Why are Multilingual Keywords important for your international websites?

September 08, 2010

Why are Keywords an important step?

Search engine marketers must ensure their pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns target the correct keywords or search terms, otherwise they might end up attracting a different target audience than planned, and lose opportunities in the local markets they are trying to reach with a campaign.

What is a "keyword"?

"Keyword" is a word on your website or part of your content that matches the search term found by global search engines when users initiate a search. Among all the search engine factors that contribute to search success (customers finding your site), proper use of the right keywords would be the most effective factor to focus on. Keywords should not only be included in the page content, but also in other positions such as domain names, headers, URLs, tags, and more. Placing keywords in all these different positions helps your website gain a high ranking in the search engines results pages (SERPs).

Global Markets and Multilingual Websites

Since companies started to "go global" and to target new markets around the world, the need for website localization or translating websites has increased rapidly. But for several reasons, multilingual websites are still not helping companies achieve better search engine positioning: these new global marketing efforts seem to yield less than stellar ROI. So the adage "build it, and translate it, and they will come…" proved not to be the case. A newly localized website in Chinese, French or Arabic still needs to get indexed by global and local search engines. This is why the need for "Multilingual Search Engine Marketing and SEO" is essential to help multilingual websites reach target audiences in their market and language locales.

Not only do you have to speak your potential customers' language; you must ensure your website appears where your customers are searching.

Multilingual Keywords and Keyword Localization

Creating"Multilingual keywords" may seem like a simple step. First you create your English keyword list, and then second, you have it translated into Spanish or any other target language that you require. However, the nuances of language and locales (combination of language, culture and geography) call for a more thorough approach to multilingual keyword list creation.

To demonstrate the significance of locale on the creation of multilingual keyword lists, think about this word/locale example:

  • Word = Car
  • Locale = Spain
  • Locale = Argentina

Languages sometimes vary from one locale to another. In Spain, "coche" is commonly used for "car", while in Latin America (Argentina), the same Spanish word may be more commonly used for "baby-stroller". So are you trying to attract people that want to buy a car or a baby stroller?

As you can see, it really requires more of a combination of language localization, online marketing and local keyword research. To accomplish this mission and build your successful multilingual keywords list (keyword localization from an English word list) you will need to address the following:

  • Having a professional translation of the keyword list.
  • Adapting and expanding the keyword list to the locale (combination of language, culture and geography).
  • Researching the target online market for new keyword ideas, the most relevant and competitive.
  • Determine and analyze competitors' keywords lists.
  • Keyword analysis using search engine tools.
  • Filter and rate by business relevance, popularity, competition.
  • Testing keywords to make sure they are accurate to local search engines.
  • Finalizing keywords list by priorities.

The best multilingual keywords have the following qualities:

  1. Strong relevance to your website and your services or products.
  2. Relatively high search volume on search engines.
  3. Relatively high search rankings for the local market and local search terms.
  4. Relatively high search rankings for the region's and users' culture.

Some Google's keyword research tools that would help you:

  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool: a tool with advanced options to research keywords by country and language. Enter a keyword term and Google will provide many more keyword suggestions as well as monthly search volumes.
  • Google Insights for Search: a tool to research trends in keyword search demand over time in each of your target countries.

Further resources on SEO and SEM:

GPI's SEO and localization team will conduct your multilingual keyword analysis, ranging from terminology accuracy equivalents to keyword density factor evaluation and competition analysis. GPI also offers Global SEO and many other translation and localization services.

For more information on issues specific to Search engine marketing, you may wish to review our previous blog on A Multilingual Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Primer. For some useful information about country-specific localization and SEO practices, please check:

Contact GPI for more information via e-mail at info@globalizationpartners.com, by phone at (866) 272-5874, or by requesting a free search engine marketing and optimization Translation quote on your project.

Category:
Global SEO
Tags:
multilingual, keywords, localization, google adwords

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Federico has over 12 years' experience as a globalization engineer managing a wide range of software and website globalization projects (internationalization I18n + localization L10n). His expertise spans software and website internationalization and localization processes, standards and tools as well as locale specific SEO. Federico has completed hundreds of successful globalization engagements serving as lead I18n architect involving different programming languages. He is a certified developer in several content management systems and helps clients create world-ready applications, utilizing development practices that are faster, more economical, and more localization-friendly.