Multilingual SEO for Global Marketing: The 5 Steps After Keyword Translation
With 90% of all Internet searches done in a user’s native language, it is clear that an important component of successful multilingual SEO is proper keyword translation. Meta keywords are not as relevant as they once were, but content is king in search. Therefore populating your H1, meta description, meta title, directories and other page elements with the right keywords in every target language is important. Many marketers who do not have experience maintaining a global web presence think international SEO is as simple as running your English keywords through Google translate, but this is not the case. Even when an experienced linguist does the keyword translation, there is more to the international SEO story.
When translating keywords for multilingual SEO, you must also consider:
- The cultural implications of your translated keywords – straight translation does not always make sense in context
- How other search engines handle searching and geo-targeting – in some countries like China, Google is not the number one tool
- Longtail opportunities that exist in other languages that might not exist in English
- How local users intuitively search for the products or services in your industry
Taking the time to do thorough keyword research and work with people who have local expertise is well worth the investment. If your SEO strategy helps you get higher search ranking than the competition, you’ll most likely convert more global business and increase your international site traffic.
5 Steps Beyond Keyword Translation
Just like the other aspects of website localization, keyword translation is just one step in the process. Some of the other factors to consider with multilingual SEO include:
Site maps and hreflang – Let Google and other search engines know which languages your site targets by using the hreflang attribute in your XML sitemap. You can specify both the target language and the target country in the code, making it even easier for search engines to help users find your localized website in their language.
Inbound links in target countries – Search engines consider many characteristics of your website when deciding how to rank it, including how many other websites link to it and the text within those links. However, getting a lot of inbound links is not enough; they have to come from quality sites in the same language, ideally in the same country as your localized site. Just as you would spend the time and money on building quality backlinks or incoming links for your domestic campaigns, global marketing requires the same SEO investment if you want to make an impact on your international traffic, search engine ranking and conversions.
In-country local servers – There is some debate about whether having your site hosted locally influences SEO. Google claims that as long as you use the right ccTLDs, hreflang attributes, and geo-targeting with Webmaster Tools, it doesn’t matter where your site is hosted. However, remember that Google is not necessarily the search engine of choice in your target country. Do a little research to determine what engine most local users utilize for search and find out whether that search engine cares about local hosting.
ccTLDs – The ccTLD (country code top level domain) typically indicates the target country for your website. For example, search engines immediately know that a domain that ends with .in is targeted to users in India. Many SEO experts argue that Google and other search engines like Naver, Yandex or Baidu favor ccTLD for searches in countries outside of the US.
Canonical – If you have multiple sites with a lot of duplicate content because they are in the same language (for example, .com, .co.uk, and .au might share common text), Google recommends using the rel=“canonical” link element to avoid being penalized for duplicate content.
All of the steps required for effective multilingual SEO can make a global marketer’s head spin, especially if you are also tasked with the website localization process. Fortunately, there are experienced providers who offer any or all of the required localization services to get your website in front of an international audience.
Venga Global can help you with keyword translation and all the other steps that follow for international SEO as well as multilingual SEO. We work closely with linguists and international professionals all over the world so you benefit from deep knowledge of proper localization strategy formulation and local subject matter expertise. Contact us today to schedule a multilingual SEO consultation so you can see what we can do to boost the effectiveness of your global marketing efforts.