Content Localization & SEO Translation

Expanding into a new market is daunting, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the language. Yet even in your content marketing, proper attention must be paid to how you tell your story. This is where content localization and SEO translation play a pivotal role.

Page from a dictionary. Liam Hennessy, Digital Strategist
Source: Edurne TX, Unsplash

Just above Chinese, English is the most common language on the Internet.

As the web grew, more languages joined the fray. This meant that content marketers could be more specific and target audiences in different countries and cultures.

While English remains the international trading language, businesses stand to profit well from translating and localizing their content.

This goes beyond simple translation: content needs to be localized and optimized specifically for search engines.

But how do you go about this?

If you already have a website that you’d like to translate into a new language and target for a new country or culture, there are a few important steps you need to follow.

1.Know Your Audience

“Know your audience.”

Marketers say this time and time again.

And we repeat ourselves for good reason. Marketing or communicating a message to anyone is a crapshoot if you don’t know who you are talking to. When it comes to content creation and localization, you need to understand three things:

• Does my audience need content in this specific language?
• Will translating and localizing this content be worth the return on investment?
• Will I be able to produce and maintain a high level of quality in this target language?

Audience research should help you here. Cultural competence and understanding is also necessary: simply translating your text will not be enough.

2. Get an Expert

As someone who has lived in a foreign country with a foreign language for a large part of their life, I’ve seen first-hand the content flops that companies make when they don’t do localization and translation properly.

When looking to localize your content, always make sure to consult an expert. This may be a content creator who writes (at a native level) in your target language, or even a translator.

Brainstorm your ideas for your message with them. Ask for their insight and see if there may be better ways of presenting and/or phrasing things. They should be able to point you in the right direct. Then, draft your insights into a concept.

3. Do Your Research

By “research” I mean keyword research.

Again, this is where having an expert in your target language is helpful. The expert can give you an idea of what words and phrases to look for. And, when conducting keyword research in another language, make sure to use a VPN.

Take a look here for keyword research in unfamiliar languages.

4. Create, Localize, Publish

You’ve got your keywords; know the message you want to spread and have the information you need. Creating, localizing and publishing comes next.

And the important thing here is localizing.

The expert you hired (translator or content creator) for your target language will be your main consultant here. While you may have the story, message or goal of the piece – it is they who will either shape the content or at the very least act as a close guide. And essentially, there are two options:

  • Translation: In this case, you (or your team) write the content with the local culture in mind. You then send it to the translator to translate phrases and nuances.
  • Creation: Your content expert creates the content themselves and provides you with the finished piece, which you then review for content structure, messaging and more.

Content creation is difficult: it requires time and work.

Localizing it for a specific market can add to that. Yet this is a vital step to ensuring that your message comes across the way you want, in the language you want, to the audience you want.