In a previous blog, I discussed domain name selection when creating a multi-lingual website. This time I will take a closer look at the SEO structure that is required for a successful international website. The ten most important SEO translation tips that should be taken into consideration when translating websites are given below.
SEO translation tip 1: Define and translate your principal keywords
As a website owner, you have become more than familiar with the importance of the right keywords by now. But what about other languages? Don’t translate your keywords literally, but instead, make sure you know what the most popular search terms are in the country where you are planning to launch your website. A helpful tool is the AdWords keyword planner; use it to check keywords in specific geographic areas and to see potentially interesting alternatives.
SEO translation tip 2: Optimize your keyword density
A proper ‘keyword density’ is essential for all websites. Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on that page. First, define the keywords you want to lead to your site (tip 1) and then make sure that these keywords have a density of between 2% and 5%. No higher and no lower, because Google has penalty filters in place for sites that abuse this strategy.
SEO translation tip 3: Translate meta and title tags
Meta and title tags remain one of the principal factors for Google in terms of ranking. Make sure that your tags match the content of the page and the page URL. You will miss out on visitors if you copy translations verbatim, or worse yet, don’t attach any meta or title tags.
SEO translation tip 4: Translate image titles
Naming images is also an important aspect of achieving a high search engine ranking. Make sure to also translate the titles of your images and their descriptions when creating websites in other languages. It might sound obvious, but experience proves that this is often forgotten.
SEO translation tip 5: Localize content
Localization is a step beyond translation. Don’t limit yourself to the language, but consider your target groups as a whole. Although many countries may speak the same language (England – US, Spain – Mexico, Portugal – Brazil) search behaviour in Google may differ enormously. Other aspects to consider are company types (B.V., GmbH, Ltd.), capitalization, cultural interpretations or practical issues such as adapting your contact information.
SEO translation tip 6: Localizing the code
The exact same search may yield different search results in, for instance, Germany and Belgium. In order to achieve high rankings with a translated website it is essential to have the proper site code settings in place. Therefore, it is pertinent that the geo targeting is set correctly via the Google webmaster tool, as is the right language code.
SEO translation tip 7: Local link building
When localizing your website, remember to adapt your link building also. If you refer to Marktplaats on your Dutch site, use eBay for your French site. Make sure that there are also relevant references to your translated site in the target language country.
SEO translation tip 8: Translate social media
Google is giving social media increasing weight, and social media are also extremely important in terms of SEO. Therefore, a multi-lingual social media strategy is a valuable decision. Incorporate social media buttons in the website and create relevant and functional links from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
SEO translation tip 9: Stay active and up-to-date
Many companies tend to forget to update their website once it’s been translated and launched. Not only is it important to add content regularly for the sake of Google, but visitors also appreciate new information. Make sure your visitors have a reason to return to your website by publishing news updates, blogs and new, unique content.
SEO translation tip 10: Learn from your visitors
Using Google Analytics will offer you useful insight into the visitors of your website. Compare the statistics for your translated pages to their original counterparts and find optimization opportunities in order to increase the number of visitors.
Outsource your SEO translation?
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