SEO multilingue

Do your translators speak Google?

You had your website translated to give an international visibility to your company? Are you sure it is an SEO friendly translation?

According to a survey by the European Commission, 90% of web users would rather navigate a website in their native language. In light of this, you made the important decision to translate your website to reach them. But a simple translation might not be enough. Have you asked your language services provider for an SEO friendly translation for greater effectiveness?

Localize …

If you are already familiar with the world of translating, you probably already know what “localizing” means and implies. In other words, you know that if your target market is in Latin America rather than in Spain, you would be better suited to use Argentinian, Chilean, or Colombian-specific vocabulary instead of words only used in Spain or even Mexico. For example, if you are part of a large car maker, you are selling “coches” to Spaniards, “autos” to Argentinians and “carros” to Colombians and Mexicans.

… determine which key words within the localized vocabulary your prospects use the most …

First and foremost, make sure you know the way your prospects express themselves! How do they phrase their search requests in Google? What are the keywords most commonly used in your line of business? Is your translator aware of these things?

While localization is the first essential step in adapting to the local market, it must be followed with a study of the main keywords your prospects are likely to use in their searches. This is the first step of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

For instance, you are a service provider wanting to translate your website into Spanish. If you do not know that Spaniards use the word “empresa” 8 times more frequently than the word “compañia” in their Google searches when looking for a service provider, you’re likely to miss out on a big slice of your target audience. Google will optimize your website based on this particular word, and if you put “compañia” instead of “empresa”, you have very little chance of appearing on the list of results returned for a search for “empresa”.

Using the same keywords as your clients and prospects increases the chances your website will be well ranked by Google, and appear prominently in its results page when most of your prospects search for the service you provide. Neglecting this important SEO step means while your website may be localized, Google will not index your website based on the main keywords used by your prospects, and your target web users are not likely to find you straight away, if at all.

… and optimize your entire website

Keyword research is an essential step that will allow you to optimize your translated and localized website by using title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, etc., that are as accurate as possible.

Bigger players will want to do comprehensive keyword research which will provide you with a complete overview of the market and help you understand which market sectors are the ones primarily searched for by your potential clients and which ones you are not yet active in. In short, it’s the perfect way to know how to redefine or retarget your business!

When it comes to translating your websites, make sure the translation agency you work with also masters multilingual SEO. When it comes time to make a decision, simply ask them: do you speak Google?

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This article has been written by Ruud

Ruud just finished his master in Translation at the University of Amsterdam. During his studies he lived in Spain for more than a year. Hereafter he decided to come to Buenos Aires to do an internship at Cultures Connection.