While English is predominately the world’s main commercial language, there’s a lot to gain from communicating to customers in their native language, as research has found that 72% of users spend most of their time on websites in their native language (Harvard Business Review). So if you haven’t thought about making your website content available in a language other than English, then maybe it’s time to reconsider.
This blog is based on how to drive traffic to your multi-lingual content. But before getting into our tips and hints, we firstly want to cover the most important question relating to your website today: is your website mobile optimised? The hot digital topic of 2015 so far has been Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ algorithm update which means that if your website isn’t mobile friendly it will be pushed down the search listing in favour of your competitors! As in Google’s eyes it’s no good when a user finds what they are looking for and then when they open the page on their mobile have a terrible user experience. How often have you had to pinch and zoom to load content on your phone?
The remaining 3 tips all need to be implemented in conjunction with mobile to ensure your content can be found anywhere in the world.
Alternative search engines
According to the latest Buyer-sphere research, 38% of b2b buyers start the buying process with a search query. Now of course there is always going to be place for the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing), however there are a range of alternative search engines to consider which, depending on your priority regions, will determine your choice of search provider.
Below is a list of search engines which actually have the majority of the search market in each country – in essence the native ‘Google’s:
Yandex – Russia
Baidu – China
Alibaba – China/India
Naver – South Korea
Seznam – Czech Republic
Though the list doesn’t stop here, as depending on your market and target audience, other portals could be more relevant.
Look into your Webmaster statistics to see which search engines are currently referring you traffic and also which countries most of your searches are coming from. This can help you better localise your content and guide selection of search engines.
Localised keyword research
You can’t have search without keywords and this is often where international SEO efforts can fall short. Simply translating directly from English terms isn’t the best approach. It can of course offer a starting point but it’s crucial to take into consideration cultural nuances in search, such as spelling variations, terminology and local preferences.
Speak to your native language colleagues or customers and find out how they refer to your product/service. As how you refer to it in English won’t necessarily correlate. Ideally if you can get a ‘Mother tongue’ researcher to carry out the keyword research you’ll get invaluable insights into that market.
Link building internationally
Getting quality links to your site will also build the credibility of your brand within the target language. This is where international PR can be hugely helpful. As your message can penetrate the right audiences and also the links back to your website signal the relevance of your business in that marketplace.
Social is also a huge opportunity to consider. For example take Xing in Germany, which has a larger user base than LinkedIn. Simply relying on the standard, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook might not be suitable for certain regions. Weibo is China’s largest social network and you can even send me over the platform too! Super shareable content is the easiest way to increase your reach.
Carry out online media research for each country you want to target. Look at local language publications and media outlets, including blogs, that carry weight in that region and then tailor your approach accordingly.
This blog was originally posted on BDB.co.uk where I was a Digital Project Manager working with international b2b clients.