Five tips for effective SEO localisation
If you’re planning to reach out to international customers, you will need much more than a translated and localised website. Your multilingual website will have to be optimised for each and every market, which can’t be reduced to keyword translation only. To fully adjust your online presence to the target audience and their search behaviour, you’ll need to make sure that every single item – from keywords through content to domain name – meets the local needs and requirements. Proper SEO localisation can help you achieve this goal and increase your website traffic in the target markets.
Below you can find five tips on how to localise SEO for your multilingual website.
1. Carry out a keyword research
SEO is much more than choosing the right keywords. And SEO localisation is much more than translating the keywords. However, if you want to ensure that your multilingual website uses the right keywords, you’ll need to perform a proper research first. Different keywords may have different popularity in your target market and the terms that your potential customers type into the search engine to find your products and services will differ too. To define the right terms you’ll need to work with a native qualified translator or an SEO expert who will adapt the keywords to another culture. Only then you’ll be able to identify that for example your Polish customers might use 10 different phrases when they want to buy a mobile phone online. The terms and phrases that you use for the original website might vary from the terms used in the local website versions. Therefore, don’t rely on simple translation, but work with experts who will help you choose the right local keywords, their alternatives or commonly misspelled terms.
2. Make sure you use the right domain name
One of the most effective ways of optimising your multilingual website is to purchase country-specific domains for every country you want to operate in. The right domain suffix (e.g. .fr for France, .pl for Poland) will indicate that the website is meant for the particular country. This in turn increases your chances of being discovered by the right audience. If you want to act locally and achieve better ranking on the local market, consider investing in separate domains for every language and country combination.
3. Use high quality content
To get more exposure, gain more referrals and eventually increase revenues, you’ll need to attract your users (and search algorithms) with unique, relevant and high quality content in every single language. Your website will be ranked higher if it features linguistically correct texts and culturally suitable graphics. It’s not enough to stuff your multilingual website with keywords, even if they are localised correctly. Thus, before localising your website, consider which pages, articles and graphics are relevant to your target audience. You might want to create new content that will be more suitable for your users in another country. Once you know what to include in a new language version, make sure your website is properly localised, doesn’t contain linguistic mistakes and has an appropriate tone and style.
4. Prepare your images
Don’t ignore the role of images on the multilingual website. In the localisation process you might be required to slightly adapt or even replace the images to cater for the local needs. Whether you use the same or different graphics, remember to localise your image description, titles and ATL tags, inserting the text in the local language. Again, you’ll need to make sure that the text is flawless, short, relevant and not overly complicated. Your customers might be searching for images, so find out what phrases they are most likely to use and implement them in the image description or alternative text. Just as your original website, also your localised website will have to feature images that load quickly, so choose the right format and size.
5. Build correct links
If your original website includes many external and internal links for a better optimisation, you might want to do the same for your localised pages. Of course, you’ll need to replace the links so they lead to appropriate pages or the right website in the local language. In case of external links make sure your website refers to high quality content that can be relevant to your users – in the same way you would do for your original website version.
Effectively localised SEO can help you generate more clicks on your multilingual website. More clicks mean higher traffic, increased sales and eventually higher revenue. But to achieve these goals you’ll need to prepare the content and carry out a thorough research to know what keywords, links, graphics and layouts will work out the best for your multilingual website.
About the author: Dorota Pawlak
Dorota helps businesses, organisations and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is an entrepreneur and a qualified translator specialising in IT and localisation of websites, games and software.