6 simple SEO tips for better search rankings

When you invest in website translation you expect a significant return. In the following chapter, we provide everything you need to know to create a successful international SEO strategy. More conversions are at your fingertips.

The basics of international SEO

International SEO has many of the same concerns as regular SEO, but there are some additional considerations to keep in mind.

  • Purchase country code top-level domains (TLD) such as mywebsite.de, mywebsite.fr, mywebsite.se. This indicates clearly that the domains are optimized for certain countries, and will result in better ranking in the respective countries. Users understand these suffixes.
  • Google Webmaster Tools allows you to indicate if your website is targeting a particular country. This way, Google is better able to prioritize ranking your site for that country.
  • Use the hreflang attribute to ensure that Google knows that yourwebsite.co.uk is optimized for the UK, and yourwebsite.ca is optimized for Canada, rather than simply being flagged for duplicate content.
    <html lang=”en-gb”>
    <head>
    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-ca" href="http://www.yourwebsite.ca/">
    </head>
    </html>
  • The most influential ranking factors to keep in mind:
    1. Domain-level link features: the quantity and quality of links to your website.
    2. Page-level link features: the quantity and quality of links to a particular page of your website.
    3. Page-level keyword & content-based features: how well-optimized and high-quality your content is (keywords, images, URL, content body, headlines, etc.)
    4. Page-level keyword agnostic features: how well-optimized elements of your website other than keywords are (content length, HTTPS, uniqueness and ease of reading content, speed of loading website)

Google.de vs. Google.se

In order to rank highly on the international versions of Google, each version of your website must be optimized for that particular version of Google. For example, yourwebsite.de will rank on Google.de, but not on Google.se.

Analyze your current SEO performance

Google Webmaster Tools helps you gain valuable insight into how Google sees your website from a technical standpoint. This knowledge will help you to understand areas to work on to improve your ranking.

The main areas of Google Webmaster Tools are:

Search queries

View the keywords that lead users to your website.

Links

See where backlinks are coming from, block links from bad websites.

Crawl errors

Areas on your website that Google was unable to crawl. Fix these problems so that Google can better understand your website.

Keywords

View the keywords Google has identified on your site - evaluate whether they match what people are searching for.

Sitemaps

View the sitemaps Google has found and submit another if you are unhappy with it.

Google Analytics is also a useful tool for understanding SEO, as it provides comprehensive information about visits, conversions, and trends from various languages and countries under the “Audience” and “Acquisition” reports.

Key elements in Google Analytics for SEO

Queries: This report shows which keywords you rank for, number of impressions, clicks, and click-through rate. Improving your click-through rate is the easiest way to increase traffic.

Landing Pages: The landing pages report shows you which landing pages are ranking highly, impressions, clicks, and click-through rate.

Geographical Summary: This is where you can see which countries your visitors are coming from - particularly useful when you have multilingual website versions or are deciding which languages to target.

Keyword research

Translating keywords directly is never an option - you must localize. A typical English keyword may be nonsensical or nonexistent in another language, so direct translation results in keywords that do not reflect the needs and trends of your target market.

Start by consulting Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to get a sense of which keywords are bringing people to your website and where they are coming from. The results, plus your own keyword ideas can be plugged into Google Keyword Planner to generate some localized keyword options.

Once you have whittled down these options, present the list to your translation agency. This way, translators know exactly which terms you would like them to use as they translate your website. Agencies such as Translate Company that offer in-context translation are better equipped to handle websites that are keen to prioritize SEO, because translators are able to fully understand where the content is ending up and what its purpose is, page by page.

Translate your ads

Localize your ad text, don’t just translate it. Similar to keywords, your ads need to reflect the desires and needs of the target audience, which may be different from your current market’s needs. Translating ads using machine translation or crowdsourced translators will result in low-quality ads, generating higher cost-per-click and less chance your ads will reach the intended audience.

How search engines define valuable content

Most people can distinguish useful, engaging content from automatically generated low-value or machine translated jibberish. Google wants to keep users coming back to their website by making it easy to access valuable information. Ultimately, the only way to go about increasing your ranking is by providing what your customers are looking for.

Google is by far the authority when it comes to search engines - almost everyone in the Western world uses it, and refers to their guidelines when planning their SEO strategy. However, other parts of the world do use other search engines: Baidu dominates in China, Yandex is popular in Russia, and (somehow) Yahoo in Japan.

All of these search engines have similarities to Google’s ranking factors, so by optimizing your content for Google you will also optimize for these other search engines. Also, no matter which part of the world you are targeting, be sure to market your website, make connections, and get backlinks in the relevant region/language.

TL;DR

  • To reap the benefits of website translation, an international SEO strategy is essential.
  • Use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to track your current SEO performance and see where your strategy needs work.
  • Localizing keywords and ads is essential - don’t just translate them word-for-word.
  • In order to rank highly in search engines, provide valuable content, get backlinks from other websites in the relevant region, and follow Google’s ranking guidelines.
Chapter 4: World-class content