What’s the use of investing time and money translating your website into different languages if no-one’s going to find the localised versions? A common misconception is that if you optimise your English-language site for search engines the translated versions will perform just as effectively. Here’s how to make a big difference with a small additional investment.

Website SEO localisation – show your business to the world

We all know that websites are a powerful tool to reach international audiences. Exploiting your website’s potential to attract local customers by ensuring that your site can be more easily found by your target audience than your competitors’ – this is what SEO localisation is all about.

The objective is to optimize the website for search engines so that your website appears at the top of the list on the first page of search results when people search for your categories of products or services. This can be done through paid advertising, or it can be achieved for free if your site ranks at the top of the ‘organic’ (i.e. non-paid) results. Achieving this requires an understanding of how specific search engines work, what they have in common and how they differ.

Search engines crawl the Web and index each page in enormous databases – by identifying recurrent words or themes and by associating each web page with relevant keywords. When someone does a search, the search engine retrieves the web pages that best match the words queried and lists them in order of relevance and according to the perceived importance of the website.To ensure your target customers find your website it is therefore important to get your web pages associated with the right keywords. When you do SEO for your home-country website your SEO provider will discuss with you and use a variety of tools and techniques to identify the keywords that your target customers use when searching for your category of products or services.

They will then work to ensure that the search engines associate your webpages with those keywords. This can be achieved by densely populating each page’s on-screen and metadata text with well-positioned keywords. Search engines use closely-guarded algorithms to determine the relevance of webpages and detect poor netiquette practices such as ‘keyword stuffing’, so it requires experience to achieve the best results across all the search engines.

Make sure that you use your target audience’s lingo

When you have your website localised it is important to put just as much effort into selecting the translated keywords as you did when you selected the keywords for your home country. Remember that localisation and translation are not synonyms – localising may (or may not) involve translation but it does imply cultural adaptation.

How does your target audience search the internet? What search engines do they use? What language(s) do they use to search? How old are they? What words/phrases do they search for? Are they likely to look for your service/product in a specific town or area? Ultimately you want to know what keywords they will enter in the search engine box.People in different countries may speak the same language but yet use different words to refer to the same object or concept, or even use different words or phrases in different situations. When we did SEO on our website we spent a long time identifying if clients looking for a translation vendor would search for ‘translation’, ‘translation services’, ‘translation company’ or something else. We analyzed which terms our best-ranked competitors were optimized for, and considered whether or not we wanted to compete on those keywords. At the time of writing we’re working on our Chinese site and the same analysis is yielding different results.

A good translator will provide an accurate, fluent and well-written version of your original website. Few translators, however, have the knowledge and experience to analyze keyword usage patterns in their local market to identify those that will be most effective for your business. Those that do it properly certainly won’t include this time-consuming task for free as part of their translation service!

Successful website localisation involves getting your website translated into in local languages as well as performing all the usual SEO tasks for each market individually. As well as localising the keywords it involves registering your website with local search engines, local business directories and listings, as well as industry-specific sites. PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns need to be tailored for each market too.

Sometimes you may also have to consider whether to register a domain name in the target market and whether to select a local web host to get a local IP address and to provide faster access for local users. Some countries require your site to be registered with the government and to be free of politically-sensitive content.

Save resources by including SEO localisation when translating your website

Of course it’s not too late if your site has already been translated, but SEO localisation can be done most efficiently as part of the process of translating a website. At Asian Absolute we have the expertise to perform SEO localisation for almost all of the languages we can translate into, meaning that your translated website will not only look great, it will be easy for your customers to find too.

For more information on website localisation, please visit our dedicated page.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your SEO localisation requirements.