Choices in How to SEO a Multilingual Site

While growing businesses by expanding to additional countries or languages is a great way to increase your income, it is more complicated than you may realize – especially when it comes to SEO.

This site for a southern California criminal defense attorney has content written in English using Google Translate to create pages translated into Spanish. Notice the choice in the top right corner for English – Espanol. Click on the buttons and you’ll see that the pages change between English and Spanish.

In this example, a separate site is not needed because both languages are targeted at ranking in the U.S. If this attorney had a second location in Spain, then ideally he would have a separate domain registered with a country code TLD and hosted in Spain. With locations in two countries, the easiest way to rank is on separate domains.

How much effort is the company willing to invest in ranking in separate countries? Will you register a country specific domain for each language or use languages in directories?

More expense and work is involved with separate domains:
  • Building additional sites
  • Paying to host multiple sites
  • Renewing multiple domains
Even international sites as large as Wikipedia do not necessarily use separate domains. If you look at Wikipedia.org you will see that when you click on a country you are taken to a subdomain that uses the country code as the name of the subdomain. For example:
  • es.wikipedia.org for Spanish
  • de.wikipedia.org for German
  • it.wikipedia.org for Italian
These subdomains use the same letters as country-code domains for Spain (es), Germany (de) and Italy (it), but they use en for English rather than us for U.S. or uk for the U.K.

Read How to do Multilingual SEO for WordPress Sites to get a better idea of your choices. The WordPress multilingual plugin available on that site makes translating and doing SEO for multiple languages much simpler.

How Search Engines Recognize Languages

While search engines can detect languages, it is best to use the <html lang=”xx”> tag to indicate the language a page is in. For more details, read Multilingual Sites and Search Engines: Part 1.

According to that post, “global corporations as a rule have separate sites (and most often separate domains) for the countries they operate in.” While that is the most effective method, it does require more work to create and maintain.

SEOChat Supermod GabrielG suggests you can even “get sophisticated and detect a user’s language, geolocation, or other characteristics and serve the appropriate language site, in case Gooogle doesn’t do that automatically.”

Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites

If the languages involved are totally different (English and German, for example), there is no duplicate content issue. Having the same content on pages written in languages that are closely related – such as UK English versus US English – would definitely create a duplicate content issue.

Use Plagiarism Check to verify that all your site content is unique and original:

Plagiarism check

See the Brick Marketing post Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites for more details about duplicate content. Nick Stamoulis wrote:

“If your site takes a massive hit in visitors and rankings for at least three months (enough time to call it a trend), your site might have been flagged for duplicate content.”

Why Machine Translation is NOT Good Enough

While using Google translation or some other machine translator is the least expensive way to go, these translations are very inaccurate and sometimes impossible to even understand. While there are translation plugins, do not use them unless you just cannot afford a human translator.

Do not sully your brand’s reputation by skimping on content in additional languages. Using human translators is a must. If you do not have someone within your company capable of accurately writing in the language, contract with a company that specializes in language translations for business.

Keep in mind that being able to speak a language does not guarantee a person can write well in it anymore than assuming that everyone who speaks English can become a paid writer or editor.

If you use machine translation, you will end up with major brand reputation issues. See this infographic from Understanding and Avoiding Communication Blunders.

Poor translation communication blunders

Hopefully you now understand why machine translation can never take the place of using the best human translators who are excellent at both translation and content development.

The goal is to SEO a multilingual site so that it will rank in each location. For that, separate sites are best, but even with one site your goal should still be to rank each page if at all possible.

Content Marketing is Changing SEO: 3 Tips to Boost Your Traffic

Content marketing is the future of marketing and there is no doubt about it. By leveraging content you can sell (your products and services) without actually selling.Write a killer blog post or tweet and you can create a huge amount of awareness among your targeted audience. Content marketing has become an integral part of all marketing strategies and is set to become a $313 billion industry by 2019, according to PQ Media’s ‘Global Content Marketing – Forecast 2015-19.’One question that many marketers still ask is whether content marketing and SEO are inter-related or two different branches of marketing? The answer is that they go hand-in-hand and are the two sides of the same coin. In fact, SEO creates demand and content marketing fulfils it. For instance, when a person asks, ‘how to fix my electric oven?’ it means the user demands content that will help him solve his problem. Content marketers targeting people facing problems with electric ovens can create high-quality content and try solving their problems.For success with SEO, you need loads of high-quality links, which are impossible to gain without high-quality content. It is, therefore, clear that SEO and content marketing can’t exist without each other.How can you use content marketing to boost organic traffic for your website? Here are three tips to help you:

