Finding the right keywords for your products and services in each of your target markets is the foundation of SEO. These are the terms your customers a searching for, and if your content doesn’t match their search criteria, your content isn’t going to show up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Keyword localisation is the essential process to fix this problem.</>
If you’ve gone through a proper keyword search process, you already know what’s involved. A common mistake that people make is thinking they can simply get these existing keywords “translated”. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but the principles are very straightforward.
Define your target markets
Remember that you’re not targeting a language but a market. Whilst this might come to the same thing, it’s not necessarily so. For instance your German speaking audiences in Germany and Switzerland may use different search terms for the same product. For instance, “bicycle” is Fahrrad in Germany and Velo in Switzerland. You may also find differences between demographic or socio-economic groups.
Keyword Localisation Research
The research phase is the heart of the keyword localisation process and needs to be carried out by a local who has a reasonable understanding of your products and is able to “tune in” to what your customers might be searching for. This is a creative process and it’s important that the research process identifies as many candidate terms as possible. By all means used your existing English keywords as a starting point, but make sure this doesn’t stop you getting into the “headspace” of your target customers in the target market. Remember that longtail keywords play a vital role in your SEO strategy for each market, so encourage your researcher to think as widely as possible about the terms your customer might be searching for.
Distinguish between Seed and Longtail Keywords
Seed keywords are the foundation of your SEO strategy for each target market, but they also lead you to identify a much larger number of longtail keywords. For example:
- Seed Keywords: Bicycle/Bike
- Longtail Keywords: Mountain bike, Road bike, Electric bike, Track bike, Folding bike etc
Where you have multiple candidate keywords, work out which ones you want to lead with. Usually this will be the keywords with the highest monthly search volume, but remember that high search volumes may also indicate a high level of competition. In some cases, it may make sense to lead with a less competitive keyword where you have a better chance of achieving a high ranking.
Deploy your localised keywords
Having identified the seed and longtail keywords that are going to work best for you in each market, make sure that you’re using them! The priorities are:
- H1 Headings
- H2 and other Headings (use synonyms and longtail keywords)
- Page content
- Make sure your keywords feature appropriately throughout your translated content
- Don’t forget to use your longtail keywords
- Images – make sure you’re using keywords in the translated “Alt text” for images on each page
- URL – your URL should contain your seed keyword
- Meta description
- SEO Title
Your localised keywords should be included in your Termbase, and your translators need to understand how to incorporate the keywords into their translation.