Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Translation

In the past 20 years Globalization and the internet have revolutionized the way we do business. Companies are now aware of the importance of an online presence to succeed in the international market place. The scope for development in the sector is amazing. As of 2011 over 80% of the internet was in English yet approximately 26% of internet Users are native English speakers. This figure gives an idea of the amount of development that is required over the coming years to translate the internet.

Yet its all very well translating your website into multiple languages but if it shows nowhere in the search rankings for that language a business is defeating the purpose of website translation in the first place. A lot of companies make the serious error of translating their websites without SEO in mind rendering most of their translated content ineffective. That’s a sizable investment in something that could have been easily avoided if the translation and SEO projects were run in conjunction from the start. Content creation and website design are two of the most important components of SEO. Once the optimal SEO design of the source website is created and the optimized source content uploaded we are ready for the translation and optimization of the of the language versions of the website. A lot of translation services companies offer SEO and translation services together but what exactly does this entail.

Firstly, the keywords must be established in the translated language. This is a critical part of the project and depends very much on the budget of the company. Being such a new and pioneering field most companies have to outsource their SEO needs and it tends to be very expensive. One must bear in mind that a lot of key words have already been invested in heavily and the bottom line is that if you don’t have the budget for a significant linking campaign for a competitive keyword there is no point in going for that keyword. Most good SEO consultants will advise a client as to the keywords they can achieve within their budget with the hope that the client can find a niche within their market. The profitability or competitiveness of certain keywords can be judged by certain barometers.

Once the keywords have been established for each page it’s very important the translation must be carried out with SEO in mind. This means that a certain keyword must appear in certain places on a web page without being mentioned too often which could result in penalization by search engines (key word stuffing). Some suggest that the keyword should appear in the title, description, heading ones, body twice and the alt tags. This is by no means a protocol as one also has to bear in mind that search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and search criteria. The appearance of the keyword in certain areas can often lead to very cumbersome translations however producing a seamless translation that reads well with the keyword in place is a skill in itself and the reason a lot of translation services companies that handle SEO can afford to charge that little bit extra for SEO translation.

Once we have achieved the optimal design and the optimized translated content has been uploaded the SEO process begins in earnest. The key is to get internal links from other spaces on the World Wide Web. This process can be very expensive and very hard to measure. It is achieved in a number of ways such as reciprocal links, articles, press releases, social networking, links directories, associate websites, free utilities and many more.

The translation services company still has a role to play here and should be responsible for the following:

· Search Engine Optimized articles

· SEO’ed press releases

· SEO’ed new website content

· SEO’ed social networking content

· SEO’ed link templates

The translation company really needs to be hands on throughout the link building process otherwise results will not be achieved.

To summarize, an SEO and translation project is huge commitment financially. One must also bear in mind that all internal resources especially the publishing resources must be aware of the project and write with SEO in mind to get the best results. Translating with SEO in mind requires a very conscious mindset. One also has to consider that SEO is an ongoing project that the client always has to remain in top of. At the end of the day if the SEO investment is justifying itself then it’s worth maintaining this investment.

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