Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to market products globally with the help of store systems like Shopify and the like. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is a multilingual online store.

To get your online store off the ground in other markets, you need to do some planning in advance. Something that you should definitely not neglect in this endeavor is the search engine optimization of your multilingual online store.

To ensure that you are well positioned in this regard, in this blog post we will reveal some tips and strategies related to SEO for multilingual online stores.

The advantages of a multilingual online store

If your online store is already doing well here at home, it is worth considering expanding the store to several languages and countries. Because multilingual online stores bring some advantages with them:

  1. Users prefer to buy in their native language, which means that with an additional store in French or Italian, for example, you will reach a larger buyer base.
  2. In turn, the larger target audience and increased reach with your multilingual online store will allow you to generate more revenue.
  3. A multilingual search engine optimized online store also improves the satisfaction of your customers at the same time, as it is tailored to the needs of local customers.
  4. At the right moment, a multilingual online store can thus become a clear competitive advantage for you and secure you large market shares in the additional regions.

1. choice of multilingual domain strategy

Before you start internationalizing your online store, you need to think about how to approach it holistically. There are three ways to create and structure your multilingual online store at domain level:

  1. Country-code top-level domains: If you currently own the German CCTL domain for your online store ( and want to expand your store to France and Italy, for example, you should check whether the respective CCTL domains( and are available for your domain. The advantage of this strategy is that users naturally trust these domains more, as they have a clear geographical focus. However, one disadvantage is that the domains and the management of them is often much more expensive.
  2. Subdomains: these are easy to set up and your website is easier to subdivide. For example, as a subdomain for a Spanish store you would choose The disadvantage of this is that it is not directly recognizable from this whether it is only a language alignment or a geographical alignment.
  3. Subdirectories: The advantages of this are that maintenance and setup of subdirectories on your domain are easy to handle. So you can set up for your French store and further expand your French online store under it. So you can then easily expand that for more languages and countries.

2. use of hreflang tags

No matter what domain strategy you ultimately choose, hreflang tags are a must. These help Google understand the different language versions of your website and display the correct language version for users in search.

It also helps you avoid duplicate content, as the different language versions are perceived as independent content. For this, the hreflang tags can be included in your multilingual online store in two different ways.

On the one hand, these can be placed in the head tag of the website or determined in the sitemap.

So if you have additional stores for France, Italy and Spain besides your German online store, the hreflang tags of your website will look like this:

You can create the tags for example using the

hreflang tags generator tool by Aleyda Solís

. More information for the correct inclusion and use of hreflang tags can be obtained directly from

read in the corresponding Google documentation


3. country specific keyword research

Not all keywords can be translated 1:1 from one language to another. Therefore, it is important that you conduct separate keyword research for each language version of your website.

For this you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush or Ahrefs. However, you should make sure that you have really identified the right keywords for each language and region to get the best results.

Because it’s important to understand that the same words or phrases can mean different things in different regions, and users from other countries may search for your products differently.

For example, “la torta” means “cake” in Spain, but in all of South America it means a slap in the face.

Thus, misunderstandings or incorrect content can quickly arise due to a keyword research that has not been carried out carefully.

Careful keyword research is therefore essential to get your message across clearly. That’s why it can be beneficial to get help from native speakers or trained translators to avoid positioning yourself poorly in the new market due to incorrect translations.

Identifying keywords is therefore an important step in developing a successful multilingual SEO strategy. By taking the time to understand your target audience and your needs, you can ensure that your website is found better in search results internationally and you generate more traffic and sales.

4. translate your content

If you want to optimize your multilingual online store for search, you cannot avoid translating your content. However, besides translating navigation, product descriptions and category pages, there are other parts of your website that you should not forget in the process.

In addition to the texts on your multilingual landing pages, you should also translate the meta titles and descriptions as well as the URLs.

If the URL of your German online store is as follows: you should translate it accordingly to or

This is important to increase the credibility of your store and build trust in it. This is because a large proportion of users store exclusively in online stores that are available in their native language.

Therefore, you should translate all elements, even if it seems less important at first glance, because after all, they pay on the overall impression of your online store.

5. creating high quality and helpful content.

Regardless of the language, the content on your website should always add value for users and be of high quality. Specific to your e-commerce business, this means that you should not simply copy product descriptions from manufacturers, for example, but provide your customers with additional useful information about them.

These can be, for example, direct comparisons with similar products that you also offer or with the results of a product test that you have carried out yourself.

In addition, it is important that the content is correctly localized and culturally appropriate for each language. This not only improves your reach in search, but also increases the usability of your website.

To ensure that you are well positioned for each market, it is recommended,
plan content marketing for your online store holistically
and localize it.

6. generate local backlinks

Backlinks still play a certain role in search engine optimization, even though they don’t have as much influence as they did a few years ago. But especially with a multilingual SEO strategy for a still quite new online store, you should not disregard local backlinks.

Finally, sources from the respective country and with the corresponding language should also refer to you as a store, so that you gain authority and visibility there. However, to get these backlinks, we are back to the topic of content. Because only content with added value, will lead to qualified backlinks in other languages and countries.

However, there are some links that you can already set yourself to your multilingual online store. Depending on how big your company is, you may not only have your location in Germany, but also already there, where you want to address new customers with your website.

Then you should definitely set up a Google company profile with your local office and then set the link to the appropriate store there. This is extremely important, because often a link is simply set here to the main store and not to the correct language version.

You can do the same with your social media profiles, for example, if you have a separate profile for each country. In addition, you can get listed in a local online business or industry directory, or even in local “online phone books”. For more tips on successful link building, check out our blog post on this.

Conclusion: Multilingual SEO for online stores need of planning

There are some specific SEO strategies that are very effective especially for multilingual websites and online stores. By tailoring your website to the needs of your target audience and customizing your content for each language, you ensure that your online store is more visible in search engines and consequently you generate more traffic and sales.

Nevertheless, optimizing a multilingual online store requires careful planning and implementation. If you need help with this, we will be happy to assist you in optimizing your online store.

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