Companies can no longer avoid taking their business global: 86 percent of Internet users now come from outside the United States. By translating and localizing their websites for international audiences, businesses can build increased Web traffic, increase revenue and improve international brand recognition in various regional markets. A quick, simple translation of your website into another language will not achieve the desired results. Instead, businesses must develop an international SEO (ISEO) strategy.
The following is a basic overview of considerations and tips for businesses expanding globally:
Develop an international SEO campaign
ISEO is the best way to create online visibility and generate a faster return on investment (ROI). Optimizing a source language website does not mean that the same website will remain fully optimized when you translate it into foreign languages. You need to have a clear understanding of how search engines beyond Google work. For example, in China, Baidu is the most widely used search engine and it has drastically different ranking requirements than Google.
Register a local domain and apply ISEO
Your business needs to have a website with a local domain and IP registration. Content must also be keyword-specific in order to attract new visitors.
Optimize keywords for each market
A simple translation of keywords is not enough to achieve a strong ISEO campaign. Keywords must be localized for each market, and it takes a skilled linguist to do this.
Don’t forget about images
When localizing content, don’t forget to apply the same guidelines you do to content. Images should be relevant to the culture you are targeting, and they should be tagged and optimized for search engines.
Develop localized content
Content is one of the most important factors to consider when developing ISEO. Professional linguists can localize content so it reflects unique cultural nuances and idioms. Along with optimizing keywords, this content should be optimized for search engines.
Social media needs human attention
You need human knowledge to interact with your audience in real time. Also, machine translation is not ideal for platforms such as Twitter, where a 140-word tweet in English does not directly translate to a 140-word tweet in French.
Give customers choice of language
Don’t assume your customers want to be spoken to in a certain language. For example, a customer could come from the U.S., but prefer to speak Spanish. Giving your customers a drop down menu of language choices is a simple yet effective way to build loyalty.
Most importantly, get to know your audience and interact with them in their preferred language in a meaningful and authentic way. Doing so will build your company’s reputation and brand persona as well as show potential customers you truly care. This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for more tips and insights to come.