What is SEO Translation?
Search engine optimization (SEO) translation is the process of translating website content and keywords into a target language to improve web page rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
According to Statista, there are around 1.88 billion websites worldwide; in 2020, there were approximately 58 billion unique indexed web pages in Google search, up 38.1% in five years. That’s a lot of information to discover on the internet! In addition, with almost 5 billion people using the internet, you will want a multilingual website, so your brand is accessible to everyone.
SEO translation allows you to reach out to people from all across the world. It helps erase language barriers while simultaneously explaining your business's relevance to your target audience. You can connect with global audiences and receive top rankings on search engines of specific regions by making your website accessible in multiple languages.
SEO Translation vs. International SEO
SEO translation focuses on translating content, finding keywords, and leveraging keywords within areas on your website, such as metadata and headers, which are considered the "on-page" optimization part of your website. SEO translation translates website content to rank effectively in search results in any language.
International SEO goes a step further. International SEO is the sum of all activities to improve a website's organic search presence in more than one country or language. This includes technical SEO changes that indicate language and country targeting preferences, content localization, and multilingual link building. International SEO ensures that search engines can easily identify which countries your company wants to target. It also shows search engines which languages you use to attract customers from different countries or who speak different languages.
The Benefits of SEO Translation
Increases organic visibility among multilingual users
Translating website content acknowledges your target audience, and SEO translation allows potential customers to find your site in their native language. When you search for a site in a certain language, Google is more likely to automatically populate results with sites that return relevant information in that language.
Studies show that consumers want to engage businesses online in their language. Translating your website and its content with international SEO will improve the visibility of your product or service in global markets. You can build a stronger customer base and, ultimately, gain more sales conversions.
Establishes brand credibility and authority
Search engines want to bring web pages to the top that are most likely to satisfy the user with accurate, reliable information that fully answers the intent of the search. When users find a website that is translated and localized, they can fully understand your products or services, engage with you, and feel like they are important customers. This feeling of importance and engagement leads to a healthier brand image, one that respects and accounts for all cultures.
Translated content can also directly impact the critical organic metric of domain authority. Search engines mostly measure domain authority through assessing a website's backlink profile. A backlink profile consists of websites that link back to the website of focus. For example, if your website is mentioned on Forbes, CNN, Harvard Business Review, or other major online publications, Google will reward you with authority, which helps your business achieve greater organic visibility. Translated content can offer a website more backlinking opportunities from multilingual publications, which can increase the chance of improving your domain authority.
Improvement in behavior metrics for organic users
To excel in SEO translation, you need a strategy that actively works to monitor and improve user behavior. No matter how much traffic your site gets, users will not continue to engage if they don't find the information they need. Eventually, search engines will notice, and your overall rankings could suffer. Behavior metrics such as bounce rate, pages viewed per session, and average time spent on the page can dramatically improve when users are matched to a site in their native language. This can ultimately influence the conversion rate and impact your bottom line.
How To Translate Content for SEO
Step 1: Create a priority list: What content are you translating?
It is helpful first to explore what parts of your content you want to translate and why. What are your end goals, and how will translation help you reach those goals? This thinking goes beyond translating your homepage, contact page, and service or product-oriented pages. A customer's journey begins the moment they interact with your product or service, and that's reflected in content presented, such as:
- Top of the funnel (TOFU) content refers to strategies that concentrate on the awareness about a product and try to attract leads that convert to customers. This includes introductory content such as blogs, social media posts, and infographics.
- Middle of the funnel (MOFU) marketing refers to a more in-depth stage in the buyer's journey. Materials associated with MOFU include FAQs or ebooks.
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) content includes “ready to buy” content such as product feature information or case studies.
Step 2: Conduct multilingual keyword research
Deciding on which languages to translate content into is crucial because it gives you a focus and provides translation goals. The first place to start with international SEO efforts is with targeted keyword research. The best way to rank on search engines, regardless of country or region, is to target your content toward a specific audience. Research should focus on search intent: keywords your target audience is already searching for.
To assess search intent, type your target keyword into Google. If blogs and resources pop up, this keyword has more informational intent. If service pages pop up, this is a good sign that this keyword will work well on your service page. Don't try to apply a keyword that populates blogs to your service page - Google has already determined that the audience is in search of informational resources.
You can also consider beefing up your keyword list with new keywords you have not created content for yet. You can do a competitor analysis to identify content gaps, such as with keywords your competitors have created content (and are ranking) for, but you are not. Successful international SEO hinges on using localized keywords or search terms within your translated content tailored to specific countries or regions. You can also work with an SEO-proficient linguist to conduct keyword research and help develop a robust list of keywords.
Step 3: Construct a keyword map
Once you have your targeted keywords, construct a keyword map to organize and document your keyword targets for each page effectively. Keyword mapping is the process of assigning relevant keywords to different pages on a website based on your thorough keyword research. It's an important aspect of SEO that will allow search engines to see the page's relevancy based on a user's search.
A keyword map is usually a spreadsheet where each row is a specific page on the website. Each column is assigned a specific on-page SEO element to focus on to ensure each component aligns with your ranking goals. Having this information in one centralized location is vital so you can refer back to it and make changes if necessary.
Step 4: Utilize keywords to enhance on-page SEO
Now that you have your keywords and keyword map, where should you use them? Keywords should be worked into the content to achieve a keyword density of roughly 1-2%. Creating SEO-friendly content that converts users to your site can be challenging and takes practice.
Content should be easy to read so users can quickly find the information they seek. Keep sentences and paragraphs brief, or use bulleted lists to break down information and make it easily presentable. You can also use subheaders to introduce keywords in larger fonts before getting into more descriptive content. Also, ensure that your meta title, meta description, headers, and alt text utilize target keywords.
Step 5: Ensure site structure accounts for foreign language pages
If your website can not be accessed easily, your research will not benefit your customers or your business. Translating content alone does not address the essential technical adjustments on the backend of your web pages that also need to occur. Localizing SEO through technical adjustments should also be considered for a multilingual website to enhance organic search engine visibility. This includes:
- Hreflang tags, an HTML attribute used by Google to specify a web page's language and geographical targeting. This allows web admins to help search engines show the correct version of a page in different languages.
- Sitemaps are the layouts of web pages created so your web content can be found easily by search engines to see the newest pages on a website or all the web pages together. Your sitemap should always be updated to include local versions of web pages so relevant search engines can find and rank them.
- URLs can also increase your website traffic when optimized. A multilingual URL indicates that the website is targeted to a specific country, users, and search engines.
- Canonical tags help Google and other search engines understand which pages have original content and which pages are duplicates.
Improve Organic Performance With Multilingual SEO
Multilingual SEO offers better visibility and can ultimately boost sales by improving customer satisfaction and trust in your brand. Most importantly, a business communicating effectively to an audience through a multilingual website leads to an engaging and positive user experience.
MotionPoint is a website translation services company that offers translation services, technology updates, workflow, and project management capabilities to support your multilingual SEO needs. SEO translation and implementation can seem tricky, but partnering with MotionPoint throughout the entire SEO translation process will set you up for SEO success.Last updated on November 09, 2022