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Successful global SEO starts with a solid localization plan

What does it take to show up high in search results? The best SEO firms will tell you that you need content that is valuable to users. When you simply have a country-coded top-level domain and translated material, you aren’t really providing value. You must localize your material as well.

What Does International SEO Mean?

The process of optimizing your site so search engines can identify which languages your startup uses and which markets you want to target is known as international SEO.

You are likely more familiar with international SEO than you realize. It is much like geotargeting, but instead of trying to reach consumers in a specific state or city, you are optimizing your website for different languages and countries.

For a more thorough assessment of what international SEO is and what it is not, check out this detailed article from Moz.

There are three basic steps to an international SEO strategy:

  • Use a URL structure that is international-friendly to specify which region or country you want to target
  • Use language tags to specify which languages you want to target
  • Create content in the language you want to target

This last step is your localization, and it is the meat and potatoes of starting a successful global SEO campaign. Here are four reasons why:

1. You Need Localization for Successful International SEO

Localization is important for both global and local SEO. It’s of interest to marketers focused on climbing up the search engine rankings across France, Spain, and Germany, for example, or just in the two cities of Austin and Dallas. International SEO is slowly becoming a major priority for many organizations.

Though it will help you attract more leads when you rank high on search engines globally, SEO is just a means to an end that all marketers should hope to achieve: providing the most seamless and relevant user experience to all users regardless of their language, search engine, or location.

Put another way, localization excellence is the key to successful global SEO. If you are a little bit hazy on how global SEO differs from local SEO, we recommend that you check out this article from Local SEO Me, which touches on how the goals of your enterprise influence your best strategy.

Your gateway to success, though, ultimately depends on you supplying the right content to your target demographic. This is addressed by localization.

2. Localization Goes Beyond Simple Translation

Many clients come to us with a mistaken idea of what localization is. They believe it is just translation. That is, they think we take content written for one geographic area and translate it directly into another area’s language.

If your localization strategy ends at translation, you will hurt your international marketing campaign goals and ultimately damage your brand equity. We like to look at examples of marketing campaigns that failed due to direct translation to drive home this point.

The Guardian reported on a festival in a small Spanish town that wanted to advertise its grelo (a Galician word for a leafy green vegetable) festival to other parts of the country. So, organizers simply fed the translation into Google Translate, and their grelo festival became a “clitoris festival.”

Going beyond translation and localizing would have avoided this screw-up.

3. Both Localization and International SEO Rely on Data-Driven Analysis

So, what is involved in localization? To rank in your target market, there are a number of steps required that apply the scientific rigor of keyword research and competitive analysis.

The core activity is the translation, but this is done with an eye toward what is appropriate for the geographic location, culture, and language of your audiences. Plus, the topics that really matter to the new market must be addressed in the right context.

The key to every SEO project is thorough research, analysis, and testing. First, you must research the keywords that matter the most to your target demographic. Then, you should evaluate the competition. Lastly, create a content plan, and constantly hone it until you are getting the results you want.

4. You Must Have Culturally-Sound Localization in Place

Of course, SEO doesn’t really mean much if your content is off-putting to most visitors. You must also make sure that the content is culturally-sensitive, strikes the tone you are going for, and that the emotions and values expressed are appropriate for the audience.

Basically, you must deliver your message in an appropriate and compelling manner that gives your users a seamless and relevant experience.

An excellent language service provider will translate, localize, and optimize your source content so that it resonates with a global audience. Accelingo applies our best practices to provide tailor-made solutions to your project so that your startup can succeed as it expands into new foreign markets.

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