options in detail:

1. Automated translation using AI tools like Deepl

Automated translation tools powered by artificial intelligence, such as HubSpot’s AI translation tool powered by Deepl, offer a cost-effective and efficient way to translate content.

These tools can quickly generate translations for a wide range of languages, saving time and money. However, the quality of automated translations can vary, and they may not capture the nuances and cultural context of the language, potentially leading to inaccuracies and misunderstandings.

Automated translation tools are best suited for straightforward, non-creative content, such as product descriptions.

2. Outsourcing to a professional translation house

Outsourcing content translation to a professional translation agency or house can deliver high-quality, culturally accurate translations. These experts have a deep understanding of language nuances, context, and cultural sensitivities.

However, outsourcing translation services can be relatively expensive and may have longer turnaround times, especially for large volumes of content.

3. Hiring an In-House copywriter for translation

Hiring an in-house copywriter with proficiency in the target language can provide an efficient and cost-effective solution for content translation. This approach allows for better control over the translation process and can result in translations that closely align with your brand's voice and messaging.

However, finding the right talent with the required language skills may be challenging, and it may not be practical for all businesses.

Pros and cons of each approach

Options

Pros

Cons


Automated Translation


Cost-effective and efficient for simple content


Lacks nuanced translation

Professional Translation House

Ensures high-quality, culturally accurate translations

Can be expensive


In-House Copywriter


Offers control over the process and brand alignment


Requires finding the right talent

 

Ultimately, the choice of translation method will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the importance of accuracy and cultural context in your content.

Many businesses opt for a combination of these approaches, using automated tools for basic content and professional translation for critical and culturally sensitive materials, finding a balance between efficiency and quality.

How to use HubSpot's translation features 

HubSpot's translated pages feature allows businesses to create and manage multiple language versions of their website content efficiently.

This functionality is integral for companies with a global presence, enabling them to provide localised content tailored to the linguistic preferences of their diverse audiences. 

Creating translated pages in HubSpot Content Hub is a straightforward process designed to help you manage your multilingual content seamlessly.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Creating a primary language page
    • Start by creating your page in the primary language. This page will serve as the base version from which all translations will be derived. Use HubSpot’s intuitive page editor to build and optimise your content.

  2. Adding translations for different languages
    • Once your primary language page is ready, you can add translations. In the page settings, navigate to the "Translations" section and select "Add Translation."
    • Choose the language for the new translation. You will then see a switch that allows you to translate the content with HubSpot’s AI translation tool. Simply select which language you want to translate to. 
    • You can then edit the translated page to ensure the content is accurate and culturally appropriate for the target audience. HubSpot's interface allows you to switch between the primary and translated versions easily, ensuring consistency.

Tips for managing translated content effectively

  1. Maintain consistency: Ensure that the translated content maintains the same structure and key messages as the primary language page. Consistency is crucial for brand integrity and user experience.

  2. Work closely with native speakers: Work with native speakers or professional translators to create high-quality translations. This approach helps avoid misinterpretations and ensures that the content resonates with local audiences.

  3. Regular updates and reviews: Keep your translated content up to date by regularly reviewing and updating it. This practice ensures that all language versions reflect the latest information and branding.

  4. Use HubSpot’s content staging: Utilise HubSpot’s content staging environment to preview and test translated pages before publishing them. This feature helps identify and fix any issues in the translations or layout.


By following these steps and tips, you can effectively manage your multilingual content within HubSpot Content Hub, providing a consistent and engaging experience for your global audience.

In summary, HubSpot’s translated pages feature simplifies the process of creating and managing multilingual websites. By allowing you to add translations and maintain consistency across different language versions, HubSpot ensures that your content is accessible and relevant to users worldwide. 

Overview of HubSpot’s auto-translation feature

HubSpot’s auto-translation feature leverages machine translation to help businesses quickly generate multilingual content. This tool is designed to save time and reduce the manual labour associated with translating large volumes of content, such as copying and pasting text between different language versions.

By automating this process, companies can efficiently create multilingual websites and maintain a consistent brand presence across global markets.