1. Research and Target Relevant Keywords

In order to get a constant flow of traffic, you first need to identify your specific niche and target audience. For instance, if you offer project management software, then your target audience will be online marketers who need to use project management software to stay in control of their projects. Further, you need to determine whether you want to target budding online marketers or seasoned marketers or both.Once you have identified your audience, you can determine the keywords they may use to find useful information. Here is how you can do this:
  • Use a keyword research tool to get keyword ideas.
  • Choose the most relevant keywords and segment them according to your targeted audience.
  • Research about the keywords to determine whether or not its popularity will grow with time.
A comprehensive SEO experts tool suite such as SEMrush is ideal for this purpose. It gives you a set of related keywords and trends.Picture4-2Once you have a list of the most relevant keywords, you can use them and start creating content. Make sure the content is high-quality and helps your target audience solve specific problems. In simple words, the content you create must offer value to your readers. If you readers find your content useful, they will return and also recommend your content to others in their network.

2. Leverage Visual Content to Maximize Traffic

When it comes to boosting traffic, you need to leverage the traffic that is most engaged. Research proves that video is the most engaging type of content, and marketers are using it to capture users’ attention.According to a research by HubSpot, video appears to be the most favored form of content by customers and prospects.Moreover, according to KPCB, video will account for 74 percent of all the online traffic in 2017. Again, brands that use video for marketing see their revenue growing 49 percent faster compared to those who do not use videos. So, there is every reason why content marketers should leverage this form of content.Videos also help with SEO. Including video sends signals to search engines that the page contains rich media relevant to the search requests. The transcript part of the video that uses keywords improves the findability of the content. By hosting videos on YouTube, the second largest search engine in terms of the number of search queries, you can easily boost the traffic on your website. You can also share the videos on social media to increase the website traffic.Take the example of Dunkin Donuts that relies on video campaigns to sell its products. The brand took advantage of Valentine’s Day and rolled out a live streaming video. The video showed how the brand creates its new products. As a bonus, the video also featured the creation of a gigantic, donut-themed wedding cake. The video attracted more than 36,000 viewers.To increase traffic for your brand and attract attention, you can create how-to videos, DIY videos, product-explainer videos, and animated videos.

3. Become a Trusted Source of Information

Becoming a trusted source of high-quality and useful information is one of the best ways to increase traffic. Pages that offer useful and relevant content and have high demand among readers are ranked higher on the SERPs (search engine result pages). Sites that have lots of high-quality content focused on a particular subject tend to rank higher.(Tip: If you have a broad audience and cover multiple topics, make sure the content is organized based on topics or themes to avoid content silos.)One of the easiest ways to establish authority in a specific niche is by starting a blog. Blogging helps you create a base for your content marketing efforts. However, blogging requires a lot of investment in terms of time and effort. But when done properly, you can reap long-term benefits. Here are a few tips on increasing traffic by blogging:
  • Use a blog design that appeals to your target audience. Starting a WordPress blog is often a great idea as WordPress offers a number of inbuilt themes that can be used to create a professional blog. You can also integrate other themes, if needed.
  • Create a catchy title for your posts to attract attention quickly. Keep the titles short, use numbers within the title or use words that invoke emotions. Make sure the post offers exactly what the title says.
  • Choose evergreen topics to keep the posts relevant for a long time.
  • Include visuals to improve the level of engagement and offer a better experience.
  • Repurpose posts to increase viewership. Turn posts into short videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. and share on various channels.
Another way of increasing traffic is through influencer marketing. Identify the top influencers in your niche and request them to contribute on your blog. This way, you will not only get high-quality content for your blog, you will also attract high-quality backlinks and get the attention of all the users from the influencer’s network. The trust factor also increases manifold, so you can establish yourself and your brand as a trusted source of information.Take the example of Stonyfield Farms that specializes in organic dairy products. The company blog features a barnyard theme that is absolutely relevant to their brand and the target audience (which includes farming, families and organic living).2017-06-21_17-10-43 The blog features articles on healthy living and pictures of healthy families. They also feature videos, which are not professionally edited, but are helpful. In fact, this is their USP and it humanizes the videos. They also use soft sales messages to encourage their readers to buy their products.ConclusionAs content marketing keeps maturing, so does SEO. There is no way you can win at content marketing without focusing on SEO and vice versa. Both go hand-in-hand, so you need to be good at content marketing as well as SEO to take your business to the next level. Do keep the above tips in mind when creating a strategy to increase organic traffic to your website. By leveraging the above tips, you can improve awareness, build trust and increase the traffic, and you will be a winner in every way!

