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The Importance of SEO Localization in Website Localization Projects

Posted by Anne Q. on November 17, 2021.

Have spent a lot of money on translating your website and running marketing campaigns to reach out to new customers in your new foreign target market but still, struggle to generate new leads? The problem might be in your localization strategy.

If you think translating your website into new languages is enough to achieve a successful website localization project, you are mistaken. Without taking local keywords, backlinks, and social media into consideration, your failure in the new market is unavoidable. SEO Localization is a key part of your website localization strategy, thus, don’t underestimate it.

In today’s post, let’s discuss the concept of SEO localization and find out how it can contribute to your global success.

What is SEO Localization? How is It Different from Website Localization?

Simply speaking, SEO Localization is a part of Website Localization. To understand SEO localization, it is essential to see its position in the whole website localization process.

SEO Localization - Website Translation

Website localization is the process of translating an existing website into a new language and adapting it to fit the local culture of the target audience.

It’s not as simple as it sounds though. Website localization is much more than just translating the content of a website into a new language. It is a complex process that includes both linguistic and technical aspects.

    • From the linguistic side, besides guaranteeing the accuracy of the content when translated from the source language into the target language, linguists also pay attention to local culture factors such as colours, images or measurement formats.
    • From the technical side, website localization covers content extraction, code integration, functional testing, SEO, and more.

Now back to SEO Localization. SEO localization includes the linguistic aspect and a part of the technical side – SEO. To put it simpler, the step of translating and optimizing content for local search engines from the website localization process is called SEO localization.


Why is SEO Localization Beneficial?

Let’s take a quick example to see the great importance of SEO localization for your website.

Assuming you own a website providing orthodontics on a dental website from English into Vietnamese, a translator uses the formal term “chỉnh nha”. Although this term is not wrong, it is not widely used by Vietnamese audiences. According to SEMrush, “chỉnh nha” has a monthly search volume of 600. Meanwhile, “niềng răng” – a more casual term with the same meaning has 18,000 monthly searches.

Keywords in Blog Translation - Website Translation - Website Localization

This is because a term can be described by numerous alternative words in a new language. The literal translation of keywords might be correct but it might not bring you great results in terms of an online presence.

That’s why SEO localization is important for your website growth:

    • Nearly 93% of website traffic comes through search engines. The figure speaks for itself. SEO localization is powerful to increase your chance of being found and clicked on search engines, boosting your website organic traffic.
    • SEO Localization gives a better user experience and customer satisfaction. According to Google Market Finder, 72% of consumers spend most of their time on websites in their own language. By having a well-localized website in the target language, customers can digest your content easier and have a good impression of your brand.
    • SEO Localization helps you increase your conversion rate. If your website has well-translated content, optimized keywords, and meta tag information, there is a high chance that customers will spend more time on your site, equaling a higher rate of conversion.


What is Included in SEO Localization?

1. Content Localization

Content localization has two goals:

    • First, it helps your website content be accessible and easy to understand for the locals in your target market.
    • Second, the adaptations made during the localization process guarantee that the published content is culturally suitable for target audiences.

To reach these goals, professional translators usually go beyond word-by-word translation – they localize the content by both translating and converting linguistic factors (e.g. images, layout and design, units of measurement, local regulations, etc.). Additionally, they may leverage online tools for SEO, optimizing the translated content to improve its visibility and search engine rankings in the target market.

Content Localization

A common mistake many companies make at this stage is to only translate homepages and services pages and ignore the blog page. While it is understandable if you do because of a limited budget, you should still consider translating blog posts to drive more traffic to your site and show your company’s expertise in the industry.


2. SEO-Relating Factors

Simply translating your content is not enough. It only serves the purpose of helping your customers understand your company’s products & services better and avoid misunderstanding due to cultural differences while neglecting the aim of driving more organic traffic to your website. That’s why a further step needs to be taken – handling SEO-relating features.

SEO Localization
Below is a checklist of SEO elements that need localizing to guarantee a higher rank for your website in the SERPs:

    • Domain names
    • Subdomain
    • URL parameter
    • Keywords and Sub keywords
    • Alt tags
    • Snippets
    • Meta tags
    • Meta description
    • Sitemap

It is worth emphasizing again that you must not translate these SEO elements word by word. What you should do to achieve the best results is conduct keyword research and learn about the local search engines.

    • Keyword research should be conducted by a team of native SEO experts who understand the target market and target audience’s search behaviour. This step must be implemented before translators start localizing website content to make sure the keywords are included and optimized in the target language translations.
    • Internet users in the world use different search engines. For example, while about 70% of Internet users in the world use Google, Chinese people use Baidu and the Russian market prefers Yandex. What’s more, each search engine uses a unique search algorithm and ranking system. That means having a well-ranked website on Google does not necessarily mean your website will achieve a good ranking on Baidu or Bing. Therefore, when entering a new market, learning about its prominence search engines and how they work will help you gain better results in the SERPs. After localizing content, it is highly recommended that you conduct keyword and content testing to see if they fit the target market’s search engine.

Search Engines


Sum Up

To wrap up, it is obvious that SEO localization is a process that takes a great deal of time and money to perform. However, the benefits it brings are tremendous and undeniable. Therefore, don’t hesitate to invest the best resources including experienced linguists and SEO experts to support you in the path of achieving global success.

Need a great SEO Localization partner to help you succeed in a new market? Try GTE Localize’s comprehensive website localization services. We offer high-quality website translation and SEO localization services by 100% experienced native linguists and local SEO experts who have a deep understanding of the latest SEO practices in the markets.

SEO Localization Services

Tell us more about your SEO localization project and get a free 1:1 consultancy from our SEO experts.