Whether your brand just went viral or you’re planning on launching existing products to new markets, you’ve got to be thinking of your ‘global’ strategy. Your core channel is your website and you need to get that right. Sure, translating it is a start, but you want to look beyond simple translation to create exceptional global (yet very local) customer experience. That’s where SEO comes into play.
You don’t have control on how Google will tweak its algorithm nor the ranking factors they will favour. You are though master of your own domain and while ’content is king’, you control it. This gives you the power to create quality content which has global appeal & reach – that needs to be your main focus. Once you’ve created this alluring content, you need to make sure it’s well-organized before you consider translating it. Here is a “to do” list for your web designer:
- Fix any broken links – 404s are a pain both for your website and customer experience. It’s critical you set redirects before you translate your site, otherwise you are just amplifying the problem.
- Integrate a XML site map – you may have manageable content now, but as your business grows, so will your content and this is exponentially true when managing a multilingual site. The XML site map will facilitate the referencing and crawlability of your site across the languages.
- Implement usage of ’hreflang’ – search engines use content-language meta tags such as <rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”> to map to country and language specific content. This will facilitate your content being served to the correct audience in Search results.
- Get your on-page SEO right – your quality content needs to be built around key elements such as <title> tag, <h1> <h2> headlines, image <alt> attributes as well as meta description tags.
It’s important to understand that the structure you give to your original content will lay the foundations of your global SEO strategy. As traffic grows to your website, you’ll know you have the right recipe – that’s when you move onto translation.
First pitfall to avoid: Don’t see translation as a sprint – this is a marathon. This doesn’t mean you can’t get quick wins, but rather that you need to start including translation as part of your ‘big picture’ strategy. To get started on the right foot, you should consider:
- Implementing a language selector – this dropdown menu needs to be clearly visible (ideally as part of your top navigation menu) and user-friendly. Consider using the ’globe’ to make this visually appealing; avoid using flags to represent languages as this may not be aligned to your communication strategy.
- Sharing keywords with your translation supplier – this assumes you’ve followed SEO best practices and have put some effort into finding those long tail keywords. Keywords can become terminology which can then be researched and adapted for local relevancy.
- Using your site map to target and translate – you may not want to get everything translated at once. Your site map will allow you to target what you feel is your best content and translate that first-hand. As you roll-out the translated web content, you can revert to adding new content to keep your web content fresh.
- Making those URLs readable – by translating your URLs, you’ll be able to use relevant keywords for your target markets and make your content more easily accessible.
Once you’ve done these essentials, this is when you need to preserve that marathon pace. Keep translating and deploying more locally-relevant content. Feel free to contact us to pick up the pace in going global faster.