Why Facebook Marketing Matters

Focusing on a single traffic source is never wise. The good news, there are more ways to build leads, aprt from Google!

Have you been reluctant to learn how to market your business on Facebook? Whether you’re an SEO who thinks search engine optimization and AdWords will carry the day, or a website owner who figures social media is not for professional matters, you’re missing out on the way of the future.

Let me start by addressing the SEOs in this group. It is true that search can capture customers as they’re getting ready to buy. But if you really want to capture them at the right moment, according to Carter, your keyword choices for AdWords can be pretty limited. There may be 45 million searches for "shoes" every month on Google, but only 450,000 searches for "buy shoes." Your safest bet to capture customers, "buy shoes online," sees only about 90,000 searches every month.

That still looks pretty good… until you consider how many competitors are bidding to show their ads in Google for precisely that phrase. And don’t think your customers won’t comparison-shop with your rivals online!

But there’s even uglier news. On general, only about five to ten percent of the keywords actually turn a profit. Once you’ve discovered what those profitable keywords are and gotten the most out of them, does it make sense to throw more money at AdWords? And if it doesn’t, what do you do when you’re ready to expand?

Here’s another situation: say you’ve created a new product. Its functionality combines that of two older products. Which keywords do you use? Your instinctive answer may be "keywords for both of the older products," but it’s not that simple. Google dishes out quality scores on AdWords ads; these scores affect how much (or how little) you can bid to get your ad in certain positions. Ad position plays a major factor in its click-through rate.

Given all that, what kind of quality score do you think you would get if your ad is for a new device that both melts and blends widgets, when most people search for either a "widget melter" or a "widget blender"? You can bid for "widget blender" and "widget melter," but your ad’s quality score in AdWords might not be very high – because your product and ad are not perfectly relevant to either of those phrases. If you need to bid more for your AdWords campaign, you’ll need to sell more of your product to turn a profit. You might find, as one of Carter’s students did, that you can’t launch an affordable AdWords campaign for your new product.

Facebook, On the Contrary…

With Facebook, you are reaching people who further up the sales funnel. They’re not ready to buy right now. But they will buy eventually – and you’re paying a lot less for them, based on cost per click, than you’d be paying through AdWords. The fact that Facebook ad CPC is from two to ten times cheaper than AdWords means that you can afford to get those general customers.

How can you be so sure that they’ll buy eventually? With Facebook, you’re actually building a relationship with them based on who they are. You’re not trying to target keywords; you’re targeting what users like. Once a user clicks to "like" you (or your Facebook fan page, more precisely), you can post daily updates that they’ll actually be glad to see if you do it right. Try sending an email to your subscribers every day; you’re going to see a LOT of people opting out of your mass mailing!

The point is, you can use Facebook to do things that you can’t do via AdWords or other forms of marketing. Say, for example, that I’m using Google to look for new crochet techniques, and you’re a business that sells yarn and other crafting supplies (knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc.). You can’t sell me anything at that point, because I’m looking for information. Heck, even if I’m specifically looking for a particular type of yarn, I might just be curious about its properties, and trying to find a local source (rather than looking to purchase it online).

Facebook Targeting…

On Facebook, though, you can target my interests. You can find out that my friends and I are avid knitters and crocheters. You can set up an ad to appear on the right side of my page that I can "like" to become a fan. And if I actually *do* like it, this fact will appear on my wall and my friends’ walls – letting them know I thought your page was worth a look. It’s not quite as good as word of mouth advertising, but it’s close.

Once I’ve "liked" you, you can do things to encourage me to interact with your page and your site. For example, you can tell me when you’ve posted a new blog entry, or tease me with the free patterns I can get if I join your pattern club, or offer coupons good for a discount and free shipping on yarn I’ve purchased from you online, or…well, you get the idea. You can do this sort of thing practically every day, and it won’t bother me, because I’m the one who took the initial action to "like" you.

A Facebook Wall isn’t like email; it’s where people update each other briefly with what’s been going on in their lives. So if you’re brief in your updates  (think Twitter-style short), your fans will interact…and want more. Keep them interested, and they’ll convert. It isn’t just the conversion that you’re after, though. Figure that will come naturally in time. What you’re really trying to do is build a relationship with someone who will become a lifetime customer.

Sam Ovens is a great example here. His ads always result in a ton of engagement:

Engagement

Neil Patel is another great example:

neil patel

When you look at it that way, two things become very clear. First, Facebook isn’t going to go away. Second, you can’t afford not to learn how to market yourself and your business on Facebook. If you’re an SEO, your clients will thank you; and if you’re a small business, you’ll be pleased with the results.