Google took to its Webmaster Central blog on Friday to share some tips for international sites. This comes at a time when an increasing number of online marketing professionals are viewing international SEO as gaining importance.
"Many websites exist in more than one language, and more and more websites are made available for more than one language," Google's Web Studio team writes. "Yet, building a website for more than one language doesn’t simply mean translation, or localization (L10N), and that’s it. It requires a few more things, all of which are related to internationalization (I18N)."
First and foremost, Google says you should always use markup, rather than stylesheets, for international purposes, when it comes to language and directionality. You should avoid coming up solutions like special classes or ID, Google says, and use @lang and @dir, at least on the html element (<html lang="ar" dir="rtl">).
Google says you should use just one style sheet for all locales, make use of the [dir='rtl'] attribute selector and the :lang() pseudo class, as well as mirror left- and right-related values.
Google goes into further detail on all of this and more in the post, which you should definitely read if this concerns you.
According to a recent report from BrightEdge, six out of ten search marketers believe ranking in global search engines will become either "more" or "much more" important this year (compared to last year).