Why good translation is important in international digital marketing projects

15th June 2014

International SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility across local search engines for highly relevant and commercially important key phrases.

An international SEO strategy is much more than just straightforward translation of pages. It involves looking into the trends and habits of your multi-national audience to determine how they’re interacting with your market, and how you can improve their search experience.

Many companies are going global, especially in the eLearning, software, consumer goods and high-tech industries. Those companies understand the obvious benefits of localising content but, essentially, if this content cannot be found by users, the investment placed in localising the content has been wasted. Allocating as much as you can to professional translation for your most important landing pages is a key. Bear in mind that international SEO isn’t as simple as translation; you have to consider jargons and habits of the audience you’re trying to target!

Let’s go international

Before making the decision to launch an international SEO campaign you should answer these questions:

  1. Do I have international potential?
  2. How can I target my international audience?
  3. How can I develop an SEO friendly international website?

Firstly, check your intentional traffic status with Google Analytics. A high or growing percentage of visitors coming from another country is a great indicator that your website has international potential. The same applies to the volume and trend of conversation and the conversion rate of visitors coming from other countries. Identify your traffic source (direct, organic, referral), keywords and pages attracting this international traffic. Check your international search visibility, in Google Webmaster Tools, to see how many pageviews your website gets from an international audience, which queries and pages provide this international visibility and whether this visibility translates into clicks. A high click-through rate from international locations is another good indicator that your website has a serious international potential.

Secondly, validate your type of international targeting (per language or country), not only from a search but also a business perspective. If you decide to target language, keep in mind that customer location will not be a factor that influences your web goals, products and content offering, as there is not enough traffic and conversion potential to target each country separately. Conversely, if you decide to target a country, location is the main factor that influences your web goals, products and content offering. Follow this by researching each target audience’s online behaviour, with studies like TNS Digital Life and comScore Data Mine.

As your next step, go back to Google Analytics to identify the behaviour of your current international users for the desired countries and languages. Which keywords they’ve used and which pages they visited? Which products they ended up buying? Use Google Trends to validate the seasonality and consumption trend of your offering for each targeted audience.

This is where you will want to look into getting native language / country support to develop and undertake local and language relevant research. Foreign Tongues use native / mother-tongue speakers, living in their own countries, so are able to advise on the language variations for your target areas. You can ask us about local terms you should use for your products, content and website interface that will help you connect with your audience. Foreign Tongues market research translation agency is the best option.

You should then identify your competitiveness along with your competitors for the relevant keywords in the desired markets including your competitors USPs, content, offering, functionality and user interface patterns.

Now that you know your website has international potential and you know how to target your international audience, you can focus on developing an SEO friendly website. At this stage, you need to decide on the structure of your website according to your characteristics and whether to use a ccTLDs or geotargeting. Once completed you can optimise and localise each of your site elements for their market and make your international site structure and options crawlable and indexable towards bots and visible to users. On-site optimisation is important, and so if you are planning international SEO we will translate not only your content, but also heading, meta tags and descriptions.
Promote your site within the international communities to earn local popularity and track your rankings, traffic and conversions.

Following these steps will help you create a successful international SEO campaign. The key is in in-depth market research and staying relevant to your target market.

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