If your company has a website, you’ll be all too familiar with the term SEO; after all, strong SEO is seen by digital gurus as the utopia of online success. Just performing English SEO is unlikely to help you win global customers though, so adjusting the content of your website will not only help it to rank on search engines in new countries, but it is also far more likely to convert users into customers. It’s not as though optimising your local search results is a ground breaking discovery, but with Google constantly moving the goal posts and altering its algorithms, it’s always good to keep on top of recent developments. With people four times more likely to buy in their own language, translating your SEO efforts to increase your web traffic makes perfect sense.
Localise your domain name
Unless your website is fully established, the first step towards website optimisation is choosing a suitable domain name. If you want to be recognised within a particular country or area, choosing a domain name which includes the name of the country you’re targeting would be the most suitable and beneficial option. Make sure you register your new domain name well ahead of your website launch, as a brand new domain takes a while to gain online trust and to rank well in search results.
I’m sure everyone has seen a comedic mistranslation online somewhere, and yes - they’re often hilarious – but would you want your brand to be associated with a potentially damaging translation fail? Free online translation tools have their place, but that place is never within a professional environment. Don’t attempt to cut costs in this arena – if your website is peppered with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes – how can visitors trust your service and your brand?
A professional translator will not just check for linguistic accuracy, but also for cultural adeptness. This process is referred to as localisation, and is a vital step for companies trying to engage with customers abroad. Did you know for example that the colour purple is often regarded as a colour of mourning and death in Brazil? The process of true website localisation would pick up on elements such as this, and would go as far as changing certain shades on web pages for the markets in question.
International keyword research
Multilingual SEO goes hand-in-hand with website localisation, as it’s often the case that customers in different countries will use different terms to search for products and services online. Using the correct keywords is essential if your business wants to gain optimal ROI from its PPC advertising and/or display network advertising investments. Researching which keywords work for your foreign markets can be a difficult and laborious task, so it’s often best left to the experts. Professional, native, translators who live and breathe the everyday language of their country, are the ones best placed to propose country-specific keywords. A simple example of this would be someone looking online for sports shoes; an American would be looking for sneakers, whereas a UK shopper would be searching for trainers.
Blogging is one of the best ways to add up-to-date content to your website, and allows you to target alternative keywords (multilingual SEO) that link to your main product or service offerings. If you are targeting a specific country therefore, make sure you’re writing local and relevant content, aimed at your chosen market. This not only helps you to reach and engage with a specific audience, but also provides a platform for local links which, in turn, will help your website to rank in the search engines.
It’s not enough to write one or two blog posts and expect a whole new nation to flock to your site; you must blog in the native language as often as possible. Research shows that 70 per cent of consumers are less willing to trust a brand that doesn’t provide promotion-free information.
Knowing how your global customers shop online is vital, and each country should be addressed separately. Using the right domain names, the right keywords, professional translation and native blog posts, you’ll be able to deliver value not only to your customers, but to your overall brand.
Joanne Taylor, Head of Marketing, Capita Translation & Interpreting.
Tel: +44(0) 845 367 7000