International SEO (or iSEO) is the process of adapting your SEO strategy for every local market in which you intend to expand your presence. Through a targeted approach like this, each local version of your site ranks high within local search results, helping you to reach a broad audience.
iSEO involves replicating everything you’ve done for your original website in a different language, multiple times. From keyword research to on-page optimization, there should be an individual SEO strategy in place to ensure that every localized version of your site ranks on page one of local search results.
But having such an iSEO strategy in place also means considering the way local populations use the internet to connect with brands and make online purchases.
Linguists and other professional language service providers are the right people for this job — because they speak the local languages, live in the same country or region as your target audience, and know how to identify their preferences.
Here’s how linguists and their unique language skills can help you boost your iSEO ranking and make your website appealing to local audiences.
Linguists build a language-specific SEO strategy
Google processes over 3.5 billion queries every day, in 135 languages. While English is still the most used language online, it’s only spoken by a quarter of all internet users — which means that three in four people online use other languages to search for information and products.
In light of this, iSEO becomes a necessity for companies that plan to sell beyond their own national borders. Not only will localizing your website and SEO strategy improve your rank in the search results, but it will put your brand closer to local audiences.
Reaching a top position in the search results and maintaining it can become a real challenge — and not just for English-speaking websites. But, with a cohesive iSEO strategy focused on the uniqueness of each local market, you can consolidate your global presence.
Professional translators and linguists can develop language-specific SEO strategies to integrate into your iSEO approach. They know how people speak and understand the cultural background of the local population. Moreover, they have language skills that allow them to identify the exact words people use online to search for your product and services.
Linguists pay attention to every language-related ranking factor that contributes to putting your website on page one of search results. This strategy does more than make your website appealing to Google’s algorithms. It offers website visitors an excellent user experience, as well-written quality content increases the usability of your site and helps you stay relevant in any local market.
Localization for a new country or region should include keyword research from scratch. Hire local SEO experts to help you find the right keywords and phrases to optimize for. Then, ask them to strategically place these keywords in headlines, metadata and text. Without this local touch, it’s hard to stay on top of the multiple ways of searching for information on the internet.
We’ve seen many companies develop iSEO strategies that rely on only the translated versions of their English keywords. It’s a tricky road that may not always lead to the right audience.
For instance, Italians don’t always look for “vacanze ultimo minuto” (translation for last minute vacation). Depending on their age and profession, they may as well search online for “vacanze last minute.”
In many cases like this one, local keyword research can help you reach a broader audience than the word-to-word translation of your existing keywords.
It’s not so different in English. Americans look for “vacation,” while the British and Canadians go on “holiday.” Linguists’ contribution in this field can make a difference in the way you connect with your audience, because they know and understand the local way of speaking.
Voice search has made the conversational speech in content even more important for effective iSEO. People rarely speak like in the dictionary; they won’t start using complicated constructions with Alexa or Siri either.
Linguists curate your content by including the right conversational phrases into your copy. Moreover, they speak the language like the locals do, and understand the way people relate to brands. They can turn the customer service queries and feedback into a valuable tool for finding the keywords and phrases worth targeting.
Optimizing for voice search is crucial when localizing for countries such as China or Japan, where more than half of the internet users have already adopted voice technology for online search.
Meta descriptions and title tags
Metadata helps search engines understand what your website is all about; programs use this information to scan and index the pages. For SEO purposes, you should focus on meta titles and meta descriptions.
Besides capturing the attention of search engines, titles and descriptions can also determine people to open your website from all the results provided by the search engine.
However, when you have a limited number of characters to promote your content, it’s hard to capture attention and get people to click.
Linguists can make things a lot easier for you since they know the right trigger words to generate reactions and engagement. Not only will they respect grammar rules and logic, but they’ll also add value to your content, by generating interest and making it sound natural and familiar.
It’s hard to get that with machine translation or working with someone who knows the language but doesn’t usually interact with native speakers.
Usable content is at the heart of any iSEO strategy; it gets traffic, keeps people on your page and eventually converts them into loyal customers.
You can get that with local content created in collaboration with native copywriters, as well as with localized content. This combination can help you respond to locals’ specific needs while keeping a consistent global presence for your brand.
Of course, when doing content localization, you should choose relevant content that resonates with an international audience. Also, you may want to go a step further than simply translating your content.
Linguists transcreate content so that every piece keeps the original meaning and, at the same time, delivers the message in a language that locals can understand. They choose the best words required by each context to ensure effective communication between your brand and your target audience.
You can do hyper-localization for local audiences
Hyper-local marketing can help you reach the top results when people search for businesses near them. It means you target highly specific regions and geographically restricted areas for personalized interactions with your audience.
Hyper-localization enables you to get to the customers with a strong intent to buy — in other words, people who don’t need additional information before deciding to buy, but who already want to purchase.
It opens business opportunities that can benefit your company, mainly when you’ve invested in a physical location or infrastructure that enables you to fulfill orders efficiently in some geographical regions.
A better choice for iSEO
There shouldn’t be a difference between your approach to international SEO and the optimization you do for your English-speaking website. You need the same dedication and attention to detail to offer your readers quality content and convince search engines of your site’s value.
You work with native English speakers with excellent skills for your original website. Why not apply the same strategy for your localized sites?
Linguists and professional translators who also live in the target country know your audience well enough to deliver customized content that converts.