International SEO is the cooler, older brother of his younger, monolingual sibling. He goes on weekend trips to Thailand and France, goes shopping in Dubai and Tokyo, learns about local shows in Stockholm and Montreal, and not too long ago he got a degree in semantics. Well, so did his younger brother SEO. But an international degree sounds more impressive, right?
But what do I mean by this exactly? To put it plainly, all search engines, regardless of the language, are becoming very advanced in their ability to understand the semantic meanings of and relationships between words. But where things get really exciting is when you take search engine optimized content from one language and transfer it into another.
That’s because, the better search engines get at understanding meaning, the more of a transcreative approach you’ll have to take when reproducing international content for the web. And transcreation, which Nadja Golbov, a Senior Manager at Leinhäuser Language Services, wrote about here, is where the real magic happens.
Anyone who’s familiar with SEO will have heard of keywords. They’re how we get pages to rank on search engines like Google for certain topics related to a product or service we might be offering, or on a blog or article we might want to share with a larger audience actively looking for content on a given subject.
But over the years, search engine engineers became aware of people using black hat tactics – techniques aimed not at human audiences, but rather at taking advantage of weaknesses in search engine algorithms to get websites to appear at the top of results pages. Keyword stuffing, for example, was one such tactic.
The algorithms changed over time – as they always do – to combat fishy SEO tactics and to ensure that search engine users are able to get the results that are most useful and relevant to them. This eventually led to what is now known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.
To boil it down to the simplest of terms, search engine crawlers no longer just look for specific keyword matches, nor do they even look for metatag keywords – they search for context and related words to understand the semantic meaning behind online written content. Yeah, you heard that right; search engines are beginning to understand meaning. Well, sort of.
Computers in general are getting smart. Wickedly smart. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be hearing terms like digitalization, automation, IoT and AI on an almost daily basis. And the smarter computers and digital technologies get, the more we’ll all be adapting our workflows to get the most out of the tools and services we use.
The same goes for people who have their hands in content creation, marketing and SEO. While not a new concept, LSI keywords are becoming increasingly essential to ranking in search results. Even more so, in fact, for International SEO campaigns.