It’s a common issue; you search for something on Google and click on a website, only to leave once you immediately discover it’s not in your language. You’ve probably done this countless times, and with every right. When you’re researching on the internet, you expect everything to come to you instantly and efficiently. You don’t have time to be translating text, especially when you can find the same products or information elsewhere in your native language.
Now, consider this; your site may be losing out on tons of traffic or audience retention, simply by not offering language translation.
Why Content Translation Matters
As you likely know, content translation is the process of translating text (in this case, website content) into other languages. However, it goes a little bit further than this. As with everything in marketing, it all comes down to how it will benefit your company. In this case, it’s all about SEO. As research suggests, people are drawn to make purchases in their own language.
There are two main goals when it comes to translating content online:
Content translation also spans way more than just your website homepage. It also includes your content marketing efforts, like blogging, social media, and influencer marketing.
Did you know that the United States isn’t the country that uses the internet the most? In fact, it’s not even close. China and India surpass the United States by a mile in regards to internet usage, with one billion active users in China alone. With this in mind, if you aren’t translating your content for different languages all across the world, you’re missing out on valuable traffic to your site.
It’s now even more critical than ever to translate content. In a world where everybody is creating and delivering unique, great content, you need to work substantially harder to bring people to your website. Ask yourself: Is it likely that you are missing out on tons of foreign traffic simply by not catering to them? Are people coming to your site from different countries and aren’t able to read your posts because of a language barrier?
If you have a quick look at the top countries with the most internet users, only the United States, in general, speaks native English. China, India, Brazil, Japan and Russia are all at the top, too. Regardless of whether or not they can speak your language, they should always be offered their native language. It’s been proven time and time again. A simple change to your website, and you’ll gain traffic. It is that simple.
So, how can you translate content for better SEO yourself? Below we’ve listed our top tips, with tools and platforms that will help you stop losing out on traffic.
The first step with translation is to find out which languages you need to include on your site.
Despite China and India populating the majority of the internet, if users from those countries aren’t entering your site, you may not have to translate to Mandarin or Hindi, for example. If you find that you have a lot of traffic coming in from Germany, you may want to consider offering a German translation option. Likewise, if you find a great deal of traffic is coming from a country with multiple languages, like Belarus, you should consider offering both a Russian and Belarusian option.
If you find that you don’t have traffic from other countries, you shouldn’t quickly rule out a translation option. How do you know that you won’t start gaining foreign traffic or benefit from expanding into other countries? You don’t want to eliminate future traffic before you’ve gained it.
You can find out where your traffic is coming from by using your site analytics. Google Analytics offers an abundance of statistics in regards to traffic, including where your visitors come from. From this, you can also find if your traffic is direct, organic, social, or by referral. If you notice that organic searches are bringing in a lot of foreign traffic, you should consider optimizing for those specific languages.
In regards to social, you should always use a URL shortener/tracker so that you can follow all your links, including where your clicks are coming from. Bitly is a great option.
It’s also important to note that this isn’t always an accurate way to decide on the best language translation. As the world gets more tightly connected, identifying the country of origin doesn’t always correlate to the language spoken. For example, many English Europeans travel and live in non-English countries. Likewise, many people are more fluent in French and Spanish yet live in the United States, Brazil, and Canada. For this reason, you should consider optimizing your pages for multiple languages, regardless of where your traffic is coming from.
With a clear understanding of where your traffic is coming from, it’s time to start translating. Of course, you can use plugins, which we’ll discuss later, but you should also consider other translation options. While plugins have their benefits, they can often provide your websites and posts with broken translations, and change the way your entire content looks.
In terms of SEO, plugins can also disrupt your calls to action and keywords, and ultimately damage your search engine ranking. Meta descriptions and title tags are rarely translated for these sites, which can have adverse effects. Plugins are a great quick solution, but they might not be the best option for you.
We suggest using a third-party service for high accuracy translation, especially if you’re aiming to just translate a few posts or pages at a time. Fiverr is a great platform that not only offers quality translation but also boasts low prices and ultimate effectiveness. The key with third party translation is to prioritize. Which pages or posts do you think would be the most valuable to translate? Why?
With the most important pages and posts translated manually, plugins should be used on the rest of your content. Obviously, only translating a small portion of your content isn’t sustainable in the long-term.
