How to improve your international SEO
It’s as simple as that: Global customers do not buy what they can not see. And they don’t see if they can’t find it. Here are some tips to keep your keywords from getting lost in translation and, as a result, how to improve your international SEO.
There are many reasons to translate your website into multiple languages, like Brazilian Portuguese, but just consider these: Global customers don’t go online, browse the Internet, or shop on sites that are not in their own language. They also don’t google in English. In fact, a McKinsey & Company report found out that more than half of all Google searches are conducted in a language other than English.
To make your keywords relevant to a global audience and to improve their involvement worldwide, you need tools that will automate and integrate translation and – most importantly – improve search engine optimization (SEO).
An international SEO strategy helps you optimize your website for various locations and languages. This allows you to deliver different content to users based on their geographic location – a localization strategy known as geo-targeting. To attract visitors from other countries and those who speak different languages, your site needs to be built in a way that makes it easy for international search engines and users to find it. You want them to know that you offer personalized content for the country, region, and language, a content that is also easy to find.
Optimizing keywords for international SEO
The words in your URL and the title tag of your page are the most important tools to increase the ranking of your page in search engines (whether your site is the first or forty-seventh to appear when the search is done).
That’s why it’s important that all words – even those hidden in the code – are translated. The ability to add these tags is not necessarily included in your Content Management System (CMS), so it’s important to choose a CMS that allows adding meta, url, and sitemap tags. All of them must be translated or your international SEO will not work.
To make your page easy to find, browsers and search engines will index your site. Search engines use keywords as clues to find out what each page is about. These clues are usually hard-coded on your page. The indexing process can be confusing if your translation includes copying and pasting into a Word document that was sent for translation.
In addition to the text on the page, the search engines use the encoded content within it. The information encoded within the page includes items such as image names (alt text), header tags, etc. If the title words are in bold (instead of using the title tag), the search engines will not use them for indexing. If the title information is not included on your web page, it may harm your SEO.
Keywords are used specifically for indexing your site. If you are paying Google for specific keywords, you want to ensure that these words will always be translated the same way into another language. In this way, search engines can find them.
Indexable content that is “hidden” in code:
- Glossary terms
- Titles and Subtitles (H1, H2, H3)
- Image Names
- Image Alt Text (descriptions)
- XML Sitemap
To improve your international SEO and positioning in search engines, you need multilingual and “search-friendly” URLs. If you do not have a SEO with a language switcher with a URL with the language code option for the languages you’re using, Google may not realize that you have a site in a certain language. Especially for e-commerce (online commerce) sites or web directory, you need to maintain URL parameters and make sure each domain has URLs for translatable product tags. When your site is in multiple languages, it is important to make sure that the language switch points to the correct URL.
Metadata at the top of the webpage makes indexing the page easier. They include your description, abstract (a website summary), and keywords. The abstract should also be indexed. Your metadata should also take into consideration the character limits of the most popular search engines in your target regions and the use of two-byte character languages, such as Chinese and Arabic.
Titles and Subtitles
Titles and subtitles pass the main ideas of the content to which they refer and therefore are a vital factor in SEO. Make sure that all subtitles are properly allocated. Besides leaving the caption in bold, use the H1, H2, and H3 tags.
The best method to attract search engines like Google to your localized content is the XML sitemap. The sitemap gives visitors an overview of your site and can also view RSS feeds (Rich Site Summary). An XML sitemap helps search engines crawl your site more efficiently so they can automatically submit your site to a number of search engines. If your site map is not translated, Google will not recognize important pages. And they will take this into consideration when determining the relevance of your site to the search.
Automating and integrating keyword translation
To reach an international target audience, you need not only to translate keywords but also create relevant content that connects with global visitors. A cloud-hosted translation management system (TMS) makes it easy to track the need to translate dynamic global content being searched. Users of an online TMS can translate, locate, update and publish global content continuously in real time. As a result, content globalization becomes faster and more efficient. This gives companies the ability to easily create and manage different types of content across multiple channels, including social media.
How proxy translation can negatively affect your SEO
Proxy-based translation systems can have a negative impact on your SEO because the proxy can’t locate your URLs or your keywords. In the world of translation services, the proxy refers to a vendor’s computer system that acts as an indicator for the URL of your site. When a user wants to see your content in a different language, a translated version is displayed as a separate Web page. A proxy page is only translating what is visible, and the code is not visible, so it’s difficult for search engines to search between a site and a proxy. To do this, you need to have a federated environment – a security model that allows systems with the same login credentials to talk to each other. It’s possible to have this with proxy, but it is difficult and expensive.
Content that interacts with the user and is in real-time, such as error messages, drop-down lists, and other user interface and navigational elements, may not be translated with a proxy system. Ignoring the translation of this content can lead to a frustrating or negative experience for your global customers. The reality is that both proxy translation systems or one installed on your personal computer (also called on-premises software) require extra work: you must enter, find those keywords, and then translate them.
Compare them with the online cloud translation management that integrates directly with your existing CMS. When translations are published directly from your CMS, your international content will never need to be hosted on a separate server. This makes it easier for Google and other search engines to find your multilingual content. It fully automates the real-time translation process and utilizes the SEO features of your CMS, such as metadata and clean URLs. Embedded translation hosted in the cloud is preferable because it enables centralized and cross-language searching. A cloud-hosted system can translate all your keywords – no matter where they are – automatically.
Terminology management ensures consistency
A high performance TMS can automate the efficient use of your language resources. Terminology management enables you to get accurate and effective translations by organizing keywords with a clear set of rules for its use. Terminology management ensures that all keywords that you use for search engine optimization remain intact so that your content remains searchable in any language. Companies create strong brands with consistent messages. When companies become global, they need to maintain the integrity of this message.
For example, Google Brazil will be looking for “início”, not “home”. These tools will remember to locate “home” and automatically translate it to “início”. This is important because there are different words in Portuguese that also mean “home”, such as “casa” or “lar”. But in a web context, “início” is used more often to refer to the home page.
Reusing translated keywords is cost effective and speeds up the translation process.
They also increase messaging and brand consistency so your international users and customers have a similar customer experience. Translation memories (TM) are important for an agile and accurate SEO because they help you to make use of all the words for faster and more economical translation. When your translated keywords are stored in TMS on the cloud, they can be reused and recycled across many different business applications. The TM stored on the cloud makes localized keywords immediately accessible. Some older and offline translation services require TM databases to be e-mailed between translators or the merging of keyword files maintained separately after the project ends.
With a TMS hosted on the cloud, you have better access to your TM. It does not matter which department is translating – marketing, commercial, etc. – they all can use the same TM and ensure consistent reuse of already translated words in all their different uses. This TM sharing allows you to update keyword translations in real time, which increases overall SEO and reduces costs.
More translations mean better rankings
Translating your content and properly indexing your keywords helps search engines position your site higher given the relevance of the content and the languages it is written in. If you have a thousand pages on your site in English and these pages are translated into five languages, search engines recognize your site as having 5,000 pages of content. The more languages you add, the higher your ranking becomes. If they are not linked with the appropriate tags, Google will not see them as important and you will not receive credit for your pages or multilingual content.
Make it easy for global buyers to find you
If you want that consumers all over the world identify themselves with your site, you need it to be integrated and well-optimized and that it makes use of the latest translation tools hosted on the cloud. Proper indexing and translation of keywords, even those hidden in the code, are crucial. The technology you are using to manage the translation is also important. A nimble, cloud-hosted TMS that can store, manage and reuse your language resources in real time is another integral tool.
When your content is easily searchable because you have optimized your international SEO, you will interact with a global audience who wants to search, view, read and buy in their own language.