In this article Rob Vandenberg, CEO, Lingotek, gives 6 tips on how to boost your International SEO
Reaching global customers is the fastest way to boost sales and increase engagement, so to expand your reach, you need to first consider how consumers will search for your products and services, across multiple channels, in several regions, countries, and languages.
1. To improve International SEO, translate your keywords
Unfortunately, one area that is often overlooked is international Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and localization of keywords. To make it easier for foreign consumers to find your offerings, you need to ensure that your keywords don’t get lost in translation.
2. Localize for global search engines
The first step toward improving your international SEO is to become familiar with the various international browsers/search engines that will index your site and make your pages easier to find. Identify which search engines are the most popular in the region you are targeting and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
Once you’ve identified the search engine, you’ll need to optimize your keywords based on geographic location. This process, called “geo-targeting,” makes it easier for international search engines and users to find you. Top-tier language services providers now offer International SEO services that will ensure that your keywords are easily searchable by country, region, and language.
3. Translate keywords hidden in code
All search engines crawl and index sites, but how they determine relevance varies on the algorithms they use. To be globally searchable, it’s important that every word–even those hidden in code–is translated.
To translate keywords hidden in code, you need a CMS that lets you add meta, url, and sitemap tags. Even though the most important tools for increasing your page ranking are your URL and page title tag, not all content management system (CMS) give you the ability to add those tags. Localization engineers can ensure that you won’t have issues with re-importing content into a CMS, or successfully implementing a localized file for your target market.
4. Create multilingual, search-friendly URLs
If you don’t have an SEO language switcher with a URL language code option for the languages you are supporting, Google may not realize you have a site in a particular language. When your site contains multiple languages, it’s important to make sure that the language switcher points to the correct URL. To do that, you need to create multilingual, search-friendly URLs.
5. Index your image names, headings & metadata
Some examples of indexable content that is “hidden” in the code are URLS and meta tags. In today’s digital world, metadata is like the blank back of a printed photo. The digital file that accompanies an image is a place to “write” information about the image: who made it, what the image depicts, who is in the image, where it was made, when it was made, and even the camera settings used to create it.
Similarly, when your browser search engine indexes your site, it uses keywords as “clues” to figure out what each page is about. These clues are usually “coded” into your page. This embedded information includes things like image names, heading tags, and more. If headings are simply bold (rather than using the heading tag), SEO won’t pick those words out of the page for indexing.
Metadata at the top of the web page should be indexed. It includes the Description, an Abstract (a summary of the site), and keywords. Keywords are specifically used to index your site. For example, if you are paying Google for specific keywords, you want to make sure those words are always translated the same way into another language. That way, the search engine can find them.
For best results, translate as much of the listed indexable content as possible. In addition, you must consider any character limits for the most popular search engines in your target regions. This is especially true when translating into a language with double-byte characters like Chinese and Arabic.
6. Use cloud-based translation software
To reach an international target audience, you need to offer multilingual content that connects with global visitors. Today, it’s easier than ever to translate dynamic global content. A cloud-based translation management system (TMS) will translate, localize for different markets, update any changes automatically, and continuously publish with no downtime. A TMS makes globalization of your site faster and more streamlined. It makes it easy to create multilingual content in several different channels, even social media.
More translation leads to higher rankings
The more languages you can add to your site, the higher your global search engine ranking will be. That’s why it’s important to translate your content and index your keywords. It helps search engines rank your site higher because you’re offering relevant, multilingual content. Properly translated tags mean Google will see you as important and give you credit for your multilingual sites or content.
Optimizing International SEO increases global traffic
If you want your website to resonate with consumers around the world, you need to have a well-optimized site that uses the latest cloud-based translation tools. Improving your international SEO increases visits to your site, will drive your global brand and product awareness, and you won’t get lost in translation.