Marketing to a global audience offers opportunities to expand your brand’s reach like never before. Roughly 80 percent of the world does not speak English, and that represents the possibility of increased revenue for any organization. As business owners discover their websites are getting inquiries and orders from other countries, they naturally turn their thoughts to translation options for launching multilingual sites.
There are many challenges to multilingual translation. The goal of SEO for most websites is to rank highly on Google. This same goal applies to international sites. However, not every region uses Google as its primary search engine. In other countries, Yandex, Baidu, and other search engines may dominate. Thankfully, expert help from website translation services can resolve some of the more imposing SEO issues that go along with website translation.
When getting ready to launch a website internationally, most people only consider translating it from one language to another. While this is the primary objective, there are many considerations involved that you should address first. These include questions such as:
● Which countries or languages should you start with?
● Which content management system (CMS) will you use?
● Which hosting company will you need?
● Which domain or subdomain should you use?
● How do you optimize the translation?
Which Language Should You Start With When Translating Your Website?
Before you can decide how to proceed, you need to find out where your readers are. If you already know that some of your traffic is coming from an international audience, you can use tools like Google Analytics to find out more specifically where these customers are coming from and what their primary language is. Analytics is a critical factor that translation agencies take into account when creating a plan for multilingual SEO. The locations and languages you identify will help decide whether you need to rewrite your whole site, or whether you can reshape the copy to fit the market.
If you have a physical product, any content on your site related to product delivery will need to be rewritten. You will need to consider factors like payment options and the currency for your target country, as well as shipping, availability, customs, and more. Many translation services specialize in developing plans that help with these types of calculations and can show you the best options.
Which Cms Is Best For Translating a Multilingual Website?
There are many open source content management systems available to help create multilingual websites. A lot of these have features built in for SEO already, and they allow you to configure sites with separate domains or subdomains within one database. This will enable you to change or update multiple sites at once and to link pages to the mirrored page in your translated language. They make the process more automated.
Of course, each of these content management platforms will have its own learning curve, and not everyone is skilled at understanding and implementing them (in fact, few people are). As great as it would be to know how to use one or more of these, it would be difficult for someone completely new to international SEO or to translating to be expected to know how to choose the right CMS for globalizing a website.
For sites that are already powered with a multilingual CMS, a translation company that also specializes in web development can have a team build out your website in different languages without having to reinvent the wheel.
For websites that don’t already have a CMS in place, the process takes a bit more planning. For this scenario, there are a couple of options. Either you can create a new website from scratch using a multilingual CMS, or you can keep your English site and create a whole new site for your international clients. In this case, you would definitely want to utilize a multilingual CMS, so you can keep translating your website into different languages over time.
Additionally, you will need to understand how separate domains, subdomains, subfolders, and URL extensions work, as well as choosing the right hosting for your target country. All of these factors work together to provide the best possible ranking for your website, and each of them requires at least a basic knowledge of web design. You probably already have someone on your team who is well-versed in all of this and can work together with a translator to get your multilingual site online.
How Do You Implement Seo When You Translate Your Website Into Your Target Language?
Google Translate and similar tools are great communication tools that can help break down language barriers, especially for things like studying, traveling, or social media. But you should never rely on these tools for conducting international business. Artificial intelligence is still a long way from perfecting translations that can stand on their own. Using these types of translation tools results in an unprofessional looking site and could damage your reputation before you even have a chance to take off in the international market.
Currently, there are no tools that can fully automate translation, although there are many tools that translators use to assist them in their work. But the fact remains that, at least for now, high quality translation cannot be achieved without the aid of a human being. Unless you have in-depth knowledge of both the language and the culture of your target region, you will need help with this.
Once a site has been manually translated by someone who is qualified to do so, it will also need to be optimized, just like any other site. It will do your company no good at all if you cannot gain sufficient exposure via Google and other search engines. At this point, an SEO expert who knows the local language will probably get involved. Sometimes that will be the translator, and sometimes it will be a translation localization expert.
The importance of getting this part right can’t be overstated. If you are going to use time and resources to create a multilingual site, then you should make sure it is the most SEO-friendly site you can create. Having the correct keywords and meta tags is imperative for ranking, and a translation localization professional will help research the best keywords in the local language. Phrases may need to be modified so that they are appropriate for the culture. This may result in numerous changes to the original copy. Measurements and references to currency may need to change as well. Even things which may seem small (like a website’s colors and fonts,) can make a difference when adapting it to another culture.
Translating your website into other languages takes careful planning to ensure it is optimized to meet your goals. If you’ve chosen a CMS that will support multiple languages, a complete rewrite is not always necessary for each language. However, you should certainly focus on targeted keyword research and SEO for each language and adjust the copy of your site accordingly.
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