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SEO translations

Don’t get lost in translation
reading time: 5 minutes

Thanks to the Internet the whole world opens up to you – as well as your homepage opens up to the world. In order for this opportunity to be used, it is helpful if your website is set up internationally. With SEO translations you make your content appealing for users of other languages – and thus for the search engines too.

International success with SEO translations

Almost everyone who is active with his company on the Internet is dreaming of conquering international markets. There, however, not only new potential customers are waiting, but also new competitors. In order to be internationally successful with your company online, you must also deal with the purchasing power and competition of the countries in which you wish to operate. These form the basis for your content strategy and your SEO translations.

For whom are SEO translations useful?

In short, everyone who wants to offer their clients a website in more than one language needs SEO translations. For example:

  • Websites that are internationally oriented
  • Websites for countries with several official languages
  • Websites with a local reference, which nevertheless want to address users of other languages

SEO translations are therefore not only useful for international companies. If, for example, you are running a page for your record store, you can use SEO translations to address non-English-speaking users in your city and draw attention to your local store.

3 advices for SEO translations

1. Human translators instead of translation software

„The fragrant spring onion explodes the cow“ – On the Internet there are countless collections of translation fails that have come about thanks to Google Translate and other translation programs. Since high-quality content is a very important ranking factor in the search engines, your SEO translations must be flawless. No machine can do that. For individual words or phrases, a software may be quite useful, but in complex contexts, they quickly reach their limits. A person recognizes the intention and individual tonality of a text and can take that into account for the translation. This creates authentic content, which is reflected in better rankings.

2. Consider cultural differences

A SEO translation should not only be linguistically and grammatically correct, but also take into account the linguistic peculiarities, expressions and cultural customs of the target country. What works well in the France does not have to be as successful in Belgium, Canada or another French-speaking country. However, when you consider cultural differences, your style should not be lost. In the SEO translation, you should therefore find a good way between the country’s usual conversational rules and the tonality of your company.

3. Consider local search engines

Undoubtedly, Google is the top dog among the search engines. However, if you want to contact your user in other countries, you should not ignore local search engines. Well-known examples are Yandex in Russia or Baidu in China, which occupy large market shares in these countries. For example, Yandex can better analyze the Russian language and respond more sensitively to mistakes in spelling or grammar. For SEO translations it is therefore important to know the characteristics of country-specific search engines.

What is the peculiarity of SEO translations?

Keywords are critical for the success of your site. A separate keyword search should always be carried out for SEO translations. Check whether the keywords for which you are already optimizing your website can be translated in the target language 1: 1 and have a similar search volume. Not always the most obvious translation is the best choice. Therefore you should check several alternatives. For example, you can use Google’s Global Market Finder or the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.

For instance, there are different legitimate spellings in German, especially for loanwords. If you, e.g., run an online shop for hairdresser supplies, there are two possible spellings for the translation of „hairdresser“ in German: „Friseur“ or „Frisör“. A look into the keyword planner will tell you which variant is more frequently searched. You should then take this for your translations:

Search volume of different spellings

However, SEO translations are not just about transferring the texts published on a page to the target language. Numerous other elements must also be translated, such as:

  • Meta data
  • Title tags
  • Alt attributes of images
  • Title attributes of images and links
  • Anchor texts from links
  • E-books, and other files to download
  • Auto-reply mails

Here it becomes clear that SEO translations are more than the mere transfer of a text from one language to another. As with the creation of the original content, many aspects of search engine optimization have to be considered in SEO translations. It is therefore advisable to use an SEO agency like seo-nerd.

SEO translations by the seo-nerd

Unique content is a valuable ranking factor. This also applies to SEO translations. There are a number of other factors that can help you push your page forward in different language versions. As an SEO professional the seo-nerd knows how to use high-quality SEO translations and thus offers you all the services of search engine optimization from a single source. These include in terms of SEO Translations:

  • Keyword research: A new keyword set is created for the target language, which takes into account the search behavior of the target country or target language.
  • Checking the link structure: Internal links must be linked to the correct language variant. If possible, external links should be adapted to the target language.
  • Unique Content: In an SEO translation, the content is not simply transferred to the target language. Cultural characteristics are also considered.
  • Adaptation to the target country: Correct SEO translations are accompanied by the adjustment of additional data, such as currency and date format or different delivery costs and times.
  • Correct implementation: All language variants are technically correct installed so that search engines can recognize and assign them correctly.

With SEO translations from the seo-nerd, you create the ideal prerequisites for the user-specific display of your multilingual content. Internationally oriented websites can be optimized with regard to their usability and relevance for the users.

Multilingualism of websites – What else has to be regarded?

In order to be actually successful with your multilingual website, it is not enough to translate all content according to SEO aspects. Search engines like Google must be able to recognize that your page is relevant to different languages and which variant should be displayed for a search query in a specific language. Just for this case, the hreflang attribute was introduced in 2011.

Let’s say you have a homepage at http://www.examplepage.com with English-language content. The German version of your site will be hosted at http://www.examplepage.com/de. To tell Google that this is the German alternative to the English site, you add the hreflang attribute to the head section of the HTML document of the English site:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://www.examplepage.com/de" />

What do the single elements of the hreflang tag mean?

link: The link element is at the beginning and indicates that there is a relationship between the page where the attribute is installed and the page named after “href=”.
rel: The rel attribute specifies this relationship. In this case, the value “alternate” identifies the URL as an alternative.
hreflang: This is the most important element because it determines for which language the URL should be displayed. This value is given as an ISO code. In this case, “hreflang=de” defines the language German.

In turn, the German version of your page must also contain a hreflang attribute, which tells Google that there is an English alternative. This would then look like this:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://www.examplepage.com" />

The hreflang attribute must be installed on all subpages of your domain so that search engines can recognize the correct language version.

Most content management systems offer different plugins that do this automatically. However, it is recommended to check the results again: There are several tools, such as Sistrix, or Google Webmaster Tools. There you will find under “Search Traffic” in the menu item “International Targeting” the number of the hreflang attributes of a page as well as possible error messages.

hreflang check

Check your hreflang attributes with Webmaster Tools

Grab you dictionary!

You are convinced that you can conquer the world with your product, your idea or your service? Then take the step out of your local comfort zone and prepare your site for the international competition!

SEO translations should not be taken lightly. They are crucial if you want to get started with your website internationally. If you avoid the biggest banana skins, the online world lies at your feet. Or you just let the seo-nerd carry you past this banana skins to the top rankings.