46% of all Google searches are local searches. That makes sense since many of us use Google to look for local services, from dry cleaners to takeaway food outlets.
But what does that mean for SEO? If you want to serve a specific location, you need to use local SEO. And if you serve multiple locations with different languages, you’ll need to combine translation services with local SEO. We all live in places with multiple popular languages and diverse populations like Spanish or Chinese in addition to English. A translated website can help with additional cultural outreach in your community.
Below we’ll explore the concept of local SEO more in-depth, including how it can benefit your business and how it ties into translation.
What Is Local SEO?
According to SEO company Moz, local SEO is simply increasing searching engine results for companies that work face-to-face in the community. That can include places that provide physical goods, like a grocery store or a chemist, as well as companies providing services, such as photo printing.
It includes places that provide services for a single area. An electrician or house cleaning company is this type of local service. It also includes national and international businesses with local outlets, such as restaurants and takeaways.
Local SEO is much more than making sure you have the right keywords. It can be making sure a company has a business listing or that a franchise location appears on Google when people search for local businesses. It can be managing reviews. It even extends to social media posts.
Basically, local SEO is anything that helps a business that provides a local service appear more readily visible online.
Where Local SEO and Translation Meet
So, what does local SEO have to do with translation? And what is a translation service? Translation comes into play in a couple of instances.
If a company sells a service or product locally, but the area has high linguistic diversity, it might consider translating its website and social media marketing posts.
A larger company may also offer local services in a wide variety of areas. This is the case with a wide array of franchise businesses. Those areas may speak different languages.
In both of these cases, it can help to have your digital presence offered in another language to reach a certain demographic. It’s interesting to note that only 7% of our nearly 7,000 languages are reflected online.
The top four languages on the web as of March 2020 are English, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. If you want to reach people locally in their own cultures, you need to translate into their language. It shows customers that you are willing to accommodate them, make them feel comfortable, and respect them as people. It also makes it much easier for them to spend money on your goods or services.
Principles of Good Local SEO
The principles of good SEO are very complicated, and local SEO even more so. The rules often change as Google updates its algorithms in sneaky, undefined ways. This leaves owners of websites attempting to reverse engineer or simply guess at what causes a site to rank.
Moz states, “Google is the biggest house on the local block; you can’t ignore it. Yet, the entries into the platform are poorly lit, the open-source concept is cluttered with spam and growing litigation makes one wonder if there are bats in the belfry.”
As of 2020, to work with Google, you still have one main approach, according to Moz. You can “feed Google” by putting as much information about your local business as you can out there. You can put up website content, information on other websites about your business, listings, images, video, and social media content.
This is a very traditional approach to local SEO and can still work well. It takes a multi-step marketing approach. That gets far more complicated if you choose to translate your digital content into another language.
Overnight, you have to become an expert in how your content, all your content, looks to another culture. That includes the actual translation of the language itself, how it displays in another language, and how your message transfers into another culture.
That’s where it makes sense to hire a translation service to help with your business if you want to reach people in a different language.
How Translation Services Can Help with Local SEO
One of the top ways to try to rank in search engines and grab more customers is to target local keywords. Google has shut down against keyword stuffing, as in using too many keywords to the point of sacrificing content. But it’s still important to include keywords so that search engines can pick up your site.
Local keywords get quite specific. They need to resonate with the local market so that you appear in local searches. Examples of local keywords could include: “plumber [your city]” or “tree removal [your city].”
Keywords that are so specific can be hard to fit into website text without looking clunky and robotic. It can get doubly challenging when you have to fit those keywords into translated text. Now you have to make sure the keywords are working in the new language and culture, as well.
What is a multilingual SEO? Translation services can actually provide website content that takes local SEO and the new language into account.
Translation services can help with several parts of your digital message:
- The actual translation of the text, which can be an hours-heavy project to get right
- Making sure all parts of a digital presence have strong localization, like updated images, currency symbols, and layouts
- Balancing good local SEO practices with a smooth translation in the new language
The fact is, if you are not an expert in the culture or language that you are translating your digital materials into, it’s that much harder to translate materials and keep SEO in mind.
Look for a translation services agency that has experience in marketing and digital translation. It can help keep local SEO solid while reaching a demographic in a new language.