What’s the Best Way to Build a Multilingual Website?

2019/07/30 20:00

website differente languages

If you know that a significant percentage of your target audience speaks other languages, creating a website in different languages is definitely worthwhile.

Creating a multilingual website will enhance your user experience and ensure you aren’t missing out on some valuable business.

From an SEO perspective, you don’t want your search engine rankings to be affected by your translations but having a defined architecture can prevent this.

Let’s look at the options for building a multilingual website.

Structuring Multilingual Sites: Subdirectory, Subdomain or ccTLD?


This is definitely one of the more costly and complicated ways to create a multilingual site but it has its benefits too. ccTLD is the ideal option when you need to meet specific legal requirements for countries, China being one of them. It’s also ideal if your customers are based in a country where the common language is specific to that country, Russia being an example. Unfortunately, there’s also no way to guarantee that the right audience will see the TLD at all.


If ccTLDs are not the best option for your site, subdomains should be considered. However, many experts still feel this option has more cons than pros. One of the benefits of using subdomains is that you can build out specific languages and can even use separate IP addresses if you’re using an off-platform translation tool. Unfortunately, a subdomain could be seen as a new domain by Google, which means you will need to start from scratch in terms of SEO.


Subdirectories are the final option and one of the easiest to implement. Basically, you’re just creating another folder on your site. One of the benefits of using subdirectories is that they will inherit your root domain’s ranking value. Subdirectories can also be tracked individually, which makes it easier to monitor performance. The fact that your local rankings might decrease is the only real downside of using subdirectories.

The Verdict

Our suggestion is that you stick to using subdirectories to build multilingual websites because they tend to rank faster and are the preferred choice for some big names, including Apple.