Website translation and international SEO play an essential role when taking your business to the international stage. Professional website translation is a key element of international marketing strategies, giving you the ability to adapt content to your target audience in your chosen country. With international SEO and a professional website translation working in tandem, you can connect with your potential customers, establishing a fluent and trusted relationship. SEO also gives you the capacity to reach a broader audience. Watch out! It's important to avoid automatic translators: they could lead to your content being poorly translated and subsequently penalised by search engines.
We've always known that website translation would be one of the most powerful tools in the future of internationalisation, but we've often been surprised how international SEO isn't even given a thought. We're still trying to work out the answer to this mystery. Because once you experience the benefits generated by SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you'll see there's much more to website optimisation: the ultimate goal being to keep your services visible on the first search engine results pages and make yourself known. And - obviously - it attracts the maximum amount of traffic possible to your website.
Doing this takes more than persistence; it takes professionalism and a whole lot of effort. If you want to make a difference to your organic ranking, you'll need to do more than a little keyword research. A beautifully translated website isn't enough either: this is about more than language knowledge. How about we take a look at why SEO and website translation are two sides of the same coin, and shouldn't be separated.
What's the link between website translations and international SEO?
The link between multilingual SEO and website translation is unbreakable, in terms of language and marketing alike. This won't be the first (or last) time someone thinks that if they speak different languages they can easily translate a web page. Nor is it a surprise that - given the abundance of resources online - 'experts' are emerging who have learned how to devise a multilingual SEO ranking strategy in a matter of hours. We're afraid to say that both of these approaches are very wrong indeed.
To start with, translating a website covers a number of steps: counting the words, understanding the site structure, getting familiar with the content and transferring it to different languages whilst keeping the meaning intact. But translating a website is more than that: it's thinking about the scope, how far you want to reach and how to do it quickly and effectively.This is where our dear friend SEO comes in: integrating an international SEO strategy into your website translation process is key to reaching your chosen markets, using keywords as well as on-page and off-page SEO strategies. Website translation helps you to see these international SEO processes from another perspective, down to the smallest detail
Why is it important to translate a web page professionally?
If you imagine how complicated the discipline of translation is to master, imagine how hard it is in more specialist areas such as website translation. A professional website translation service offers more than confidence, it improves results (a more active online presence or better organic ranking, for example). What's more, they'll outline an SEO plan before starting on the website translation, preventing any manual errors that could arise with non-professional translators.
Think about the difference between these two scenarios: in one, you're falling into the abyss of another market online, hearing the echoes of your SEO actions because there's nothing for them to grip on to; in the other, you're entering the market with a bang, absolutely convinced your potential customers can find you the moment they need your service. Which would you choose?
How does website translation help your multilingual SEO?
As professional translators, we're the middlemen between your product and reaching another market. In a website translation, perhaps the most obvious thing is that it opens up the borders that will initially have limited you to a regional, geographically close audience; what's more, a website translation enables you to service a much broader market, find gaps for your products in other sectors, and develop marketing strategies resulting in financial and social gains. The very foundation of a website translation is to bring audiences closer to your services. In that sense, international SEO is a huge help: content is adapted more accurately and communications with your target audience are improved (and the engagement that comes with it), not to mention improved ranking for your website.
Adapts your content to another level
Any self-respecting international SEO consultant will tell you that localising your website content is paramount. However, just as we're telling you to go for strong SEO if you don't want to come a cropper with your organic ranking, you also need to take care not to neglect the cultural aspects of your content; that can be an expensive mistake to make (literally and figuratively). Why exactly? Because this is about your brand image! One poorly translated keyword is all it takes... BOOM! Adios to your well-earned reputation. Or including links that don't go anywhere (hence the essential, regular checks as part of an international SEO strategy), or the lack of hreflang tags... If you want your audience to receive the message you want to convey, you need your SEO to be flawless.
Improves communication with your target audience
You might be really clear on your target audience, but even still, SEO will make you better understand it. One of the most common mistakes in website translations is not spending enough time thinking about your buyer persona, and this being reflected in the target language. What's the point in giving your potential customers a confusing user experience littered with cultural errors, with the only outcome being them running straight for the hills? This is why, among other things, it's important to call on the industry professionals. They can give you that extra, all-important knowledge of SEO and how it works.
Enriches the user experience and engagement
SEO isn't just a technical endeavour, it involves other, more creative tasks like creating original, customised content and ensuring the link building on your website is of a sufficiently high quality. The connection it establishes with your audience - whether through a keyword search, localised or dynamic link that brings them to you - is of value to both parties.
Clearly, if you create a home page that makes your potential customers feel welcome, they're less likely to dash off somewhere else. And that should form the basis of your international SEO strategy: getting those same people to come back to you. And when they do, you'll know you've done it well ;-)
Helps your website ranking on search engines
One last thing. If you're still not sure about powering up your website translation with multilingual SEO, let us introduce to you one of the key principles of localisation: appear on the SERP (the first search engine results page). This oft-forgotten element of off-page SEO is a crucial part of the jigsaw in getting your customers to find you quickly and easily.
Is there any better feeling than seeing the fruits of your efforts when your website gets the ranking it deserves? Google provides specific guidelines on increasing your online presence, promoting the creation of quality content that will make you stand out from the competition.
These are interdisciplinary strategies: a blend of writing original content and conveying it in other languages, with a base of website translation and the added magic ingredient of international SEO... the result? An explosive marketing cocktail.
Limitations of free translation tools
As a whole, the website translation process often involves professional tools - or you can choose the free ones. But let us warn you sooner rather than later. A free machine translation service won't get you the results you want, but it will generate a text to get you on the first step of your journey (albeit a wobbly one). When it comes to international multilingual SEO, these tools don't consider the various types of keywords or localising links either, and definitely don't 'think' about adapting content. The result? A gradual shrinking of your internet reach. Even Google penalises the use of free website translation tools. Why? Because they produce content seriously lacking in personality, that does not contribute anything new. Plus, the content won't even have been checked by a professional. The conclusion is as clear as day.
If you want to communicate effectively with your audience, and transmit your message in the way you intend, a professional website translation is essential. No doubt you're aware of this by now. There's a lot of discussion of the relevance of international SEO nowadays. If your company really wants to stand out among the first Google listings, investing in a professional website translation and international SEO strategies is crucial. This winning combination gives you the power to communicate your message - clearly - and reach your chosen target audience.
At ATLS, we've come across companies complaining about not getting the number of visits they'd hoped for, or not getting the sales they expected. We identified two main issues: firstly, some had used automatic translators for their website, resulting in an incomplete or inaccurate translation of the content; secondly, a lot of them hadn't implemented an SEO strategy.
As well as using the right keywords, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your target audience and market, so you can adapt the content to the language and culture.
How can a professional website translation agency help with your international SEO strategy?
Starting from scratch is always difficult. In that sense, a website translation agency smooths the journey, giving you noticeable results in a matter of weeks, and increasing your presence as well as your conversions, thanks to a good translation of the relevant sections of your website, avoiding future errors.
What's more, your brand content (and any sensitive data that may be held on your website - which you may not even have realised is there) will be handled with the utmost care. But don't worry, because that's not your job. It's ours.
At ATLS, we can give you a website translation quote 100% adapted to your needs, with international SEO included. Since when has simply 'doing enough' been sufficient to get outstanding results? 😊
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