English only accounts for 26.8 percent of Internet traffic. With the increasing amount of Chinese, Arabic and Spanish speakers online, it’s becoming more important to utilize website translation to accommodate these markets.
Adapting content for new markets isn’t as simple as using a translator to spit out a word-for-word adaptation of your current website. Careful localization and strategic planning after in-market research make for multilingual success.
Create an Online Content Strategy
Content is what’s going to pull customers in and keep them there. It should be informative and valuable to consumers while representing a clear image of your brand.
Your website content strategy is your chance to show customers what you’re all about. Stand out by providing insightful information on relevant topics and services. Define your core values and brand in a way that can be understood by multiple cultures after going through website localization.
Facebook, for example, aims to connect people through mutual friends and personal experiences, no matter where they are in the world. This universal understanding has established global success.
Research International Markets
There’s no point in marketing to a region that has no use for your product. Facebook shouldn’t use resources to market to China, for example, as the social network is restricted there.
Before entering a new market, do your research. What are their buying habits when it comes to your industry? Do cultural differences play a role? Is their geographical location feasible? What language to do they speak? All of these are things to consider when evaluating opportunities in other markets.
Don’t Go it Alone
Website translation tools help businesses adapt for multilingual markets, but make sure you’re using the right one.
Google Translate offers free translations in over 60 languages and you can use it on your own, but it leaves room for lots of errors. These word-for-word translations can confuse multilingual readers as not every language translates the same. Localization is important to make sure translations are accurate and appropriate.
Using professional website translation software and seeking advice from native speakers can greatly improve the quality of multilingual content and make sure readers are getting the right information.
Adapt for New Markets
Once you’ve established your website for multilingual markets, optimize it.
Take advantage of national holidays such as the Chinese New Year or Boxing Day in the UK and Canada. In market translators are good resources, but native marketers can help immensely with country specific content and promotions.
Global SEO is another marketing strategy to think about when developing multilingual content. Translated and localized content will improve SEO results on international search engines.
Keywords may need to be localized or changed altogether. Domain names, i.e ja.wikipedia.org, should be adjusted for specific countries to improve search results as well.
Make your Best Effort
If you don’t have the budget to translate enough of your site for new markets to comprehend your message, it might be a good idea to hold off. Half-hearted translations may make international consumers feel overlooked.
To keep this audience engaged until you’re ready for a full site translation, best practices include market specific newsletters or social pages.
For more information about a fast, easy to use tool for website translation, download our free eBook, Translation Proxy: A New Option for Managing Multilingual Websites.
Last month, I attended SMX West, an annual three-day search and social media marketing event in San Jose California.
During one of the Q&A sessions, an audience member asked the distinguished panel of search experts if they could recommend an international SEO tool to help his organization’s global web presence. He said they were doing a great job with SEO in the U.S market, but really struggled in other markets. The panel of experts all looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and told him there were some tools out there, but nothing they would trust.
The truth is, while international SEO tools may provide some insight, all too often many organizations lack an operational component for their multi-market SEO strategy – leaving highly-relevant, keyword opportunities untapped and failing to meet on-page and off-page SEO best practices for global search engines. Their translated websites rank poorly across different search engines even though they perform very well in the home market. So how do top brands ensure consistent SEO performance globally?
Well, I caught up with this person after the session was over, and I told him about Lionbridge’s approach to website translation and global search services. I suggested he contact one of our global SEO experts for a free, 30 minute consultation to see how we can help. It can be an important first step in learning how to improve your international SEO results.