Localization and SEO

By Chiara Grassilli
In Localization
Mar 18th, 2013

Localization and SEO

Localization and SEO – How To SEO Localize Your Website

Do you want to translate your website in other languages?

Do you want your translated website to be found by the audience you’re targeting?

But above all, do you want it to be found by users who really need what you’re offering?

So you need two things:

– to localize your website
– to optimize it for search engines

The process of optimizing your website for search engines is called SEO, which stands for Search Engines Optimization. Usually the person who localizes a website and the person who optimize it are two different people and they do not work together. However, when localizing a website, it’s important to optimize it for search engines so that it ranks among the first results in all the different languages and not only in English.

That’s why today we’re talking about localization and SEO.


Who takes care of localization and SEO?

In localization the translator deals with the first part of the job (the translation of the website) and the company’s marketing department or SEO expert deals with all the rest.

The two players often don’t interact, resulting in a poor job by the translator as he doesn’t know anything about SEO.

On the other hand, the company doesn’t know how to improve the content because it’s in another language. But the quality of the content is the factor that will decide the success of the website (and thus of the company) in new markets, and it should be given the greatest importance.

The reason SEO is important is very simple: when a person needs to buy something, she usually goes online, types few keywords on Google, Bing or any other search engine, and goes for the first results displayed.

If a company is selling “facilities” and localizing the website into Italian they translate “strutture” instead of “attrezzature” nobody will find them. Both translations are correct from a linguistic point of view. But the first is probably a right keyword for the purpose of making sales, while the second, although correct linguistically, is not.

Researching the keywords to be integrated in the website is one of the elements of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, which simply means to make your website easier to be ranked higher in the results by search engines.

Over the past few months, I’ve studied how to integrate SEO with localization.

Then I came across a great e-book written by GlobalVision’s Translation Services (free to download here) called “Search Engine GeoOptimization“.

In this document you’ll read this:

“Direct translations of a site are unlikely to include the most commonly used search terms, resulting in a website that can be understood by the local audience but may receive little traffic if it fails to appear in search results.”

GlobalVision’s Translation Services, www.globalvis.com

Thus, producing a translation that sticks to the original is useless, as the keywords of the source language might not be a direct translation or directly transferable into the target language.

But most companies think about localization as a mere translation, without taking into account the website optimization. Yet, it could allow them to rank higher in search engines results and improve the success of the website.

Localization involves translation, but it doesn’t end with it.

According to the e-book, the steps to localize a company website are:

  1. 1 – conduct researches on the target market
  2. 2 – find the specific terminology
  3. 3 – find which keywords people normally type to look for your product
  4. 4 – include these keywords in the translation
  5. 5 – use this method to translate the static content of the website, but then produce new content written by native speakers
  6. 6 – find the right meta tags to integrate in the website
  7. 7 – eventually adapt the advertisement campaign (like PPC campaigns) to the local keywords

It might seem more complicated than to simply rely on Google Translate. And obviously it is. But this is the reason why some companies websites are a worldwide success, and why some are not. Don’t let yours make the same mistake!

You might also like:

Multilingual Social Media Management

Three Good Reasons To Be Brief In Localization

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About "" Has 117 Posts

Since an early age I have been passionate about languages. I hold a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting, and I have worked as a freelance translator for several years. I specialize in Marketing, Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media. I love blogging and I also run the blog www.italiasocialmedia.com

2 Responses to “Localization and SEO”

  1. […] localization (see my article on SEO and Localization) […]

  2. […] reasons: first, you need to know how to translate a website in a SEO-friendly way for your clients, as we discussed in a previous article. Secondly, you need to learn how to leverage it for yourself, in order to get more visitors and, […]