How to translate page titles and meta descriptions

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Tim Branton

Tim Branton

PureFluent CEO

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September 13, 2020

So you’re doing a great job with your page titles and meta descriptions in English. But how do you translate them? If you have gone to the trouble and expense of translating the page, you want to show up on google, right? Translating page titles and meta descriptions can be a bit tricky, but here are a few tips to help you get it right.

1. Hit your keywords

Just like your English page title and meta description, the translated versions need to hit that all-important keyword. I won’t go into the keyword research process here, but ideally you should have completed this before you translate page titles and meta descriptions. It’s really important your translator understands the role of your keywords, and ideally she will translate the page content and H1/H2 titles alongside your metadata. Translating everything together is the best way to maintain that laser-like focus on your keyword.

2. Translation expansion rate could mean Google truncates your results

You probably know to stick within 600 pixels for your page title and 150 characters for your meta description. If you run right up against those limits in English, you will likely exceed them when you translate into languages like German and French. So make sure your translator understands these limits and give her plenty of creative freedom. Alternatively make the original English quite a bit shorter.

By the way, if you’re not sure whether your page titles are less than 600 pixels, tools like Yoast will do this for you. You can also use our free pixel width checker.

3. Organise and automate

If you need to translate page titles and meta descriptions for a small site, and you only translate into one or two languages, then skip this section. But if you translate regularly, and/or you translate into four or more languages, you need to get organised. A load of cut and paste is the least of your worries! Keeping track of which page titles and meta descriptions you have translated can get messy. At a minimum, you need a spreadsheet to help you, but the best approach is to integrate with your translation partner. For instance, the PureFluent SEO Plugin can pick up your page title, meta description, and other SEO components for translations alongside the page content.

I hope that’s helpful! Remember, we’re here to help with your multilingual SEO journey so get in touch if you need any help.

About the authors

Tim Branton Tim Branton

Tim Branton is PureFluent's CEO and a passionate advocate for the role of technology in the language industry. He has 30 years of business experience across the chemicals, telecoms, business services and software sectors in the UK, Singapore, Japan, China and South Africa.


See all posts by Tim Branton

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