International SEO – How to Translate Your Website to Different Languages

Translating your website for international SEO purposes

A company’s global reach is a topic that doesn’t generally come up. Until they find themselves getting inquiries or generating orders from other countries. At this point, business owners naturally begin to consider global marketing strategies. This has led to global SEO creating a real buzz in the e-commerce world.

In this situation, the first thing that often springs to mind is website translation. That’s a great start, but optimizing a site’s content to improve its global reach involves far more than translation alone. If your priority is to establish an international market for your brand or business, you’ll want to secure website translation services that provide maximum results. Let’s talk about three important considerations in creating an international SEO plan.

It’s not just about Google Search

Global SEO goes beyond translation services by targeting customers in a particular region. While this process often begins with hiring a translation company to create content in multiple languages. This is often only the first step. Just as standard SEO requires laser-focused targeting, reaching international customers involves doing the same – through localization. And this doesn’t only apply to Google, but to multiple search engines.

If you’ve only just got used to SEO for Google, you many not relish the prospect of learning another algorithm. However, depending on which countries you want to market to, that might be precisely what you need to do. There are alternative search engines to consider: Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and Baidu are widely used in other countries. Ranking in these engines is a priority if you want to move toward your goal of marketing internationally.

SEO localization is not the same as translation

If you’ve ever traveled to another part of your own country, you know that even a distance of a few hundred miles can change things. The accent that is spoken, the outside temperature and climate, a region’s architectural style, and even its cuisine can vary greatly. Internationally, these differences are even more pronounced. Unless you’re highly familiar with the locale and language, it is likely you will need a translation agency not only to convert your site’s content into the correct language, but to provide website localization as well.

Many big companies have made the mistake of merely converting their web copy into the local language without implementing any localization. You may have heard about such blunders. For example, in China, Pepsi’s original slogan – “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” – translated into a statement that meant, “Pepsi brings your relatives back from the dead.” Hardly the message that Pepsi had in mind to promote its cola.

While mistakes like this are amusing to read about, they underscore the need for having a firm grasp on cultural differences before you attempt to translate web content verbatim.

For website translation to be successful, a solid understanding of the local culture, its geography, and the nuances of the language are required. Regional dialects, slang words, and colloquialisms should be taken into account so that your keyword search will be optimized with the proper phrasing. Additionally, it is vital to know what is appropriate for the culture and what is not. You want to ensure that your prospective customers have a positive experience, not leave your site insulted.

Keyword Research

A third consideration, which goes hand-in-hand with website localization, is keyword research. The interests and needs of your global audience are what will create your keywords. Making sure these keywords translate into relevant search phrases is critical to your success. What is important to your audience is going to vary considerably around the world, so you want to uncover the answers to questions such as:

•What are the emotions and values of my target audience and how are they expressed in the local language?

•Where does my target audience typically shop for products like mine?

•What do they call my product and how is it described?

•How do they perform searches?  Are there common phrases used for this?

•Who is typically doing the purchasing in a household or business?

•Are my keywords appropriate for the audience I am targeting?

•Am I displaying the correct time and currency on my site?

Additionally, you will want to research which keywords your competition is using and see how you can improve upon them.

The worldwide marketplace

The statistics regarding Internet use around the world may surprise you. Of the entire population of internet users, North America represents only 8.3%. European users make up 17%, while Asia represents nearly half of all internet users on the planet, at a staggering 48.7%. Clearly, if you aren’t looking at the growth of your business from a global perspective, you are leaving revenue on the table.

Expanding Your Global Reach with International SEO

Considering the preferred search engine of your target market, implementing website localization, and performing thorough and relevant keyword research are critical components of a successful strategy for global e-commerce. Rather than just translating your website into another language, taking the time to create quality content that resonates with your foreign audience is a way to capture your share of the global market and generate

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