September 20, 2013
Understanding the power of the Internet and its influence on marketing strategy is the first step toward the realization of the importance and requisiteness of website translation to reach not just the native language market but the global market as well.
In today’s world, most people are using the Internet to find information and gain access to resources they both normally cannot access or would require some travel and effort to acquire. The Internet solves this disparity between customer need and customer access by enabling any user in a myriad of countries with a portal to the Internet to have access to all the information/services/products they desire with a click of a button. This change has led many marketing firms and agencies to evolve their marketing strategies from radio and TV to aggressive online awareness and promotional activities. This change is due in part to the immense potential for growth the Internet facilitates in both the local and global markets for service(s) or product(s).
All this is clear but why translate my website to any particular foreign languages?
The above is a very common question that brings the author back to a personal marketing philosophy and direction as the manager and owner of a business. Business owners seek to implement marketing strategies that will build awareness among the maximum amount of customer segments that would be interested in my product/service. Operating under this philosophy, once any owner defines the goals he/she wants to achieve, the realization that new markets he/she wants to open are not limited to those of his/her native country becomes quite apparent. The motivations for translation become self-explanatory.
Translating and localizing ones product/service offering allows exponentially faster growth by removing any language or cultural barriers that would prevent potential clients from understanding product/service offering and in turn purchasing product/service.
Even when a website has been translated into a particular language, unless the content is localized, culture can remain as one last barrier to the consumer understanding a company’s product offering. English, for example, is spoken in many different cultures; however, English idioms and connotations of words can mean completely different things to people from different cultures. In England, the term bang can have sexual connotations; while in the U.S., getting started with a bang means getting off to a great start. This is exactly why the localization process has to be done by professionals who will not only translate the message to the target language but also write the content with the targeted culture in mind. Using key phrases and words that attract and appeal to the target market allows the right message to be delivered from inside the culture and not from the outside which results in success through building awareness among target customers and in turn bringing revenues.
With the importance of the translation/localization part of the process stated, the focus can now be placed on the importance of an effective SEO strategy.
Multilingual SEO and Localization
The definition of SEO is ‘Search Engine Optimization’ which basically means to optimize ones website in such a way that search engines would deem its content more relevant to specific keywords entered by the user in the search bar than any of the competitors’ websites.
Before consumers can understand this translated content and see that a product meets their needs, they must be aware of the site that provides these solutions. An effective SEO strategy takes a business owner beyond localization of the content of his/her site and builds awareness for his/her business brand and allows potential customers to find the accompanying service(s)/product(s) with relative ease through localization and optimization of the site for local major search engines for a particular language.
According to the Forrester Research, an independent technology and research company, if a website is not among the first 20 in the search engines it may as well not exist. Ninety percent of all Internet users do not bother looking any further than the first two pages of the search results. Users now more than ever are aware of what they need and would rather find products and services themselves through the Internet than have information thrown at them. Potential consumers rely heavily on major search engines to find the products and services they desire to meet their needs and thus greater optimization of a website for these engines creates better awareness. Using a professional SEO who understands the specific language requirements and culture for any particular language can best equip a site to appear in the first two pages of results.
Return on an SEO & Translation Investment
Those who feel they are candidates for SEO strategies must be aware that successful long lasting results are achieved by working with the search engine and giving Google, e.g., all the elements it needs for its algorithm. These individuals must also be aware that such programs take time and cannot be done overnight or within just a few days because it is a very precise mathematical process demanding research and time to any given field or area.
Optimizing ones multilingual website for all major and local search engines helps boost the amount of visits on a particular website up to one hundred percent or more; usually meaning more business and more awareness for their service(s) and message one wants to convey to any foreign market which normally would have been out of ones reach.
In conclusion, taking a translation project for website content and search engine optimization (SEO) can be very complex and time consuming. Trying to do it without knowing exactly how to do so can cause more damage than good to ones business in both aspects of translation and SEO. Both processes demand professional knowledge and experience which allow one to represent ones business in the most professional way to the most people possible. Revenues come from brand and product awareness, and this awareness comes from effective marketing strategies. Translating website content and optimizing search position on search engines are both examples of effective marketing at work.
I believe this will change the way business is done and how market reach is evaluated.
Orad Elkayam is the head of business operations at MO Group International. MO Group International is an award winning multilingual SEO provider, offering services in keyword optimization, copywriting and social media management. With linguistic expertise in more than 40 different languages, MO Group International delivers high-quality Web content, written by native speakers.