Modern multilingual SEO



This blog looks at the question of how you can ensure that your customers actually find your language version content. And the answer to that is modern multilingual SEO (search engine optimization).

Let’s look at this from two perspectives: 1) multilingual SEO and 2) modern SEO

So, starting with number one, what do we mean by multilingual SEO?

Well, most people know that search engine optimization is a cornerstone of digital marketing. And this still holds true when you are marketing in another language.

However, translators are not marketers. Mostly, when content is translated to another language the focus is on grammatical accuracy and fluency of the phrasing, not on the ranking of essential keywords.

As translators do not have access to tools for keyword analytics, or a knowledge of the principles of SEO, so marketers are not translators, with an understanding of how to recreate a text’s effect in another language.

A little cooperation between marketer and translator will go a long way towards bridging the gap.

Internally, we use two cooperative methods when we want something translated for digital consumption. One is for the marketer to list the keywords for each piece of content (it’s helpful if you differentiate your primary keywords and long-tail keywords) and ask the translator to recommend a few common alternatives.

Translators are not marketers – but they can be assets for modern multilingual SEO

Then the marketer runs the numbers and analyzes which terms perform the best and if there are any new, rising keyword trends that you could bring into your commonly used keywords.

It’s critical to understand that the keywords with the highest search volumes will not always work with the context of your content.

For example, we were optimizing our Swedish webpages for cultural training services, and the only search word with any relevant search traffic seemed to be kulturkurser, which directly translates as “cultural courses.” However, after consulting one of our translators, we found out that, in the context, the keyword kulturkurser referred to arts and crafts courses, not courses in intercultural communication.

The other method is to train in-house translators to use tools for keyword analytics, so that they can determine the best keywords for both the language and the context. When the marketer follows up on the content’s performance, they can discuss tweaks and adjustments with the translator, based on alternative keywords and changes to long- and short-tail keywords.

Did you know? Our translators can find the most commonly used local language alternatives for your keywords, run the search volume statistics – and help you to choose the keywords that best fit your context. 

Read more about our in-house multilingual SEO service here

Now we come to item number two: the modern.

The effectiveness of repeating keywords as a tactic for search engine optimization has been decreasing for several years.

Here is a list of six ranking factors for modern SEO that you should also consider as part of the optimization of your content:

  1. Click-through rate (How many people clicked your content to read more.)
  2. Dwell rate (How long your visitor spent on your page.)
  3. Bounce rate (How many visitors clicked “back” or left the page immediately after arriving.)
  4. Engagement (Whether visitors click, comment, like or otherwise engage with the content.)
  5. Backlinks (Whether other trustworthy sites have linked to your content; this is the most impactful off-page SEO element.)
  6. Technical SEO (Such as site and data structure, optimization, geolocation, etc. Remember that issues in these aspects can cause reductions in your content’s search-rankings.)

What impact do these ranking factors have on optimizing your translation?

It means that elements such as the title, subheadings and first paragraphs of each section, as well as the metatext (or LinkedIn ad text, or YouTube description, or even the hashtags), need to give readers a reason to want to read more, click through, share, or like.

These are the high-impact points that readers will skim quickly, before deciding if they should read more.

In essence, quality content is the King Kong of the SEO world: SEO can lead the audience to your content, but they won’t engage if the content is no good. A little cooperation between marketer and translator will go a long way towards making sure that the content is both found and valued.

Finally, it’s good to know that while translation and localization service providers do their best to take the customer’s wishes into account, the use of SEO-optimized terms is generally not a part of the standard translation process, and it needs to be agreed upon beforehand with your translation service provider.

On top of the SEO needs, a typical marketing text is targeted at a certain customer group and the translation needs to consider their location or culture-specific details, among many other factors. In our next blog in this series, we will look at which translation services you should use depending on your needs.

Would you like to know more about extending your marketing reach into other languages?

At Acolad, we produce engaging, creative, and multilingual content for ourselves and our customers around the world. This blog is adapted from our eBooks on content marketing and language versioning, and what we have learnt through experience when creating multilingual content for marketing automation.

You can download our free 55-page eBook on multilingual SEO and content marketing, and learn how to engage with your audience in their language. In addition to the topics explored in this blog, you will find great content and tips on:

  • Why go multilingual?
  • Strategy and the buyer’s journey
  • Multilingual content promotion
  • The best practices in ordering translation and localization work

Download your free copy of Multilingual SEO & Content Marketing today