Search Engine Optimization for International Companies

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is hard enough as is. Throw in multiple languages and different locales and you’re in for a REAL treat. I’m going to talk to you about SEO for international companies but I’m working on the assumption that you know what SEO is and you have an SEO strategy. If you don’t know what SEO is, check this out: http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo. It’ll give you the basics.

What on Earth is Localization?

Alright, I feel comfortable making the assumption that you know what SEO is but localization is a completely different story. Unless you work in a specific industry like the language services industry, it’s unlikely that you’ve come across this term before. So, let’s dive right in!

Localization involves taking content written for one locale and tailoring it to meet the needs of another.

For Example:

You have an online store that sells, oh I don’t know, custom floor mats for cars. So far, you’re dominating the Canadian floor mat market and you see an opportunity to break into the Japanese market. To carve your niche, you start adding your website to online Japanese floor mat retailer directories.

Six months pass and not a single order has come in from Japan. Time to pack it up, right? Wrong! You need to localize. So, you hire a company to translate all of your text to Japanese and you’re off to the races.

Make Sure You:

• Adjust your website layout to account for an increase/decrease in text. Some languages add up to 40% more characters per body of text

• Update measurements, currency, and date format to fit with local customs

• Update photos to feature places and people that represent your new market’s culture

This is Just the Start…

Translating your text to the language of your market is only the first step in SEO localization. You need to do the exact same things you did for your English website SEO. Let’s review those steps and I’ll explain the localization strategy.

Link Building

You’re going to have to build links that are relevant in your new market. Where does your new market look for your product (directories, blogs, twitter, facebook)? Make sure you’re there and speaking their language. Connect with social media influencers in your target locale.

Keywording

This is where you’re definitely going to need a professional. You can’t just ask someone to translate keywords that are popular in your current location and expect them to be popular in a different country. In Canada, we may search for “social media marketing agencies” but in a different country that string might be useless. The prevailing term for social media marketing in a different country might be “internet advertising companies” in which case you haven’t used any of those words.

I guess this is the perfect time to explain long-tail and short-tail keywords because this will be the most difficult part. In some languages, depending on the context, the form of a word might change (context-sensitive spelling). So a singular keyword planted throughout your content might be useless because people often search using long-tailed strings.

Website Design and Usability

Your website has to reflect the way users navigate your website. Look at other websites in your target locale and find best practices. Where do they prefer the menu? Do they use “bread crumb links” or navigation side bars? Do they mostly share using Facebook or do they use Twitter? Ultimately, sharing your content will help you leaps and bounds so you need to set sharing features up in a way that your target market is most comfortable with.

This is just a taste of what you’re in for when you decide to do SEO localization. If you have any questions visit Abletranslations.com.

For more on international marketing check out:

Translate Tweets to Explode in the Twitterverse (and make more cash online)

or head back to Toronto Translators

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