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October 10, 2019 |

Top 5 Keyword Localization Best Practices 

When doing website or app localization, translating keywords isn’t going to help your SEO strategy. Instead, you should focus on keyword localization, which means starting keyword research from scratch. This way, you adapt your content to new search engines and languages and increase your chances of being found online. 

Multilingual keyword research can change your entire SEO strategy, but it’s essential if you want to build a solid international online reputation. Here are five keyword localization best practices to help you to target the right keywords for each local market. 

1) Never Make Assumptions about Keywords

Inexperienced marketers and translators often believe that an exact translation of keywords is SEO best practice. After all, the product is the same and people use it for the same benefits. This sort of assumption can slow down your business in international markets. 

Every language has its particular way of using words and often what’s in dictionaries isn’t even close to how people speak in real life. Think real estate companies that use terms like, “residences,” “accommodation,” “housing,” or “apartments.” Each word has different SEO value, and the same is true for their translated versions in most languages. 

If you don’t do keyword research, you risk losing business opportunities. Your website won’t show up in search results, people won’t find you online, and you’ll see little return on your investment. 

2) Do Keyword Research for Every Country or Region

Website, video game, or app localization means adapting your product and content to local audiences who speak different languages in different ways. 

Even when they all speak English, people from the United States go on “vacation,” while the British go on “holiday” (or hols). The same happens with Spanish. In Spain, a person can drive a “coche” (car), while the same word often defines a baby stroller in Argentina. 

In India, people speak 22 official languages, every one specific to a region, and there are thousands more unofficial languages too. If you translate your content into Hindi, you’ll get website visitors who live in the areas where people speak and understand this language.  

Many languages also have regional versions, and people use them when looking for information online. No one relies on the dictionary when typing a query into Google. People speak online as they do in everyday life. Keyword localization allows you to do the same, with positive effects on your traffic. 

3) Build Content Around Your Audience

As part of your localization process, try to identify your target audience. Just like in English, people speak differently based on their age, education, cultural background, or working environment. B2B companies that need to adapt to a local corporate language won’t target the same keywords as a business which focuses on parents or teachers, for instance. 

Choose the right keywords with your audience in mind, based on search volumes and market research. The gold rule here is to trust your language service provider with your keyword localization. In most cases, translators are aware of the differences within the language and know how to adapt your content to specific audiences.

Your role is to give your translators the context necessary for them to understand whom they’re talking to. Make sure you share guidelines with your language service provider about your brand’s voice and target audiences. 

4) Treat Keywords as Terminology

Now that you know how to perform international keyword research and why keyword localization matters, it’s time to see how you can efficiently handle keywords. 

Think about keywords like a sort of translation terminology–a collection of unique words and specific terms that belong to your business environment. Gather all your keywords and their versions in the target language in one place. 

You create a terminology database, easy to access by all translators and linguists working on your project. This way, every time someone has to translate keywords from the source language, they have all the instructions a few clicks away.    

Not only does having a comprehensive glossary of keywords speed up the translation, but it also minimizes the risk of translation errors. Moreover, you’ll obtain a high level of consistency across your content, which is ideal when looking to avoid confusion and keyword cannibalization.  

Your translated content will include the right keywords in the right places for the page to rank high in search results. 

5) Collaborate with Local Linguists

Keyword localization is more than a simple translation of terms and expressions. You need to know the exact words locals use when making queries online. This is the most straightforward way of helping people find you online. 

Furthermore, after finding the best keywords, you need to integrate them naturally inside your translation. You can’t simply match every new keyword with an existing one and replace them inside the text. The content in the target languages should meet the same quality standards as your English website. 

So, besides excellent language skills, you should be looking for cultural insights, as well. Local linguists are the go-to people for this kind of job: translators and localization specialists who know the local market well and your public’s expectations. 

Specialists know how to place every term and keyword in the right context, depending on each audience you target.

Final Thoughts on Keyword Localization

SEO is vital to website localization, so every element that can influence your rankings should be handled carefully during the translation process. For every new version of your site, you need to use the same technique that helped you find the right keywords for your original website. 

Use a keyword tool to find the keywords for every region, then choose the right words and phrases based on search volumes and the purpose of your content. Remember that the goal is to reach the right audience–the people who are more likely to engage with your content and convert. 

Moreover, make sure that keywords are naturally integrated into your content. This way, you ensure all website visitors have an excellent user experience on your website.

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