Translation And Search Engine Optimisation

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The search marketing community often view translation and search engine optimisation as not very compatible. The idea is that you should create and locally optimise original copy in the target language. Whilst there is an element of truth in this, there can be a mystique surrounding SEO. It can sound more difficult than it is.

Keyword rich content

Of course, you first need good, well written, and keyword rich content in English (or any other source language). We can then translate it into good keyword rich, and well written content in the target language. This is why you need a specialist translation team.

Don’t buy translation on the cheap

Good translators work like good copywriters when producing marketing related texts. The style, flow and feel of the text should be appropriate to the target language. The danger is when people try to commission translation on the cheap. For example, by using students, or someone who knows a bit of the other language. The result is bound to end in tears.

I read an interesting analogy in an article by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. It talked about the use of students for translation. The article asked whether you would want an undergraduate medical student to perform your major brain surgery! No, probably not.

Do your keyword research

Keyword research is also an area of mystique. Do you know the keywords in your industry? If so, it isn’t difficult for your translators to give a list of keywords in the target language. It will though need thought as well as proper research. For example we have a page about “label translation”. When writing the Flemish version, the translator pointed out that there are two words in Flemish for “label”. The solution is that you need to use and optimise for both. At least you do if you want your Flemish page to rank appropriately.

Consider off page factors

It is important to consider off page factors with international SEO. For example a link campaign can be important for your English content. You also need to do the same in other languages. Its very important that you correctly tag and index your pages. You don’t want your translated content to have title tags etc in English. These need to be in the target language as well.

International SEO is a large topic, and there is much more I could write. I don’t pretend that this article has all the answers. My aim is to raise some of the issues you need to consider.

Contact us to discuss any aspect of internationalising your SEO.