Approximately 85% of users say having information in their own language is essential when making a purchasing decision.
Having high brand awareness is very important but localisation is a crucial aspect of any international campaign in order to connect with the target audience. Without correct localisation, international campaigns have the potential to fall flat. A great example of this is the campaign that Coca Cola launched on their vending machines in New Zealand last year. The company’s attempt to combine English and Māori backfired when they put “Hello, Death” across all their vending machines across the country.
Localisation goes beyond messaging – even something as obvious as currency can be a converting factor for users. PayPal’s cross-border consumer report states that 76% of shoppers want the option to pay in local currency when making purchases online. Good localisation builds a level of trust with the consumer and ultimately creates a better user experience.
Unless you’re a global multinational brand, it is essential that you localise your SEM strategy in order for users to even be able to find your site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Through location-specific keyword research, you will ensure your website ranks well in other markets by optimising comprehensive copy and mirroring countries local habits and cultures. As a result, your website will likely rank better and your brand awareness will be boosted.
This article will address the basics of localisation and provide you with the fundamentals for creating a successful SEO enhanced international campaign.
What is localisation?
Localisation is the process of adapting content to a specific locale or market, the aim of which is to help businesses tap into new markets and reach out to people across the world no matter their language, culture or location.
A word-for-word translation of existing content is not localisation, but modifying content to suit the tastes and habits of other markets by adapting design and layout to display translated text, amending graphics/visuals, converting the local currencies and units of measure, using correct local formats for addresses, dates and phone numbers and any other details that can help meet customers’ expectations.
Localising by using keywords relative to that market is imperative to be able to rank in the country you’re trying to perform well in.
How can localisation benefit my website?
A localised website will help you connect with a higher number of potential customers, increase your brand awareness in new markets, which in turn could lead to higher revenues. By creating a good user experience that resonates with local users, you can boost brand loyalty and ultimately, global brand recognition.
Localisation methods to accelerate your SEO strategy
Whilst the list of ways you can effectively localise your site is almost endless, there are a few key methods which are bound to boost your SEO performance.
1. Target location-specific keywords
Keyword research is a crucial aspect of any SEO strategy, and as keywords, phrases and product names vary from country to country, it is important to adapt in order to not miss opportunities to reach your target audience. If you simply translate your content word for word, you’ll risk missing out on significant search opportunities. For example, “une bouche d’incendie” means “fire hydrant” in French. If you were to translate this word-for-word however, “bouche” means “mouth” in English, and therefore you would end up mistranslating this to “a mouth fire”, which clearly doesn’t make any sense.
As your business expands into new countries you must adapt your target phrases and terms to ensure you’re optimising towards the most commonly used terms that your customers adopt in everyday life, thus boosting your organic performance.
- Ensure you optimise any translated content through good use of local keywords.
- Use these keywords in your page title, meta descriptions and H1’s.
- Most importantly: Don’t rely on computer translations (such as Google Translate). Whilst they are more sophisticated than ever before, they can’t provide the market insights and colloquialisms like a human can.
2. Mark translated pages with Hreflang tags
By marking your page with the hreflang attribute you are essentially telling Google which language is being used on a specific page. This ensures search engines will know which result to serve to users searching in that language, therefore creating a better user experience.
Essentially, the hreflang tag acts as a way to prevent multiple versions of similar pages (i.e. the same page in different languages or markets) being served in a SERP which could lead to the searcher landing on the incorrect version. However, canonicalisation remains the best way to reduce legitimate duplicate content issues.
Be careful when implementing hreflang, as if done incorrectly it can have a negative influence on online visibility and traffic. But if it’s not implemented at all, your users are likely to have negative user experience, resulting in a higher bounce rate and poor conversions.
3. Build local backlinks
Building local backlinks is an excellent way to boost the organic performance of local pages. By earning good, natural links to your website from native publications, you will increase the authority of your site and build credibility with Google and your audience.
Aim to gain links off a website with good domain authority and relevant anchor text. One of the best ways to build links is to create fresh, high-quality content that is bound to connect with the target audience in your chosen market.
If you are a brick-and-mortar business, build a visible presence for your stores by signing up to Google My Business (GMB) and creating listings on Google Maps. By using NAP (name, address and phone number) on your GMB account allows, your business will start to build trust with Google. The details need to be correct and reflective of the details on the website because your performance may be harmed if this doesn’t correlate. By ensuring your website and GMB listing align, you will ultimately improve your search rankings and increase the local organic traffic to your site.
To conclude, localisation is an important aspect of accelerating conversion rates across different markets. It is arguably vital for your business to flourish, mainly because it creates a better user experience and builds a connection between the target audience and the brand by using words, terms and behaviours that align with the specific market.
You can reassure your users of your credibility and quality by providing them with a good user experience that reflects their day-to-day. This will undoubtedly promote repeat visits to your site, driving traffic and conversions and building your global brand recognition.
To find out more about our SEO services or about Croud, get in touch.