Localization, the Key to Global SEO
People from all over the world visit your website, it does not just target of your domestic audience. Besides, 73.2% of Internet users speak languages other than English.
If you are looking to expand your business internationally, or already are operating in many countries and have a network of customers worldwide, it is important to map out a global search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
SEO is the method of optimizing your website so that it appears prominently in organic search engine results. Regardless of the country, language, or search engine, SEO activities generally comprise making technical modifications to your website, generating relevant content, using high-quality inbound links, and evaluating the results to adjust tactics.
You can optimize your website locally and regionally by merely adding keywords more relevant to your business. However, you have to focus on the slightly more complicated global SEO to reach out to international audiences.
Global or international SEO involves optimizing your website to target customers worldwide through global search engines, for which you may need to create content in multiple languages.
This is more complicated than just adding a few keywords. You must maintain your company’s brand image and goodwill and ensure you are able to replicate it elsewhere. In addition, you need an in-depth understanding of your target audiences and global SEO techniques.
Localization means adapting your website and products to other regions or markets, regardless of their culture, language, or location. If you have a great SEO localization strategy, the information you wish to convey will appear higher in all online search results, facilitate customized interactions, deliver consistent brand experiences, foster trust, and make lasting connections with your customers.
Research and analysis: Do a thorough data-driven analysis of topics and the kind of content your audience prefers; the phrases/keywords relevant to them; how you can translate all this, etc. Another tactic is to check your competition to understand their strategy with respect to languages, regions, keywords, and search engines.
Content plan: After research and analysis, you will know if you can incorporate the target keywords into your existing content or if you should create new content to accommodate them.
Website translation: SEO-oriented website translation is usually aimed at search engines and algorithms that determine your content’s relevance. This means translating keywords, titles, messages, tags, scripts, and all the page attributes so that your website appears higher in search results in other languages.
However, when applying SEO tactics to attract people of other countries and cultures, mere translation may not be enough. You should adapt marketing messages to different cultures and languages, while keeping the original context and intent of the message intact. Known as transcreation, this process helps avoid mistakes similar to those KFC made in China or Pampers made in Japan.
You should also increase your online visibility by using localized keywords, making your site structure flexible and implementing hreflang tags.
The hreflang tag is a highly effective targeting tool that allows you to clarify to search engines, such as Google or Yandex, the language or region each page is meant for. It can be included as an HTML link in every page header, the HTTP header, or in XML Sitemaps.
Local SEO: Apart from adopting localized keywords, connect with localization service providers (LSPs) and SEO experts of various regions to gauge the search patterns of target audiences and use the algorithms of search engines popular there.
They will know more about the emotions and values that affect your target audience and about culturally sensitive content. They can also check if the translated content is as convincing as the original.
Support in customers’ languages: Your customers will be delighted if you offer customer service in their respective languages. If you use translation services to do so, you can avoid employing many customer service teams.
Outsourcing: You may not be familiar with some aspects of business operations in other countries or the complexities of localization. You can remedy this by partnering with LSPs.
If your SEO strategy is creative, collaborative, and incorporates your localization efforts, your business will be more visible. Also, customers all over the world will consider it trustworthy and respectful towards other cultures and remain loyal to it.