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Written by Steven Bussey
on May 25, 2021

Any digital marketing campaign requires research into the most effective keywords so that you can use those words in your content. When you are reaching an international audience, just translating the same keywords that you use in your primary market isn't enough.  Not all countries use Google as their primary search engine, so you'll want to identify the primary engine or engines in each country. You'll also want to do multilingual keyword research for each of the languages in your website translation.

Table of Contents

1. Limits of Simply Translating Keywords
2. Understand Your Audience's Behavior
3. Doing Multilingual SEO Keyword Research
4. Re-evaluate

1. Limits of Simply Translating Keywords

While just translating keywords from your primary language to the new language is quick and seems to have a low price tag, it isn't the best solution in the long run. Potential customers in one culture don't necessarily use the same keywords as those in another culture to search for the same product. 

Suppose you sell projectors. Most English-speakers would search under the word projectors. The German translation is "projektor," but Germans would more typically use the word "beamer." If you simply translated the project as "projektor," you'd miss out on a lot of potential sales, according to this graph on Google Trends.

Search engine use also varies throughout the world. Google isn't used in China; instead, the Chinese typically use Baidu, for example. Russians typically use Yandex and Koreans use Naver. Knowing which search engine is popular in the country you hope to do business in is a critical part of your SEO strategy. 

2. Understand Your Audience's Behavior

People's search habits also differ from country to country. For example, language structure differences affect how people search. Germans often use compound nouns, which aren't fully supported on Google. To compensate, Germans may split nouns when they search. You'll want to research whether the complete noun or a split version is used most often. 

Cultural differences also impact search results. Potential customers from Western cultures typically search using nouns, but those from Asian cultures will more often search using verbs, for example.

3. Doing Multilingual SEO Keyword Research

Now that you understand why multilingual keyword keyword research is important, let's talk about how to conduct the research.

The first is to understand that often only a native of a particular country who also speaks your source language will have the knowledge to help you determine the right keywords for their country. Only a native will know the nuances of their particular language and culture that play a part in determining search behavior. The native also will need some knowledge of SEO. Outsourcing your keyword research for your Website translations is usually worth the money in the long run.

If, however, you have a native of that country on your staff who has SEO knowledge and want to do your own international keyword research, here are a few tips.

  • Begin creating a list of keywords. All keyword research starts with a topic or main keyword known as a seed keyword. From that keyword, you'll jot down others. 
  • If you don't have a list or want to know which keywords on your site rank best, you can use one of several tools, such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, Keyword, or Ubersuggest. The metrics from these tools will help you create a keyword list.
  • Translate your keywords into the other language and note related words or other words that you believe might be relevant for SEO. 
  • Analyze the proposed keywords using one of the tools. Ideally, you want words that will drive traffic to your website and help convert that traffic into sales. 
  • Choose a strategic mix of broad words, or those that reach a wide audience, and long-tail words, which are more specific and tend to result in more conversions.
  • Look at the websites of your competitors in the market. Use a tool such as SEMRush to extract keywords that your competitors' sites rank high for but that you do not. 
  • To make the website translation process more seamless, you can map the keywords from your list to the equivalent pages in your original or source language.
  • Add the keywords to your translated content, including in the title, meta description, and rest of your copy. While using keywords is important, writing natural and interesting content is also important. Your search engine rankings depend on many factors besides keywords, such as the amount of time folks spend on your site.

4. Re-evaluate

Search language changes, as do search engine ranking algorithms. You should monitor the success of your keywords and replace those that stop performing with logical alternatives when possible. Anytime you redo your site, consolidate content, start to blog or add a different type of content, or promote a new product, you'll want to re-evaluate your keyword strategy.

Andovar can help you take your website content across borders. We have more than 5,000 professional translators and work with more than 200 language pairs. We can provide the expertise you need to translate and optimize your Website. Contact us through our website today to discuss your needs.

Contact Andovar

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