Keywords SE Optimization SE Tactics

How to Do Multilingual Keyword Research for International Websites

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Work with an international website usually comes down to localization of the original content and creation of relevant press releases or online presence on social media. While all of this sounds fair and will help an average company or a single developer to reach an international audience, it is far from everything! A reason for that is the lack of proper SEO work, which means that even if a company has the original content adjusted to a different country, it will not include the multilingual keywords that are most sought after. There should strategic thinking, which will not only include the research of what are the most popular phrases and word sequences concerning a particular market but will also weigh in the benefits and the risks of every keyword discovered. 

Without a doubt, the first and the most important part of successful SEO work where the multilingual website is involved is the high-quality work of translation experts or those who have provided localization services. 

Unlike an average translation work, localization should leave certain flexibility for designers and SEO specialists, which means that there should be technical and linguistic space. Localization can implement multilingual keywords that will work well not only with the search engines but will look natural and logical for the target audience. 

Multilingual Keyword Research for International Websites 

Many localization specialists believe that it is crucial to develop a special strategy that will help to pick the best multilingual keywords even before localization starts. Still, if the localization has been finished and there is a multilingual website, it is never too late to deliver the market message and address the advertisement issues. In any case, multilingual research is not a one-time work where the SEO specialist conducts research because even if you pick the most popular word sequences, rankings are prone to sudden changes. It means that there should be a global strategy where each specialist involved knows what actions must be taken and how to monitor the success of chosen SEO keywords. The preliminary research should also involve a list of target marketing topics and audience groups that are more or less important. As a rule, it is not possible to cover every audience, hence, there are certain compromises and balances, which are not always bad when you know how to reach customers or co-thinkers that are most likely to show some interest. 

Although there is no universal strategy template that will work for every case, these five major principles must be considered:

  • Proper SEO work takes time. Every good SEO specialist will tell you that there are no shortcuts or special methods that will bring your brand into the top five overnight because it always takes time to establish ranking. Sudden achievements usually do not work well because there should be an in-depth integration of each keyword in website content and the site’s social media presence. If you plan to work with special character sets like Arabic, Chinese or Russian, do not forget to adjust the keywords to let them fit an average sentence or grammar of the language because the culture of internet searching is different in non-Western countries.  
  • Avoid AI-based searching and automatic keyword translations. The most common mistake of SEO work with multilingual keyword research for international websites is turning to AI-based analysis systems that scan various websites. Even though they might provide you with a lengthy list of keywords that have helped a certain website to get promoted, it does not mean that it will help in your particular case. 

The key is to let your unique content work with all the popular keywords that cover a wider audience. Likewise, avoid automatic keyword translations! Most people believe that automatic machine translation of existing keywords in English will translate well into a foreign language. Unfortunately, such an approach will result in less than funny translations that we often see when purchasing Chinese products online. 

  • Cooperate with native translation professionals for each international market. Even when you have a good strategy and SEO specialists that provide you with a list of keywords that work well, always cooperate with native speakers that offer translation services in a target language. The golden rule is to always consult native speakers even if it is something minor. Take time and research the best translation companies to choose only certified translation specialists. A reason for that is business safety because even simple website content that has been translated in a foreign language may result in a legal claim. If you cooperate with language experts that have relevant certificates, it is  guaranteed that there will be no critical mistakes.
  • Analyze the socio-cultural aspects of each country. Remember that multilingual keywords should not represent a direct translation because it brings certain risks of missing the cultural aspects of a target country. If the English language may have phrases like “buy cheap” or “best price”, the Arabic language will not have the same keywords or semantic structure. It is an important point to consider when one creates a list of keywords. An excellent SEO specialist should know how and where to put the best keywords to make them look natural. Doing things in a wrong way by focusing on search results alone will only confuse people and make the final text unreadable. 
  • Study existing SEO statistics and do not be afraid to experiment. If you work with a SEO specialist, statistical monitoring and the creation of a keywords list will not be a problem. Now if you have no experience regarding how to find local search volumes for your business, do not hurry to buy specialized software but start by learning how Google Adwords Keyword Tool works since it is logical and free. It will help you to see what  customers are searching for. It is a good place to start and have a marketing strategy foundation. Alternatively, you can use a commercial tool like KWFinder, which provides detailed statistics. You may choose over forty languages for your target market. Once you have a good list of keywords, it is always necessary to consult with a translator to place them without making accidental mistakes. The key is to test various things out and never be afraid to experiment! 

There is another important aspect concerning the way a company should estimate multilingual keywords. Some of them will generate a lot of traffic and improve your position in the search results, yet this does not mean that sales or visitors will automatically increase to your website. Do not go straight to the most popular keywords because what really matters is compatibility with the content and the short descriptions that will include the particular phrase. 

Keep the localized text vivid and avoid making it look as if it has been done by machine translation. This usually happens when the SEO specialist tries to insert all the existing keywords. Of course, there is a competition where some international websites even go as far as listing the popular phrases separated by commas. However, this will not generate additional sales and only make the website look unprofessional. 

What Multilingual Keyword is Good for My International Website?

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It is a common mistake to believe that there are good or bad keywords that will help an international website. Success can only be reached if a company or an individual has done their homework about certified website localization. Once a language expert adjusts the website for a target market, there are mental marketing dots that can be connected once there is a list of keywords. For example, if a French online user types a local expression that may involve slang, it is necessary to adjust the web site’s content to contain the expression in a part of the page. While it may sound simple, it has to look logical and connect the keyword with a product or an anchor that contains a link where more information can be found. 

Keywords have to resonate in particular locations, which may be related to events or to geographical peculiarities of an area. In simple terms, choose keywords properly. A good example is Belgium where the Flemish part of the country will use Dutch keywords, while the Francophonic area will use French with some minor alterations and special wording. While you can set your website for the global market, it is better to target every region with a special set of keywords. This will bring more sales as the keyword content is specific and unique. 

About the author


Mark Blackwood

If you want to learn how to expand your business towards a foreign market or need help finding a certified translator for your startup, Mark is a great source of information. He works with best translation companies. Discover the foreign culture, learn business tricks, and find out how to become successful! Follow Mark for inspiration!