Keywords are one of the main ingredients in successful search engine optimization (SEO). These keywords are basically the words or phrases that people will type into a search engine to find a website. Keywords are used by search engines, such as Google,to match any site’s content with the search. The websites that are thebest match to any particular search are subsequently listed, with the most appropriate being top of the list.
If you are targeting customers outside your local market and going international, it willbe beneficial to design multilingual websites ineach language of the countries that you will be competing in.A strategy that is successful in entering foreign markets is one that will involve carefully researched keywords that are the most optimal in any particular foreign country. The following five tips will help you in multilingual keyword research.
1. Beware of leaving your keywords in English
First of all, when you enter a foreign market and translate your website, you can’t just leave your keywords in English and expect similar results to that of your home language website, even if you think that your keywords are universal. English may be the most widely spoken second language in the world, but local people tend to search primarily in their native tongue, even when looking internationally.
2. Do not presume your keyword’s meaning will stay the same
If you think that all that needs to be done is a simple translation of your keywords and voila – everything is taken care of, you are sadly mistaken. One of the main reasons why this fails is because the meaning of certain words changes from country to country. Languages are not exactly the same the world over;different countries and cultures use them differently. Spanish in Spain is not the same as it is in Argentina or Mexico. For example, in Argentina, the word ‘bombacha’ refers to a certain type of trousers that have buttons at the bottom. These trousers are commonly worn in the countryside. However, in Spain, ‘bombacha’ is a word for female underwear. There is clearly a big difference in the products.
Differences from country to country are just as apparent in English. For example, in the US, the word ‘biscuit’ is used to describe an unsweetened dinner or breakfast pastry. However, in the UK, a ‘biscuit’ is what would be referred to in the US as a ‘cookie’. Dialectic pitfalls can be avoided with the right research and a proper translation, which brings us onto the next point.
3. Use a reliable translator
The examples above highlight why you will need to get you keywords properly translated, so that they will be appropriate for your chosen foreign market. However, an effective and problem free translation will not be the one that is found free online. You should avoid online dictionaries and machine translation software. Online dictionaries only give a basic direct translation, and the same goes for machine translation software. The most accurate way of translating your keywords,and the most optimal option to make sure you avoid dialectical pitfalls, is using a professional translator. You will want one who is a native speaker and one who lives in the country that your translated keywords are being created for.
4. Do not rely only on Google
You can use tools such as Google Analytics and AdWordsto test your foreign language keywords and see what competition you are going to be coming up against. You will have to be awarethat although Google is the biggest search engine in the US and Europe, it is not the most predominant in a lot of countries.For example, Yandex is the most widely used in Russia, whileBaiduis the top search engine in China. Researching what search engine is the most popular in your chosen foreign market is therefore essential for finding out how your foreign keywords will perform.
5. Optimise you website using keywords
So, you have translated your keywords and they are dialectically correct and not too competitive. Everything is going well. Now it is time put these keywords in the most optimal places. You will want them in your website headings because a lot of search algorithms will give more weight to a keyword that is a heading. You will also want them in your first paragraph of your home page, as search engines can be more receptive to the opening text. After going to all the trouble researching your foreign language keywords, do not waste any viable opportunities to use them, but try and seamlessly blend your keywords into your website.
If you can get your multilingual keywords right, you will be taking a step closer to succeeding in any foreign markets you want to compete in.
About the author
Christian Arno is the founder of professional translation services provider Lingo24, experts in the foreign language internet. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 150 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV and World Bank. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
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