One simple and effective plugin is the Google Translate widget, which may work perfectly for your site. If you’re bringing in foreign traffic organically, if you offer them the translation, they’re more likely to stay on your page. Google’s translation plugin is something you’ve no doubt come across before. It instantly allows you to translate your entire website, with absolutely no effort. Users will simply get a popup which will ask them if they want the page to be translated — it’s a friendly option, which helps many users and businesses alike.
As we mentioned, it’s not always completely accurate, and can disrupt your content. However, to give credit where credit is due, it’s a fantastic tool that can improve your SEO drastically. Google Translate might not always understand specific nuances or lingo, but it’s completely free and is easy to install. For other search engines, there are various plugins for your website that you can include.
Don’t dive into everything too quickly or attempt to do everything all at once. Translating even a small site can be extremely daunting. We suggest translating the most critical parts of your site using third-party services and other quality means of manual translation. If you’re not sure which parts of your site should be considered “critical,” you can find these out through analytics too.
It could also be beneficial to find out the behavior of users on individual pages. This will help you gain a clear understanding of your page’s SEO ranking.
Customer support is of paramount importance, and it should always be localized. Technical and customer support should always be accessible. If you’re offering your site in different languages, you should provide professional and efficient help to these users, too. Localization is a little bit different from translation, as it often will consider cultural differences. On important pages and sites, localization should be considered.
This also means that live chat help and FAQs should all be translated, ensuring that support will always be given. Obviously, in terms of SEO, this helps to increase the number of returning customers or clients.
That brings us swiftly onto the point of localization, and just how it can help with SEO. Localization goes far beyond translating language, and should always be considered when you’re looking into new ways to increase SEO traffic. One way to do so is by building local backlinks. As you’ll already know, backlinks are essential when it comes to your SEO strategy.
When appealing to new locations and countries, you will need links from local sources. Not only does this add authority to your posts, but it will help increase traffic to your site. Also, consider using web domains for localized websites. You’ll notice that websites change from .com (in the United States) to .it in Italy, or .fr in France.
Though this isn’t technically a translation, it is something to consider in the long run. While localization is often a costly SEO effort, there are now many services like Pick Writers that allow you to choose a professional team to outsource your localization project, without having to hire an in-house team.
Content marketing very often includes blog posts. Blogging is one of the best ways to improve your SEO ranking, especially when you’re publishing meaningful, informative pieces. For this reason, if you’re looking to expand or cater to your existing audience, blog posts should either be translated or created in specific languages.
Google favors quality content, and blog posts that are translated and localized accurately will definitely help with SEO purposes. Again, localization can play a big part in blog posts. Translation will simply offer a post in their desired language, whereas localization will make posts targeted to specific neighborhood events or news.
Never forget about social media, especially in regards to SEO. This ties in with blogging quite drastically, as the more your website or content is shared, read, and searched for, the higher it will rank on search engines. Of course, many platforms will automatically translate from a different language based on your preferences. However, the translation results aren’t always accurate.
As you’re not translating your web pages and blog posts, your keywords may become jumbled and irrelevant. When you’re translating specific pages or blog posts, you may need to dive into keyword research again, this time concerning your target audience. Keyword research is an integral part of SEO and is often overlooked when translating. Remember, certain words and phrases don’t necessarily have the same impact or meaning in a different country.
Influencer marketing is a great way to benefit your SEO by helping you to build authoritative links and increase user engagement. It has the potential to become an SEO powerhouse when executed correctly. However, you have to pick the right people to work with. When translating content and appealing to new countries, consider reaching out to influencers who may speak a different language, or are popular with those who speak different languages. Of course, ensure that they are relevant to your brand, and combine your efforts with SEO to really feel the benefits.
To really leave you with something to think about, consider this, when you land on a website in a different language, what do you do? You’ll exit the site, and not return. Right? If you can’t easily read the content or information, there’s no reason why you should stay on the website. Now, how many people do you think do the exact same, but when they enter your site?
If you’re speculating that all your traffic will speak English, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic. A straightforward change to your website and marketing efforts could ultimately elevate your business. With help from translation, you’ll see more users, higher click-through rates and more engagement.