How to Create a Content Strategy for Multilingual Content
July 10, 2012
In the online marketing landscape everyone is always talking about content. And in this search-centered world as we all know, the most famous quotes by online marketers is "Content is King". Global companies are seeking out new markets and looking for more customers in other countries and regions. Online content and specifically a company's website is the most important venue for marketing to global audiences. So naturally, this brings up several questions;
- Do you have a multilingual website?
- Is your online content fully globalized?
- Is your multilingual content optimized for local search engines?
- Do you have a multilingual content strategy?
Many companies and international organizations still fall short when it comes to applying the best practices with multilingual content strategies when they start International online marketing. Over the years I still witness the same problem with many multilingual websites that only focus on their global content in English or the native language, and they leave the other languages as only a translation of the main website with no further efforts.
Some multilingual websites have a very good user interface that fully functional for global and local audiencesbut ultimately fail in driving more traffic to a site and engaging through to a desired transaction (i.e.., buy, download, request further information). This failure sometimes has nothing to do with the language navigation or the website or site functionality, but it is most likely related to the multilingual content used across your localized versions.
So what should you keep in mind if you want to implement a successful content strategy for multilingual websites? Here are 6 important multilingual considerations:
1. Local Research
Your research must include basic questions about the local market:
- Cultural expectations
- Understanding consumer needs
- Local market trends
- Online consumer behavior
See GPI's white paper series on Website Globalization and e-Business available for free download at: Website Globalization and E-Business Series
2. Content Creation
Creating relevant content for local markets keeping in mind the following:
- Web Content Management system (WCMS) - It is very important to use a web content management system that support multilingual websites, exporting/importing content for translation and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Valuable Content - You need to think like your online visitors and understand their needs and this will vary from country to county. Successful content is the content that really helps the users find what they want and take the action they want.
- Social Content - Yes, it is all about being social so utilize your blogs to create new, relevant content and share it! Providing multilingual content should always include localized information that your local users will be excited to share on social media, like localized news feeds, PDFs, useful articles, etc. Always remember to optimize your content for social media tools like share buttons.
3. Content Localization
Mere translation from English to a target language
will not always achieve your goals. You will
always need to consider cultural considerations of your content,
such as colors, text layout, format, currency, formality,and even
the font size for none western languages.
Content Localization always requires a translation agency with native speaking copywriters, proofreaders and professional localization teams in order to create content and brand message for the target language.
4. Content Optimization for Search Engines (SEO)
SEO has changed the way online contentis written. Optimizing the content for search engines is an essential step for every content strategist for multilingual websites. Some companies only consider SEO for the English version of their website and they don't apply the same attention and SEO best practices to the localized content.
Multilingual SEO should include:
- Comprehensive website translation and localization
- Multilingual keyword phrase research, refinement and localization
- Multilingual Search Engine Optimization and copy writing of main site content
- Multilingual Search Engine Optimization of meta-tags, titles, alt-tags, heading tags, HTML, etc.
- Submissions to major locale (in-country) and international Search Engines
- Website traffic and keywords ranking reporting
For more information about multilingual SEO considerations and best practices please check the following links:
- The Difference between Keywords Translation and Keywords Localization
- Global SEO: 4 Top Factors
- Multilingual Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Primer
5. Content Marketing
Online marketing for multilingual websites usually involves two basic steps:
- Creating and customizing content for target segmentations by (country, language)
- Choosing the most effective local or international online channels to market this content (Press Release, News portals, Online Ads, Social Media Channels, Search Engine Marketing, Blogs, etc.)
Considering your segmentation trends and cultures will help gain effective results. Also choosing the suitable channels to distribute your content is a very important step when you are working with multilingual content for different locales because online channels do not necessarily have the same effect for different countries. For instance most of the Chinese online users do not use the popular social media networks like Facebook, but they use instead (Qzone).
6. Measure Results (ROI on Content)
You will always need to measure the results individually for each language or version of your website. Google Analytics has a helpful feature to show geographic and language results for your website visitors, but remembers you will need to create separate analytics' accounts for each version of your website to be able to measure the results accurately.
Measuring the results for the multilingual contents will always help you to modify and update your content accordingly.
Whatever the reasons to get a multilingual website online, you should never forget that producing quality, relevant content is key to achieve the 4S's: Success with Search Engines, Social Media, other Sites and Savvy Customers. A well thought out multilingual content strategy is will help you achieve the best results for multilingual websites and online content.
Further resources on multilingual websites and content
You may gain further insights into multilingual websites considerations, multilingual seo and related topics by reviewing previous blogs written by GPI:
- Why Google Places is Important for International Business?
- Website Localization and CMS
- Creating Culturally Customized Content for Website Translation
- 3 Metrics for Measuring Language Translation Quality
- Social Media Localization
GPI's content strategists and localization team will conduct your multilingual website analysis and localization requirements. GPI also offers Global Search Engine Marketing Services and many other Translation Services.
Yasser Ahmed - Global SEO Specialist
Yasser is an Arabic web developer and SEO specialist for GPI. He is a native Arabic speaker originally from Cairo, Egypt. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has 9 years' experience in localization, web development, SEO and desktop publishing. Yasser is a team leader with GPI's Global SEM Practice and is responsible for maintaining GPI's global SEM knowledgebase, which tracks developments in country-specific search engines, as well as the latest tactics and best practices for SEO.