I run across clients every day that want to expand internationally, and naturally, they expect to use search marketing to do it. So, they carefully choose the Web pages they need to translate into local languages, they throw open the doors to the country Web sites, and hear the sound of...crickets. What went wrong? They carefully optimized their original Web site for search and they hired capable translators to convert them to other languages. But they missed an important step.

It sounds like the right things to do. Write the site in English, do all of your search optimization, and it works great. But when you translate your site to French, you aren't done. You must redo your optimization for search.

Here's why. Just imagine that you originally wrote your pages in French for your computer business. You've done all the optimization for search, and it's working fine--in French. When you translate it to English, the translator correctly uses all the words required, but he constantly refers to "notebook" computers, rather than "laptops."

Is the translation correct? Yes. Is it search optimized? No. People use the word "laptop" in their searches far more often than the word "notebook." If your site uses the less popular word, you'll get far fewer searcher visits.

Instead, you need to repeat your search optimization work in every language. Each time you translate, you must repeat the keyword research to determine popular terms and then use them in the translated text.

It costs more than relying on your translators, but the advantage is that the searchers actually find your translated site. If you want to save money, you can, but you're likely to find that your translators are not search experts.

Originally posted on Biznology Blog.

November 20, 2012

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


It sounds like the right thing. All English website, makes all the search optimization, and it works well. But when you turn your website into French, you're done. You need optimization search again.

I had to run a ppc campaign a while back for a company that was was trying to break into the European market, I advised them that they simpley could not just translate their text , it have to be done so it was optimised for the respective local markets, they said no as they did not have the extra budget or time to do this - I am sure you can guess what happened - these campaigns failed horribly

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