Website localization is a key point to start selling abroad with the web. If your organization is willing to grow its exports, it is vital for your website to communicate in a linguistic and culturally accurate way. No matter what product or service you plan to sold, localization, the process of translating and adapting content for foreign markets is absolutely vital to gain advantage in an ever more competitive world. Not only do you have to meet your customer expectations, you also have to make sure that your website is searchable and that it appears in search results.
Localization means making the content as relevant as possible to potential customers in the target country. International SEO is about reaching customers via search engines in foreign countries. Therefore, there is a need for integrating SEO and Localization. The localization of your website may be great, but if the translated pages do not appear in the search engine results of the country you are targeting, then the effort of translating is not worth. The objective is then to make websites with content relevant to local customers via local search engines. For that purpose, the Openvalley agency will follow these steps:
1. A good knowledge and understanding of your target market is key
A market analysis of your target market will help you understand who is your target customer, what languages do they speak, how do they search for your product / services…A good knowledge of your potential customers will prove very helpful for adapting website content (text, design and images), to find out the right keywords to be used and to define an overeal e-marketing strategy in your target market.
2. Keyword research
For each customer segment in the country you are targeting, a list of keywords has to be found out. Without the right keywords in your content, your website just won’t be found, and keyword research is a key step in the process of website internationalization. Most keywords – for example, your product name – will naturally crop up in website copy. But with the others keywords, a more subtle approach is required and one common mistake is to add keywords where they don’t belong. Openvalley is able to undertake keyword research in your target market.
3. Define the url structure and domain name of your multilingual website
Major search engines usually serve different results for the same keywords in different countries and we will have to choose the right strategy so as to be listed locally. A popular SEO debate is whether if one should use multiple domains, sub-domains or folders when we deal with a multilanguage website. The primary objective is to use an URL structure that makes it easy to get the site indexed in different countries. it is important to realize that despite your best efforts, a wrong choice can affect your strategy.
4. Make sure your website code is adapted for localization
Translating your website will not be enough to be listed in foreign search engines, and to be found by your prospective customers. On site technical optimization deals with modifying your website structure and source code to have it multilingual, and is one of the key step in website localization. The objective is to make your site search engine optimized so as to make sure major search engines will go through and understand what your pages are about.
5. Localize content
Successful multilingual websites are well-written. They provide substantial content that backs up the theme of the site, as it relates to the respective keyword set. The content is generally engaging, and good enough that people would want to link and share it without being asked. To ensure that your website has the greatest possible impact on its target market, the copy is reviewed by a native professional: localization rather than translation is the key to successful International SEO copywriting.
In addition to language translation, during the localization process, we will have to be aware of the effect of cultural differences on language and web design. For instance, content translated into French may need to be localized for some areas of Africa, such as Morocco. Also, colors and images may vary significantly from one culture to another. The approach has to be different in Asian countries than the one of Western websites. Don’t forget that the way one audience perceives a particular image can differ greatly from another reacts. And then there’s the fact that what’s acceptable for one target market can take on an entirely different meaning for another
6. Attract quality local links
Getting local links is an essential ingredient in ranking your website well on the major search engines around the globe. It is a way letting Google and other in search engines that your website is targeting a particular country. Every quality backlink pointing to your website from another site lets the search engines know that your content is seen as valuable by someone else in this country. The more links you acquire from sites in a given country, the more likely your site will rank highly in that country’s search engine results, contributing to successful localization
7. Social media localization
A website has to be linked to social media, which is already a big driver of traffic and conversion. However, the approach to social media engagement will need to change, depending on the audience and the country that you are targeting. Your target customers may vary significantly from one country to another, and topical differences can be vital variables to consider.
In fact, quite often your company will have to adopt a different approach for each market targeted..
8. The devil is in the details
A successfully localized website appears to have been developed locally, even when it wasn’t. Localization errors can be awkward for website users and potentially embarrassing for the website owner, and you shall make sure to get it right. Generally speaking, website localization means giving some extra attention to things like:
• Dates and time: Month, day, year vs. day, month, year. 12-hour vs. 24-hour time.
• Color: Avoid local color sensitivities.
• Currency: Pay attention to conversions and formats.
• Local phone numbers: make it easy for you customer to reach you
• Local addresses: an address in the country you are targeting will definitely help for positioning, and will create confidence
• Geographic examples: make sure they are relevant for your local audience.
• Website language codes: ISO codes should be taken into account
9.Localization is an ongoing process
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work with website localization. Companies going global must adapt and adjust to succeed. Continuous modifications of the website will have to be carried out to maximize your localization efforts.