Benefits and limitations of auto-translation

The auto-translation feature offers several advantages:

  • Time and resource savings: Auto-translation significantly reduces the time required to produce translated content. Instead of manually translating or copying and pasting text, businesses can generate translations with just a few clicks, speeding up the content creation process.

  • Efficiency in handling large volumes of content: For companies with extensive websites or frequent content updates, auto-translation helps manage the workload by automating repetitive tasks. This efficiency allows marketing teams to focus on more strategic activities.

However, there are limitations to consider:

  • Accuracy and nuances of machine translation: While auto-translation is convenient, it often lacks the accuracy and cultural nuances that human translation provides. Machine-generated content can sound mechanical or awkward, potentially affecting the quality of the user experience.

  • Errors in custom modules and specific content: With HubSpot's auto-translation tool, some custom modules do not correctly translate, for instance, company names are falsely translated, which can be problematic. On the other hand, some elements, like meta descriptions, are not translated at all, requiring manual input.

  • Requirement for native speaker review: To ensure high-quality translations, it’s essential to have native speakers review and refine the auto-translated content. This step helps correct any errors, improve readability, and ensure the content resonates with the target audience. Although this adds a cost, it is generally cheaper than translating content from scratch.

Best practices for using auto-translation

  • When to use auto-translation vs human translation: Use auto-translation for initial drafts or less critical content where speed is a priority. For high-stakes content, such as key landing pages, marketing copy or customer-facing materials, invest in professional human translation to ensure accuracy and cultural relevance.

  • Reviewing and editing auto-translated content: Always plan to have native speakers review and edit auto-translated content. This process helps maintain the quality and effectiveness of your communications. Set aside time and budget for this crucial step to avoid potential miscommunications or brand damage.

  • Combining machine and human translation: Consider a hybrid approach where auto-translation is used for initial content generation, followed by human review and refinement. This strategy combines the efficiency of machine translation with the accuracy and cultural sensitivity of human translators.

By implementing these best practices, businesses can leverage HubSpot’s auto-translation feature effectively, balancing speed and quality in their multilingual content strategy.

How to create language variant website pages in HubSpot: a step-by-step guide

HubSpot’s intuitive dashboard makes it pretty simple to set up and manage your various translated pages. If you’ve included global content in multiple templates already, you’ll be required to use the page editor to create multilingual variations of your global content.

Multi-language page group setup: Once you’ve got the above in place, head over to your landing page or website page dashboard to create multiple language variations. Under the ‘'More’ dropdown, select ‘create multi-language variation’ and then choose the language you want to save the page as. From there, you’ll need to clone your master page in the content editor. Now you can begin localising your pages by populating them with the relevant translations!

Adding pages to existing multi-language groups: On your landing page or website page dashboard, look for the globe icon next to your translated page. To see the translated pages associated with the page, click on the ‘arrow’ icon to open up the dropdown.

We’ll let HubSpot explain the next steps:

  1. Hover over a translated page and click the Actions dropdown menu, then select Add to multi-language group.
  2. In the dialogue box, click the Language of selected page dropdown menu and select a language for this page.
  3. Then click the Select a master page dropdown menu and select a master page to associate this page with.
  4. Click Save.

Before you take things live, you’ll need to get a web developer to add a language switcher feature to your page template. You can do so using HubSpot’s design manager tool.

Conclusion

Content Hub offers a comprehensive set of tools and features to help businesses create and manage effective multilingual websites in HubSpot.

In conclusion, businesses with a global presence can greatly benefit from HubSpot’s multilingual features. By effectively managing and optimising multilingual content, companies can connect with diverse audiences, drive international growth, and strengthen their brand presence worldwide. For those looking to explore HubSpot’s multilingual capabilities further, partnering with a HubSpot partner like Huble can provide the expertise and support needed to set up and manage a successful multilingual site.

Contact Huble today for expert HubSpot implementation services and take your international presence to the next level.

Not using HubSpot yet?

Book a demo with our team today.

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