in All Things Localization

SEO (search engine optimization) is in focus this week amid news of updates from Google to its criteria for ranking websites, introducing new implications for multilingual SEO website translation for businesses and content publishers marketing across languages.

SEO, or the process of structuring web content so that it will perform well in online searches for specific words, is in a constant state of evolution around the rules that search engines like Google use to evaluate a site’s relevance. As reported, Google’s newly updated criteria reflect an effort to better prioritize quality relative to quantity in web content, where for some time there has been little downside to the widely adopted practice of making constant additions to a domain while avoiding the removal of older content, even as it fades in relevance. Without clear incentive to pare down or streamline content as it ages, marketers have been locked in a battle with other marketers to gain the notice of bots that can easily run against the interests of actual site visitors, namely in the way of relevance. For those hoping the internet might be evolving to compensate, Google’s updates come as an assurance that, in short, it is set to become okay to overhaul your content from the ground up, at least in algorithmic theory. For most publishers today, that is now set to be a task in multiple languages.

Accounting for Search Relevance Across Languages

As noted in the above-linked report, this latest round of changes may not be the shock to they system that digital marketers often anticipate from Google updates. Nevertheless, they do figure with equal importance across world markets where it dominates as the leading search engine, in each of the languages a page can be designated to rank in (i.e., using website Hreflang tags). Thus, as well as a cause to consider the impact for marketing in general, this is an important occasion for businesses to assess their localization needs in the way of multilingual domain SEO strategy. The ability to delete as well as update content brings with it excellent opportunities to objectively target search rankings on a by-market basis while comprehensively improving the subjective quality of your content to multilingual audiences, ultimately making it both discoverable and relevant in focus regions.

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Implementing a multilingual SEO website translation strategy begins with and focuses heavily on keyword localization. When adapting content across languages with SEO in mind, it is essential for a defined key phrase that audiences are likely to use when searching for such content to appear prominently in key text elements, URLs, and alt image attributes for audiences receiving web content in narration. What ranks in one market, however, can’t simply be put to a translation engine and expected to rank in another. Search term strategy needs to account for the real and likely tendencies of search engine users whose linguistic tendencies are also cultural ones. Taking for instance the diversity of dialects within the Spanish language, it is important to consider the vocabulary prevalent in each regional market you are localizing for, through a combination of analytics that identify those preferences and the effort of expert linguists to craft content that incorporates them persuasively.

How do Google’s updates empower search term localization? In short, the ability to delete and replace content, and to create new content without generating redundancy, is a blessing for sites that have done less-than-optimal optimizing in the past. For instance, key phrases can traditionally be written into pages where omitted, but not simply be inserted into an existing URL if they were not featured there to begin with. With the expected easing of penalties for making more drastic changes like deleting and replacing a page under a better URL, it is possible to make SEO-ideal updates to a page, rather than provisional ones that leave as much as possible intact. In scenarios where prior efforts to do so have resulted in a diluted, irrelevant body of text that serves competing priorities, companies may now be well positioned to remove those older additions and redirect them as new content dedicated to the intended purpose, without ruining the page they are shifting off of.

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As SEO criteria change, marketers adapt to compete, rarely to the improvement of the overall quality of their web content. With the chance to compete through better-crafted content that does not penalize revisions and deletions to the degree generally feared, companies are well positioned to leverage language services in a revamp of their global content make and gather better impressions. Doing so effectively, on a solid technical foundation, becomes a task for expert, in-country linguists with the analytic and linguistic talent to deliver your message in visible terms.

With a global network of linguists in 250+ languages, CSOFT works closely with businesses in markets across the globe to localize their web content for maximum relevance and impact. Learn more here, or contact us about your next multilingual SEO website translation project at csoftintl.com!