Website translation and international SEO

SEO map of the world


When you are translating a website, one of the biggest mistakes to make is not thinking about an international SEO strategy. How can we make the most of the website translation process to capture more web traffic?

Limitations of the free tools

There is an huge difference between the free website translation services and professional services. Even Google itself does not recommend the use of Google Translate as a website translation tool. Essentially, this comes down to technology limitations. Free translation services usually work through the "on-the-fly" substitution of the original text for the translation with the use of JavaScript or a similar program. In practical terms, this means that a translated page does not physically exist, making it impossible to position the content in the target language. All your work will have been for nothing!

Another aspect to look at is the quality of the translations that the machine translation engines perform. It is true that a bad translation is better than no translation at all, but it is very common to find inconsistencies, mistakes and a lack of cohesion in translations performed by a machine. You need to consider your brand image and think about the users who will read your content. A badly translated website does not portray credibility and it could seriously affect your image.

How will a professional translator help me with my international SEO strategy?

Professional website translation allows us to go a step further. First of all, the translator is a professional in their native language and is able to adapt the message to the target language, selecting the most appropriate words. For example, in London you will find "cash machines" whereas in New York you have "ATMs". Similarly, in the United Kingdom you use your "mobile phone" to make calls, while in the United States you would use a "cell phone". Choosing the correct word that is adapted to each culture and reality is vital for the international SEO positioning process. We would not be able to position our pages well if we were using words that were not adapted to real life.

Essentially, what a translator does is select keywords. If we want the translation to be a real success, we can carry out a prospecting process with an SEO expert before starting the translation. This way, we will know in advance exactly which words we want to position, and the translator will have clear instructions about which words to use.

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