Getting your website translated is a great first step when trying to launch your business in a new country. Website translation has many benefits such as building brand awareness in your new market, increasing engagement rates with your target audience and converting leads into sales. Having a translated website offers a range of opportunities for competitive advantage, but simply getting your website translated isn’t going to be enough to make these opportunities a reality. One of the most common problems that website owners have after they have had their website translated is that they realise that the content hasn’t been optimised for search engines. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential for driving traffic to your website, and this doesn’t change just because your website is now in a different language.
Below we have put together the basics of SEO and how it can be used to drive traffic to your multilingual website…
Firstly it is important to note that SEO can be split into three different categories which are ‘Technical SEO’, ‘on-page SEO’ and ‘off-page SEO’. All three of these must be valued equally, and a holistic approach to SEO and marketing often has the best results.
Technical SEO relates to the non-content elements on your website, so strategies to improve technical SEO often involve finding ways to improve the site’s structure. Technical SEO focuses on improving the site’s readability so that it is easy for search engines to crawl and understand the content. This type of SEO also focuses on the user experience which can have an impact on the engagement & conversion rate of your website. Things to consider with technical SEO are:
On-page SEO relates directly to the content on your website and more specifically the individual pages. On-page SEO helps search engines understand what your website is about, which is essential if you want to successfully rank in the top search results. On-page SEO includes keyword research, keyword optimisation, page optimisation and content creation. Many companies make the mistake of thinking they can just use Google Translate for SEO tasks such as translating keywords, but they don’t realise that the keywords for their product/service may be a completely different word or phrase in their foreign market. This is why multilingual keyword research is needed for all new target markets to make sure the most appropriate keywords are being used, which will result in more traffic to your website.
The same goes for meta descriptions. Metadata can cause problems for linguists as they have a character limit and don’t always follow grammar rules. This means that simply translating the meta description word for word won’t work for languages like German where the words are longer and have special characters. The metadata, along with the other SEO elements, will need to be reworded in a way that makes sense and still contains the relevant keywords needed for optimisation. If your website has already been localised then you will require multilingual SEO to be carried out by a native professional in the language that you’re targeting.
Off-page SEO is all about strengthening the authority and trustworthiness of your website. Building domain authority helps search engines to see that a website is an ideal search result because the content is from a trusted and reliable source. The main things to consider with off-page SEO are backlinks (getting other trusted websites to link to your content), establishing a social media presence that helps direct traffic to your site, email marketing to help convert website visitors into customers, and content marketing to engage your audience and add value.
When it comes to off-page SEO for a multilingual site it is important to note that one size doesn’t fit all, especially with content and social media marketing that targets a foreign market. Whilst it is okay to translate some blogs and other content from your domestic site into a new language, the best approach would be to research your new market to see what type of content is most likely to engage them based on their culture and interests. Do they respond better to lighthearted and entertaining content or do they prefer content that is more formal and educational? Does your target market use specific phrases, slang or colloquialisms that you can also use to build rapport with them? It is also vital to consider the platforms that are most commonly used for that market. Just because your UK market responds well to email marketing this doesn’t mean your Spanish customer base will too. Likewise, what about countries like China that use Baidu instead of Google and WeChat instead of Facebook? You have to find out where your customer base is and create content on that platform that they can relate to.