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Website Localization Guide - multilingual SEO


Issue 10, Jun/08/2009

<p>Many websites get much of their traffic from search engines, so optimizing for search engines is a crucial task. While there's a lot of material about how to do SEO, it's a bit less clear how to approach when translation is involved.</p> <h2>Start by optimizing your original language contents</h2> <p>Keep in mind that translation is just translation. You're not having your entire website rewritten, but just converted to a different language. It's going to be nearly impossible to translate and then perform SEO.</p> <p>If you're translating from English, your English copy needs to be search engine friendly before translating it to any other language. This means that all your keywords will appear in both the original and in the translations.</p> <h2>Ask the translator to suggest translations for important keywords</h2> <p>When translating, it's possible to write the same thing in different ways. Although many translations are clear and accurate, some will be more helpful for search result positioning.</p> <p>For example, if we translated <strong>website design</strong> from English to Spanish. We could easily write it as:</p> <ul> <li>Diseño web</li> <li>Diseño sitio web</li> <li>Diseño página web</li> </ul> <p>All these would be fine translation. Since these Spanish translations would go to title and heading tags, it's pretty crucial to select the text that Spanish visitors look for. So, how do you choose?</p> <p>Handle this just like you're doing keyword research for the first time and use the same techniques. Some of the tools you can use:</p> <ul> <li>Google Trends: <a href="http://google.com/trends">http://google.com/trends</a></li> <li>Google AdWords keyword tool (requires an AdWords account)</li> <li>Other great paid tools like Compete - <a href="http://www.compete.com">http://www.compete.com</a></li> </ul> <p>The following image was taken from Google Trends, comparing between <strong>sitio web</strong> and <strong>página web</strong>. You can try it yourself using this link - <a href="http://google.com/trends?q=sitio+web%2C+p%E1gina+web">http://google.com/trends?q=sitio+web%2C+p%E1gina+web</a></p> <p><img src="http://media.icanlocalize.com/newsletters/google-trends-sample.jpg" width="585" height="210" alt="trends result example" /></p> <p>The results show that <strong>página web</strong> used to be popular and that <strong>sitio web</strong> succeeded in recent years.</p> <h2>Distinguish between name and description</h2> <p>It's a very good idea to have descriptive product names which include relevant search terms. If you're doing an inventory management software, a name like <strong>Inventory Manager</strong> would be great for SEO purposes. When you translate it, you don't want to translate the product name itself, but you do need to have translated keywords.</p> <p>What you can do is keep both the translation and the original English name. For example, the Spanish title of the inventory management product could be: <strong>Inventory Manager - software para gestión de inventario</strong></p> <p>It means, <strong>Inventory Manager - software for inventory management</strong>. This doesn't come out well in English, because the product description just repeats the name, but it's just fine in Spanish, where the product name is the English name and the description is in Spanish.</p> <p>Now it's clear. Google would be happy to find the Spanish description in the title, but your product's name is not lost.</p> <h2>Coming next</h2> <p>In the next part of this series, we'll talk about how to send your website's texts to initial translation and how to keep translations up-to-date.</p> <p>We'll talk about some of the advantages (and shortcomings) of using a content management system, in the context of running a multilingual website.</p>


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