With more than 2 billion active websites worldwide, getting content translated via Google Translate will never help search engines pick a business out of the crowds.
In fact, Google’s search engine dichotomizes automatically translated texts and phrases as spam, and even though machine translation is good for interpreting short texts, businesses need a lot more resources and planning to utilize their translations right.
And that’s where SEO translation comes in. SEO translators do not rely on verbatim, letter-for-letter interpretation to do their jobs. Instead, they study keywords in their original forms to derive meaning from cultural, political, and social contexts before translating them into locally-adapted texts and phrases.
If you’re a translator who likes to tap into local cultures and meanings and watch how language can help companies grow dramatically, then SEO translation is just for you. For the most accurate SEO translation results, here are 10 best practices that will help you get your job done.
1. Plan your time and financial resources accordingly:
The perfect time to become an SEO translator is when you have the resources and time capacities to pull it off.
To master SEO translation, you’ll need enough resources to be able translate an entire website and launch it to multiple audiences on the same day- which is what big players like Nike and Nintendo look for when putting their money in a huge team of SEO-specialist translators.
As such, unlike other basic translation jobs where time will not be an issue, becoming an SEO translator needs
2. Pick an ideal content management system:
When going multilingual, a CMS (like Magento and WordPress) that supports multiple languages is probably the best approach to take. These minimize hosting space requirements and allow you to manage several sites simultaneously by updating redesigns promptly across every company website.
3. Update your Hreflang Tags:
These are HTML characters that search engines like Google use to locate a web page’s geographical and language targeting.
In short, updating your Hreflang Tags (dubbed one of the most complicated SEO tasks) makes sure that your users receive content in a language they can understand.
4. Conduct a polyglot keyword research:
Before entering a foreign market, multilingual keyword research focusing on search volumes as well as existing competition is a prerequisite to success. It will help you unearth appropriate keywords for your backlinks and web page SEO.
Tools like SEMRush will help you determine the popularity of chosen keywords in your target location, which consequently informs you about the number of potential consumers. For example, SEMRush’s keyword search tool estimates that, every month, more than 100,000 people from France look for ‘Location Vacances’ online–which is French for vacation rentals. A company expanding its operations to Britain, where less than 100 people a month search for ‘Vacation Rentals’ while hundreds of thousands look for ‘Holiday Homes’, could lose out on a lot of business if they fail to conduct a multilingual keyword search.
5. Double down on your multilingual backlink strategy:
Don’t forget to update your backlinks after completing other website translation tasks. Most of the links in your original website (in blog posts and on landing pages, for instance) do not usually lead to content created in a language that a foreign user can understand.
Furthermore, expansions into new markets are likely accompanied by the need to face new competitors (some of whom already dominate the region); so, ensure that most of the backlinks do not increase traction for your newfound business rivals.
6. Map your keywords:
Start by mapping every English keyword to specific website landing pages. The rule of thumb is to use a single keyword for one landing page.
Translate selected keywords from original to target language while identifying other translated equivalents (synonyms) of these key terms.
Avoid keyword-laden copy and spammy material. This is in order to guarantee an impeccable flow of content on every webpage. And do not prioritize keyword utility over conversational-sounding tones. What you need is a perfect balance between the two. Remember to focus on the details. For example, how will you integrate accents onto the new site URLs? Confirm if the CMS you are using has tools or plugins that could help you generate new website URLs which lack quotation marks like accents.
7. Confirm search volumes:
These tools also indicate the keyword difficulty, a metric that measures the competitiveness of your translated keywords in the foreign market.
8. Translated keyword mapping:
After confirming the capacity of your list of keywords to attract high search volumes and consequently increase website traffic, with the help of a spreadsheet, project selected key terms onto respective original webpages.
Upon completion, the next step is to translate whole web pages into the intended dialect. During the translation, make a point to use the previously translated keywords as part of page copy–within title and body texts.
You should also ensure that the URLs and meta data include these keywords, otherwise, your site might not receive as much traction.
9. Don’t be tempted to use Google Translate!
We’ve talked before about the allure of machine translation, and, well, you’re most likely to be tempted to use auto-translate at this point. But, please don’t. The choice would pose undesirable implications to your brand’s global SEO strategy. You might think you are smart enough to trick Google, but suffice it to say that smarter people created the company’s search engine.
Google gives websites with high-quality content the highest rankings, regardless of the language used. If the search engine detects spelling mistakes or other grammatical errors (which is bound to exist when you do not understand the foreign language in question), it will flag your site, thereby limiting traction.
10. Finally, do not violate any cultural values or beliefs:
Does the translated text violate any cultural values or beliefs? What is common in China, like the Red Envelope philosophy that informs celebrations during the Chinese New Year, is not necessarily important in your country of origin. Language is not the only component keeping your foreign potential customers from consuming your products, effective localization is another key element.
Keep in mind that currencies and measurements like height and weight are not constant all over the world. Some countries use different systems, and your new site should reflect knowledge of such nuances.
Bringing it all together;
SEO translation can make or break your globalization ambitions. Any business that wants to establish an international influence must speak to its global audience in a language the latter can understand.
More importantly, if it is hard for them to find you online, especially via search engines, your company could miss out on a number of leads.
Remember that more than 2 billion other websites also want a piece of the pie (if not the entire cake), and mastering SEO translation is a tried and proven approach to effective content localization.