Google Tips for International SEO and Websites with Multiple Languages

Many international companies with multi-lingual sites use machine translation such as Google Translate to translate their content. Google has recently warned against doing this. Google’s own John Mu commented in the Google Webmaster Central forums:

I just want to add a word of warning here — using automated translation tools to directly create content for your site could be seen as creating auto-generated content, which would be against our Webmaster Guidelines. Instead of just taking the output of a program like Google Translate, I’d strongly recommend at least having it corrected before putting it online. While Googlebot may initially fall for some Spanish keywords in your text, your users are not going to appreciate content that has been automatically translated and published without a review. I love Google Translate, but if you publish the results and get them indexed without having them reviewed, you’re not showing a lot of respect to your users…

John’s statement, “but if you publish the results and get them indexed without having them reviewed, you’re not showing a lot of respect to your users” is very true and any quality localization professional or translator would say the same. But, the importance touches international search engine optimization or more specifically Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

How does using machine translation for multi-language websites without proofreading effect the guidelines? The issue lies in the way Google looks at the translated pages. When the pages are automatically translated the new pages contain auto-generated content and Google states in their guidelines that any auto generated content may be removed from their index. Furthermore if Google determines that most of the site is auto generated it might remove the entire site!!

So bottom line, for international SEO best practices, make the effort to have a human either translate the text on your website or at least edit the copy that was created from a machine translation service such as Google Translate. Otherwise your site may be banned and no website optimization efforts will help.

Need help with with International SEO or with Localizing your website? Contact us for a free evaluation and quote

What the Irish Can Teach Us About Social Media

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us you may be thinking of drinking green beer in your favorite Irish Pub. I’ve also been thinking about how we can learn from the luck/success of the Irish and how it applies to inbound marketing. (no, no green beer yet) Actually it’s more likely that luck has nothing to do with. There’s an old Irish proverb. “There is no luck except where there is discipline.” To create a successful social media campaign is definitely not based on luck.

So, let’s look at what we can learn from the Irish.

Away with ye! Stats show that there are more Irish passports outside Ireland than inside Ireland.
To apply this to inbound marketing: Don’t hole yourself up within the confines of your organization / website / location. Get out there and spread the word. If you isolate yourself you will then only be talking to yourself. You want to enjoy your green pint with friends, right?
“This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” Sigmund Freud (speaking about the Irish)
Be open, be transparent and don’t try to be something you are not. If you use social media without openly letting people know who you are, this can potentially damage you and your companies brand.
“I needed to smile, and found a lot of friendly faces at the Irish Pub” -Unknown You can find an Irish pub in pretty much every major city around the world. (I guess all those Irish outside Ireland need something to do)
Set up camp in as many relevant social media platforms that you can find. Engage the local population. Be friendly, offer sincere conversation, leave your ego at the door and the occasional pint for a friend never hurts.

With these best practices you can maybe enjoy some of the Luck of the Irish and maybe even find a pot o’ gold with the ROI on your social media campaigns.

Think Locally in Every Way Possible – International SEO

I just commented on an article over on Search Engine World. Check it out:

This is a good post. To things really stick out though. Simply translating a keyword that works in one language to another language is definitely no guarantee for success. You really need to have intimate knowledge of the language/culture of the target market. Ideally you should use a native of the market to help you with keyword discovery. This leads into the second point: “Think local, in every way possible.” This is absolutely necessary for success!

Original post: Top International Search Marketing Failures to Avoid in 2010

“As we begin a new decade, our best chance for success in 2010 is to look back over the failures of our past in order to succeed with our programs in the future. Samuel Smiles once wrote, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”