When you have a large company, I mean large enough to be international, you need to have your website listed in different languages so that people across the globe can access it and then understand what your site is about. After all, you need to remove all the roadblocks you can for all your potential customers. But when you translate the site, keep in mind that you shouldn’t just do a direct translation word for word because things just do NOT translate well like that. Have you ever spoken to someone who looks up every word in a language to language dictionary? The sentences they compose are very poor, grammatically speaking, even though they may have all the correct words in the sentence. You do not want your website to read that way or your potential customers will think poorly of you.
At the same time, as you have your website translated professionally, it would be wise to remember that the keywords that are popular in the United States are not necessarily popular in other countries. So while we use the term laptops in the United States, the term equivalent to notebooks is more popular in China on Baidu, and it’s a totally different word in Russia on Yandex. This makes a big difference when you have the copy translated and it’s definitely something that needs to be researched beforehand and then shared with the translating company. It’s also important to remember that just as we use slang words here, there are slang words used in each country and they need to be researched as well. They will not be revealed in the synonym search given on Google.com, you will need to speak to a local to find out what the current term is for your keyword.
This is how I do the localized research once I have found the correct localized terms.
- Go to Google Adwords
- Change “results are tailored to English, United States” to whatever the right language and country are for my search
- Put in the directly translated word in “enter one keyword or phrase per line” section
- Leave the rest of the options as they are already selected and click on “Get keyword ideas”
- Change “Match Type” from “Broad” to “Exact”
- Review the local search volume by month, reviewing the keywords and the search volume for them
Sometimes you will find a great keyword or two that you should use to optimize in your copy. Always remember to check out what each of those keywords mean though, don’t automatically assume that they are synonyms just because that’s the way Google has them listed. That could be a big mistake!
So can you just use Google translator or one of the other online translating tools to translate your keywords for you? Absolutely not! I once did that for a very large client and my Malaysian counterpart had a heyday laughing at me. Not a pleasant experience on my part. Be sure to use a live translator who is current and fluent in both languages. The reason I say current is, as mentioned above, you need to use the recent slang keywords, not only the proper words necessarily.
Besides using these keywords in your content, you should also use them in your title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, and image names when possible. In fact, if you can use the keywords in your file names, that will help you too. Remember, not all countries have Google as the top search engine and in most cases the search engines for other countries are using the “old” search engine rules, so you can play by them.