Expanding your online presence through SEO (search engine optimization) can be a painstaking process when you’re catering to different cultures and languages. New trends in SEO goes beyond using the built-in translation feature in your browser. Directly translated keywords can only get you so far; and to really penetrate the market you need to incorporate a strong localization strategy.
Using Local Terminology is Essential in Website Translation
In some cases, expressions in one language take on a completely different meaning in another. An example of this is Mitsubishi’s initial attempt to market their new SUV called “Pajero 4WD” in Spain. The Japanese car manufacturer had to change the name of the vehicle to “Montero” because the word “pajero” translates to “jerk” in Spanish. Failing to look into how other countries use their selection of names could’ve easily tarnished the company’s reputation, should the marketing team have pushed through with the original branding of the car during the release.
Furthermore, when it comes to SEO, direct translation could cause you to miss your targeted keywords. This is because the country that you’re marketing to may have a completely different set of terms in their native language for your desired keywords. More often than not, it’s usually the local terms that consumers use to find what they’re looking for online.
“The foundation of a proper SEO strategy are keywords. They are the DNA of the website! Transliterating them into other languages will lower search-engine relevance and therefore traffic to the translated sites. Keywords have to be transcreated and used consistently throughout the website for proper search-engine geo-optimization,” said Nabil Freij, President of GlobalVision International.
Catering to the Local Experience
Knowing and understanding local terminologies during SEO localization could help you not only rank well in SERPs (search engine results page), but also win over visitors and boost online conversion rates. Accurate website localization is a crucial component of customer interaction because it allows companies to relate with their audience. The more comfortable an online visitor is with your website, the more likely he or she will engage in your product or services. According to a study from the Common Sense Advisory Report, localization has the following effects on consumers:
- 72.4 percent of consumers worldwide prefer to use their native language when shopping online.
- 55 percent of survey participants cited that they only purchase products from a website that caters to their local language.
- 56 percent of consumers spend more time on websites in their local language, compared to English-only sites.
Website Localization Services
Automated translation services, such as Google Translate, while can be handy for basic words and phrases, usually do not provide “street lingo” terms or localized expressions of a region. To get relevant terms that relate with your targeted demographic, you either need a native translator who knows both languages very well, or a company that offers website localization services. The latter for most businesses is the more suitable option because such establishments offer actionable information and insights that can be implemented quickly in a digital marketing strategy.
“SEO is a costly undertaking, but like an annuity, generates constant returns. Why pay to SEO the source language content, then pay again to SEO each target language? Properly search engine geo-optimizing the source content then applying the correct localization process will save significant time and costs,” explained Freij.
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