Tips for Multilingual Search Engine Marketing


Taking your website global can open your business to new customers around the world. Making sure they can find you, on the other hand, can be tricky.

The best solution when planning for a multilingual website launch is to include translation of your search engine marketing (SEM) campaign, including natural search or search engine optimization (SEO) and/or pay-per-click (PPC). You can use these assets much like your existing English campaign to help drive global customers to your site.

Our article on Top 10 Tips for SEM Translation gives you the full scoop, but here are some hints:

1/ If you use a translation agency to help you, they will try to stick to the tactics of your English campaign as closely as possible. Providing relevant reference materials, like a creative brief that outlines your customer profiles, product information, goals/targets, and a style guide or terminology list will help make sure your agency can accurately recreate your campaign for your global markets.

2/ Be aware of cultural differences that may affect your global campaign results when compared to your domestic ones. Regions with heavier mobile device use will show greater instances of misspelled keywords, higher abandonment rates, less time spent on key pages, etc.

3/ There are other tricks, too, like using a local domain, URL, and IP host, when feasible, which can help boost search rankings in your target country. Also, submit the site to local directories to maximize visibility.

4/ Recently, we have seen instances of search engine results page (SERP) rankings being lowered if web crawlers see two nearly identical versions of a website under the same domain, such as a European Spanish site and a Latin American Spanish site, where much of the language, layout, and presentation may be similar. To avoid this, your translation team can rewrite metadata and commonly-crawled pages to make them more distinct. Additionally, there are two other tips we recommend for instances like these:

  • Use sub-domains instead of placing translated versions of web content in sub-folders of the source site. Sub-domains will allow you to set up local hosting and ccTLDs, or country-specific domains.
  • Acquire external links from in-country sources for each of your translated versions (e.g., link to your Belgian French .be site from another .be site). Search engines place high value on geographic location of external link sources when trying to differentiate between two possible duplicate sites.

While still a relatively-new field, SEM translation can be a valuable component to your overall website translation strategy. Help new global customers find you by making sure all your bases are covered.

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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