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Website Translation or International SEO? 92% of Website Translators Ignore SEO?

It is interesting to note that, according to Google, there are monthly 12,100 searches for the phrase “Website Translation” and only 1,000 for “International SEO”. Of course, there are other phrases of importance such as “multilingual SEO” but that’s even small and actually there are a great many more varieties of website translation phrase than international SEO.

By my reckoning, that roughly means that only 8% of people who translate their website bother at any point to either consider SEO or to buy a service for it. Is that possible? Although it’s a pretty crude calculation, I’d say that figure is no exaggeration. Far more people translate than employ any kind of SEO – which is much more the cream on the cake.

Oh No It Isn’t…

Translation and the localisation industry is a much older industry than SEO with professional standards, university courses and strict regulation. Personally, I’ve lost more sleepless night over language exams than I’ve ever done over SEO or search marketing tests. The Google Adwords Professional scheme being the only thing that has really tested (more frustrating than testing actually…).

But that doesn’t mean that localisation professionals shouldn’t start to get more interested in SEO. In the case of large corporations, they are often spending the bulk of the company’s investment in content and international SEO processes should be thought about as part of the whole localisation project. Going further, decision making surrounding which content to localise in the first place – assuming that it is not ALL web-based content – should be conditioned by keyword research to determine which content it is in the company’s interests to translate.

There are two key steps to consider even before putting out an RFP:

Step One: Where to start? Research!

The place to start is at the very beginning – to quote a famous musical film. That’s the research element. If it’s the beginning of a roll-out of a new project this might be investigating the best markets to enter. More likely, there’s already some knowledge and some experience and its more important to consider which products to focus on and how. In either of these situations keyword research plays a signficant role.

Step Two: Process Planning

Unfortunately, this step is often skipped or not recognised. Most assume that SEO is a separate process to be tagged on the end – but in reality it is most important to plan for the search engine promotion of the content of a site right at the outset and to integrate the steps into the project itself by planning the necessary changes to processes.

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Andy Atkins-Kruger

CEO at Webcertain
Andy is the CEO of Webcertain. He is a trained linguist with 20 years of experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. Webcertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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