- July 26, 2021
- Posted by: Emeline Jamoul
- Categories: Content Strategy, Translation
You can have the most persuasive website content in the world, but if no one can find it, it might as well not exist. Being found online can be tricky enough in your own country, let alone in new markets.
Enter: SEO translation. Its purpose is to make it quick and easy for users to find your content in the countries and languages you’re targeting.
SEO is often considered an afterthought. But the truth is you’ll achieve much stronger results in the long run by weaving SEO into your translation process from the start.
In this blog post, we’ll explain the importance of SEO translations and the benefits of prioritising and integrating SEO.
Need some guidance? Get in touch!
What is SEO, and why is it so important?
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a technique that aims to position your website at the top of the organic (= unpaid) search engine rankings. The higher you rank, the more traffic will go to your site, increasing your exposure.
You’re probably already using SEO to rank highly on search engines in your own country and language (for example English). But SEO is equally important for your other website languages.
Good SEO practices in your own country won’t guarantee successful SEO results in the new language if you do a standard word-for-word translation or even localisation. Instead, it requires SEO translation.
That’s why correct keyword usage and placement are key.
To avoid losing out on potential traffic, also consider country-unique keywords (e.g. holiday in the UK vs vacation in the US).
But SEO translation isn’t the same as localisation. We’ll explain the difference below:
SEO Translation vs Localisation: What’s the difference?
It’s important to differentiate between SEO translation and localisation. Each requires specific skills and research, but they go hand in hand to achieve a successful outcome.
SEO translation includes keyword research in another language, content translation and optimisation for your target region.
If done right, SEO translation improves the:
- searchability and
of your website or blog on search engines in your target countries and languages.
It can also save you money as you no longer need to hire:
- an industry-savvy translator and
- a separate SEO specialist in your target language.
SEO translation combines these processes for you.
Skills & research required
It all starts with optimising your primary site through monolingual keyword research and adapting your content. This will save you several headaches when it’s time to translate because it means you won’t have to repeat these steps for each language.
Once you know which keywords rank well in your domestic market, multilingual keyword research is next to ensure equivalent search intent in the new market.
By skipping this step and doing a literal keyword translation instead, you would be dismissing several factors: regional use, slang, idioms, dialect, acronyms, synonyms, or spelling.
Tip: You can use the Ahrefs Site Explorer to determine which keywords are already sending traffic to your competitors’ website. With Google Search Console, you can monitor and optimise your site’s searchability.
Localisation is the process of translating and adapting content for another region and its culture.
The goal is to be mindful of cultural differences in the new market so your content makes sense and appeals to your new target audience.
A well-executed content localisation:
- Resonates with the user and inspires trust.
- Achieves higher click-through rates from SERPs (search engine result pages).
- Establishes your brand in new markets.
- Protects your brand’s reputation.
Ideally, the user won’t suspect that your content was ever localised but rather created for them by someone who “gets” them.
Skills & research required
You need a translation team of native speakers who are also familiar with the culture of your target country.
Localising involves replacing wordplay, metaphors and ambiguities in your original content. It also requires converting measurements, dates, currencies, etc. so your materials can be immediately understood and actioned by your targeted user.
Which one do you need?
SEO translation or localisation? The answer: you need both.
The first part is conducting SEO keyword research. The second part involves adapting your content to the local country, language and culture (= localisation).
How to combine SEO translation and localisation
It might seem like SEO translation and localisation require a lot of time, budget and effort. But by pairing with an SEO translation specialist, you’re making this process efficient and work for you.
A professional SEO translation provider will put you on the right track from day one. They also cover more technical SEO aspects, e.g. site structure, CMS (content management system), analytics and link building.
They can also help you find local keywords with:
- high search volumes and
- relatively low difficulty scores
to better target your new market.
Having one vendor who can do both from the beginning will make your process easier to manage and save both costs and rework in the future.
What to consider before starting your translation project
Before getting started with your SEO translation, consider the following:
- Which country or countries do you want to target and why? Research your ideal client and their location.
- Which languages and language variants will apply? If you’re targeting different countries with one language, ask your agency about so-called hreflang attributes.
- Which web pages will you prioritise? It makes sense to start with the landing pages of your top-sellers, about page, services, etc.
- Which search engines are you optimising your content for? Although Google is the most popular search engine in the world, certain countries may also like to use alternatives. For example, Bing is the second most used search engine in Germany after Google.
If you do some preparation beforehand, your project will be more streamlined. Plus, you’ll save yourself unnecessary workloads.
Putting together a detailed brief and finding the right translation provider in the first place is key here. We’ve put together this article to help you with these steps.
Target your new market with the right SEO translation strategy
SEO matters in both your domestic and target market. But translating your top-level keywords won’t translate to high rankings in other countries.
By teaming up with international SEO translation experts familiar with your target language and culture, you’re setting your strategy up for success.
Integrating SEO into your translation process from the beginning allows you to reach new international audiences and grow your online traffic without the extra workload.Any questions about how to start your SEO translation strategy? Get in touch with us, it’s kind of what we do!