Usually when I’m lurking around the World Wide Web – which is 24/7 – I get involved with content originally written in English. Which is why I make search queries in English, even though it’s not my mother tongue. It’s not so much due to a lack of content in my first language, but rather because it just wasn’t created and optimized to be found easily. It’s kind of a virtual game of hide and seek. However, if you’re tired of playing, maybe you should consider localizing your SEO content in order to boost your visibility on the Internet.
Website localization alone is a tricky business as it is, and when you add SEO to the equation, it can easily turn into a nightmare – particularly if you’re not familiar with the rules or if you decide to go against them. I’m not going to lie – it can be tough sometimes, but there are several tips and tricks that can help you increase your online traffic.
If you find yourself at a digital cul-de-sac, not knowing where to start or which parts of SEO texts you need to localize, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and think of a general text structure. Then think of how you want the people to find your content and interact with it.
Searching for what we want to see in most cases happens through keywords and simple phrases. Knowing that, you’ll have to do a research on what keywords people use to find your website and then you’ll have to make a list out of them. Once you’ve set the list of terms in your language, it’s time to localize them to other target languages, since search habits differs from culture to culture. Note that there’s no such thing as a simple keyword translation – they need to be researched for each market.
Audience oriented content
It sounds obvious, but I guess you’re not producing the content just for yourself. Naturally, you want it to reach a particular wider audience and to make it happen, you need to shape it in accordance with the intended target market environment. It’s not enough to simply translate the content as it may have a negative impact on your business, it needs to be localized and thoroughly prepared for different cultures.
Keywords in text
Now it’s time to use those keywords that you previously researched. SEO texts should contain appropriate amount of keywords so that it could be easy to find, but it’s also important not to overuse them. Google will automatically penalize the materials with an unhealthy amount of keywords and mark them as spam. Besides that, you want your texts to have a natural, understandable flow that can be enjoyed and understood by the users, not just computer-generated gibberish word lists.
Well-written, catchy meta descriptions are what attracts readers and potential customers to click on your page. Obviously, it’s the essential part of SEO localization process, but be aware of character length restrictions. Even though Google announced expansion of snippets in search results (speculatively up to 320 characters), it is recommended to stick to the original 160 characters. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Title is the first thing anyone sees when searching for something on the Web, so it needs to be accurate, interesting and mildly provocative – but also true in the context of material. Nobody likes clickbait, neither users nor Google. Its localized equivalent, as every other, should be clear and concise, telling the reader what the text is about.
When localizing SEO content, URLs should not be neglected either. Make sure they contain the keyword and be careful not to make them too long.
Since it’s impossible for search engines to crawl pictures, we use alt tags to tell Google what’s in the picture. For that reason it’s important to localize them as well so that they match the website language, which should also contain the keywords.
A regular localization of textual elements is simply enough anymore. If you want to improve your business strategy and online performance, you need to get deeper into adaptation of your content, products and services. That means getting to know your target audiences, how they browse, search and behave on the Internet and what kind of content they like to engage with. Most importantly, your primary goal should be giving them only the relevant, accessible and easy to find information.
When dealing with content production, it’s always good to have in mind that it needs to be unique and attention worthy. Sometimes it can be difficult to accomplish because new content is produced every minute and it’s becoming hard to distinguish good content from the bad one. But you may be sure that the audience will always be able to distinguish the good from the bad sooner or later, most of the time sooner.
If you think content production might cause you trouble, you can always chose a partner in crime who knows all the secrets of digital marketing. I hope that now you have a clearer picture of why is it important to localize all the content on your website and not just the visible text.
SEO next time! 😉