The Expert Marketers Guide to Multi-market Expansion – Part II: Multilingual Keywords
Did you miss part 1 of this blog series? Check it out here.
How to conduct multilingual keyword research
The first marketing step necessary to create a global web presence in new and unfamiliar languages, that does require knowledge of your target market language, is keyword research. Simply translating the most profitable keywords from your native language to your target language can see you leave important keywords on the table.
The biggest weakness of translating keywords directly from one language to another is that it fails to take into account the way that keywords work together in clusters. Multilingual content writing for SEO purposes involves using semantically relevant keywords together on a single page of copy. While it may be possible to directly translate keywords on a one-by-one basis, incorporating semantically related keywords adds far more variables where nuances between languages can cause translation errors.
Keyword research in new languages should therefore involve two steps. The first step involves choosing top-level keywords and topics to write about. This can be done with keyword and competition analysis alone.
High-performing keywords in your native language can be translated into your target language, and you can work out any necessary tweaks to keywords by looking at search volume and CPC data.
When working out when and where to use semantically related keywords, however, you will likely need the help of an international SEO expert regarding which -keywords best fit with the various topics that you intend to write about. Missing the nuances between ostensibly similar long-tail keywords can both lower the precision of your keyword strategy and reduce the readability of your content.
One way that you can make up for a lack of holistic knowledge about your target language is by putting extra emphasis on using insights from your analytics and search console data once your website has started gaining traffic. Search console data shows you exactly what your visitors are searching to find your site.
The language that people use to search online does not always directly match the formal written language. You can only truly understand the types of phrasing that your audience uses in search when that data is collected.
Multilingual content writing: A target market must-have
For most of us, the most intimidating part of starting a website in new global languages is the idea of having multilingual content created that we cannot read. If we cannot read articles at the point of publishing, then how can we take responsibility for quality control?
The first important point to make about creating content is that simply translating content from one language to another will not suffice in creating a quality article. Any digital market that is worth getting into will have a good number of articles for almost every target market keyword, written by native writers. While the saturation of content, and therefore the standard of content required to rank, may vary between market and language, the clumsiness of directly translated articles will put you at a disadvantage in almost every market.
If the detail-richness between SERP competitors is similar, then readability becomes the deciding factor between good and great content, making multilingual content writing a vital part of the content creation puzzle. You also may wish to consider utilizing an editor who is native in your target market’s language to add an extra layer of quality control.
How to carry out multimarket link building
As there is less competition in a lot of non-English speaking SERPs, you will usually have to do less link building for your website to succeed. If you are going down the route of getting links through outreach, you should bear in mind that the number of available targets in new international markets will be in line with the overall volume of content published in that language.
For less commonly used languages, you may only have a small number of targets, meaning that scaling link-building using a “shotgun” style approach may not work. Smaller segments of targets and additional personalization may be needed to succeed with outreach.
Outreach in any language works best when messages are written in a conversational manner. Ideally, you want to be matching the tone of the target site with your messages. This can be challenging if you are not working in your native language, and having someone who is comfortable using slang and conversational language with targets should form part of your link-building team.
The biggest risk that a smaller media business owner takes when they move into new global markets is that they lose the ability to be a final layer of quality control over a lot of what they do. This is why it is not recommended for inexperienced marketers or people who want to do things on as small a budget as possible.
However, with the right infrastructure and localization team, you can benefit from operating in less competitive markets, enjoy a faster return on investment, and most importantly, tap into new revenue sources, than when competing in English-speaking markets only.