I’ve been hearing a lot of talk recently about International SEO or Multilingual SEO. It seems people are understanding the value of properly targeting markets. I’ve experienced first hand how some multinational companies that try to skimp when it comes to properly localizing their websites and then they wonder why it isn’t successful in the foreign market.
Here’s five points to think about as you look at your multinational content.
- Talk the talk. Make sure you make the effort localize your content right. It is critical that you speak your customers language. Make sure you use a native speaker for the target language. Even if someone says they are fluent they will never be as good as a native speaker, and any localization professional worth their weight will admit to this. Also take note that many countries will use English words for purposes that don’t mean the same thing in the English language. A great example is in German; The word “Handy” means “Mobile Phone” or “Cell Phone”.
- Direct translation of successful keywords in one language does not mean successful international SEO. Many people are misled to believe that a successful keyword in one market can be directly translated and it will be successful in the new language. To use the cell phone example again. If you directly translate “cell phone” into German, you get “Funktelefon” or “Mobiletelefon”. In fact using Google Insights the only one that even registers is “Handy”.
- Colour is not color. There are a lot of subtle differences within languages. Make sure you check your spelling for the the correct region. American English is very different than England English or Australian English, even Asian English. Some great examples are “aluminium” (UK) and “aluminum” (USA). If you us “optimisation” instead of “optimization,” you may have just given away that you are not local.
- It’s all about culture. Try selling beef in India, or pork in Israel. There are many examples of culture mistakes that aren’t so obvious. One of my favorites is the Pringles translation of their “Once you pop you can’t stop” campaign in Germany. They translated it to “Einmal gepoppt nie mehr gestoppt!” It turns out this was a big hit with the German youth. Probably because gepoppt from poppen is a slang term for sex!
- It pays to be local. Three things that can be included in this are a local top level domain, a local server and a local physical address. The first two will help your search ranking and the third will help ranking and give you credibility.
Looking for a laugh? How about some good examples of bad translation? Check out the site Engrish.com