Guest post kindly written for ALM Translations by Nigel T Packer of PelaTis Online, website translation and international SEO experts.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is constantly changing. The specialists who optimise web pages to get your business to the top of natural listings have one thing in common; a fundamental that will never change – the use of keywords.
Digging into the processes involved and the criteria that the search engines use to put one web page above another in the results (ranking), reveals that over 220 KPIs have to be satisfied.
These vary in importance and the majority of specialists focus on the top few that can make a difference quickly and the current ‘must haves’. These provide short term gains that usually fall by the wayside when the search engine makes a critical change to its priorities.
In the UK and the USA, Google is the lead search engine. If your web pages are not found for the keywords that your customers are typing into the search box then you don’t get business.
Targeting other countries for export opportunities presents a raft of new and more complex issues relating to SEO. It is not a case of a direct translation of all the English words in your website into the destination language.
Working with the languages industry over the last 9 years, we have seen many fundamental mistakes being made.
The text in a page is translated into the destination language. However, the page title and description – the bits that show up in the search results – are left in English.
Another overlooked and important aspect is that the translated pages are set up for Google search. We found that in the destination country, another search engine may be prominent. This country-specific search engine will have a different set of criteria to Google with emphases on other aspects of the site, making them difficult to find.
As stated above, the one thing all search engines have in common is the keywords that are used by potential customers to find your website in the first place. Your product or service may be called one thing in English but is described or known as something else in the destination language. Awareness of this anomaly in the destination language and ensuring the destination words are embedded into the texts of the web page for that country makes a huge difference to the findability of the site. First language speakers of the destination language are essential for this specialist translation task.
Using machine translation systems, as many translation companies now do, can be detrimental to good SEO. The use of Google translate widgets in websites does not help the user either as it translates the English into the destination language and does not reference the variation you get with localisation by a native speaker.
These are just a few of the fundamental aspects that should be considered when entering a foreign market with an online delivery of your services and products. There are many more and to go in blindly without expert help can damage your brand and opportunities before you get started. Be an expert and employ experts.
Nigel T Packer, the MD of PelaTis Online Ltd, has worked within the languages industry training and developing translators in the necessary skills to deliver quality website translation and internationalisation strategies for their clients.
Over a 15-year period, Nigel’s clients have seen return on investment levels exceeding 5,000% within as little as 4 weeks from implementation.
His bestselling book “How to get a Website that Works for your Business” has become a must-read for students in Universities from Swansea to Sofia.