International SEO, More Than Just Semantics
Ryan Buddenhagen, January 5, 2012
At the core of any SEO campaign, there are keyword analyses that produce a firm understanding of the terms that all efforts are geared around. This is essential and always completed early in campaigns usually after client identity and objectives have been established. This process, however, takes on a whole new look, and degree of relevance, when dealing with international SEO. As companies continually expand their presence into new markets internationally, they encounter a whole host of new challenges getting across their message.
Keywords and Spacing
Culture not only impacts the overt differences in language and the obvious translation that it requires, but it also affects the way keywords or keyword phrases are used and discussed by the target audience. Raw translations of certain terms or keyword phrases often fall short as a result. These translations may not reflect the concept at the core of the keyword as the local target audience may use a different combination of words to represent that concept. These are elements that SEO consultants look at when assisting their clients' move abroad. If this is not addressed, companies eager to get their message out will leave a costly disconnect between the intended meaning and that received by the target audience. Some languages also simply take up more space than others, and this is a consideration. Companies need to be aware of the amount of space they have and realistic about whether the allotted amount of words will deliver the desired meaning.
Identity and Tone
Companies must understand the cultures they are heading into and identify exactly how both the language and culture will impact their online presence, and content specifically. Thus, planning is essential. As stated above, establishing the company identity is a primary concern. Similarly, recognizing how this identity is then played out through the pages of the site (the tone of the content) is paramount. This is important because the casual tone that the pages take, for example, may not be as appropriate or effective in the new market and changes may need to be made. Even if the tone stays the same, it will take a concerted effort to represent that same tone in a new language on the new website.
Doing Your Homework
In the end, companies need to do their due diligence in readying their online properties for their leap abroad. Companies need to know exactly what it is they want to convey and, with the assistance of an SEO company offering standard optimizing services as well as bilingual SEO services, translate content and take special attention to properly representing the keywords and appropriately replicating the content's tone.