The Potential SEO Value of Building Foreign Language Backlinks

Illustration of backlinks coming from websites in different foreign languages towards a central English website, showing the concept of using non-English backlinks from international sites for SEO benefits.

Getting backlinks from websites in other languages outside of English can be an effective strategy to boost SEO performance for some sites. However, there are pros and cons to consider when deciding if and how to build foreign language backlinks.

Why Foreign Backlinks Can Help Your SEO

There are a few potential benefits to building backlinks on foreign language websites:

Increased Linking Opportunities

Foreign sites may be more inclined to link to English-language websites as sites based in English-speaking countries tend to produce more high-quality reference content. These backlinks from international sites can help pass authority and rankings strength to your site.

Local Search Visibility

While foreign backlinks pass authority to your overall domain, they also send positive signals specifically for local search rankings in the country of that language. Getting even a handful of backlinks from relevant local sites in target countries can improve geo-targeted SEO.

Cost and Availability

High authority backlinks from reputable foreign sites in some non-English languages may be significantly easier and cheaper to acquire than similar quality backlinks from English authority sites. The costs and effort to do outreach for backlinks vary greatly by language and region.

Expanding Your Reach

Creating foreign language content opens up your site and brand to new overseas audiences. By building a translated version of your site or just a blog in local languages, you expand your reach while also building SEO-friendly backlinks to your English site.

Tips for Implementation

If you decide to build foreign backlinks, here are some best practices to do it effectively:

Prioritize Relevance Over Language

The relevance and authority of the site matter far more than what language it is in. Stay focused on getting backlinks from reputable sites closely related to your industry or content vertical, regardless if those sites are in English or other languages.

Use High-Quality Translations

Machine translation alone often does not produce content quality enough for getting links. Use actual human translations or native language speakers to create foreign language content that will attract links. Poor translations can hurt rather than help.

Balance With English Backlinks

Don’t overly prioritize foreign links at the expense of building high-quality backlinks from authoritative English-language sites. Maintain balance to reinforce your foundation in English SEO.

Review Sites Thoroughly

Carefully vet any non-English site before attempting to build links from it. Some foreign sites make more effort to adequately assess authority and reputation. Avoid low-quality or manipulative linking sources.

Potential Downsides to Weigh

Here are a few of the drawbacks to keep in mind:

Distraction From Core SEO

Focusing time and resources too heavily on non-English link building can become a distraction from high-priority English language SEO tasks. Make sure foreign links complement rather than detract from core efforts.

Assessing Link Quality

Vetting the quality of foreign sites, and spotting link schemes or manipulative tactics in other languages, can take more time and effort compared to assessing English language sites. Poor-quality links could violate Google guidelines.

Limited Reward Potential

For languages with more limited business potential for your site, the costs of content translation and outreach may outweigh the modest expected benefits from local search bumps. Focus efforts on languages with clearer ROI.


When strategically built from relevant sites in a selective and balanced way, foreign language backlinks provide added authority and geo-targeted SEO benefits to complement an English-focused link-building approach. They expand markets while reinforcing rankings. But their value depends on site relevance overriding language priorities. With any link building, quality surpasses quantity across languages.