January 23, 2012
There is a lot of advice out there about optimizing a website or a blog for a select group of people (the English speakers), but what about everyone else? There is a good chance that the content on your website can help people all across the world, but it doesn’t matter if your website is only in English. Not only would this help other countries understand your content, but many Americans will also benefit. According to the U.S Census Bureau, about 47 million people, nearly 1-in-5 U.S. residents, spoke a foreign language at home in 2000. In other words, although some readers may be able to read your content in English, many would likely prefer to read it in another language. Think of it this way: If your website has the option to switch to Spanish, for example, and your competitor does not have that option, which website do you think will gain more readers?
What This Means for SEO
SEO is all about traffic, and translation will help give you that and more. Consider some of the reasons translation will work in your favor when it comes to SEO:
By and large, the most popular translation tool is Google Translate. However before you run out and jump on the Google Translate bandwagon, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to SEO and translation. There are actually translation services that work specifically for SEO purposes. Consider three aspects of translation in relation to your SEO efforts:
Top 3 SEO and Translations Considerations
1. The keywords and phrases you should be targeting for different languages may be different than in English.
A word may rank very well in English, but the translation of that word may not rank well in another language’s search engine. In addition, it is possible that if you create variations of one keyword in English, they all translate to being the same word in another language. For example, the words “nice” and “good” both translate to “bueno” in Spanish according to Google Translate.
This makes keyword research very tricky for those wondering how to start a small business and incorporate translation. In this situation, it’s best to talk with a native speaker or hire a translation company. You may be able to type your words in Google Translate and see what it says, but be aware that this isn’t always perfect. It gets the job done when you want basic translation, but SEO is an entirely different animal. Good
2. Be aware of using what is considered spam in other languages.
If you have a piece of content that is full of synonyms of one word, you may find yourself in trouble with Google. This goes back to the idea that sometimes these synonyms all translate to the same word in another language. If Google sees this, it will look like spam. It’s also important to realize that there are words in English that mean two different things. This often occurs when you have a word that can work as a noun and as a verb. For example, I can buy a pet dog or I can pet the dog. This will confuse readers and could also get flagged as spam.
3. Translation companies are sometimes the best way to translate for SEO purposes.
Keywords and phrases are obviously very important when it comes to SEO, and this is no different in different languages. Often times a traditional translation service such as Google Translate will spit out a translation without any worry of keywords and phrases. This works great for many purposes, but if you’re really trying to translate for SEO purposes you may want to hire a translation company. There are many different ways that you can translate content in different languages, so it’s important that you have someone to communicate this with. If you need a keyword or phrase to stay in-tact, a translation company will be able to provide that. In some cases, you may find a translation company that specializes in SEO services.
To be perfectly honest, translation for SEO is a bit complicated. General translation of a webpage is very simple, and I think it’s a great idea to add this feature to a website, but it is no substitute for SEO. If you really want to rank highly on other search engines and reach a large number of people in other cultures, it’s going to take some work. However, I think you will be very happy with the reward.
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