If you work in digital marketing, you’ll know all about terms like “SERP ranking” and “Domain Authority.” You probably work hard every day to ensure that your company’s webpage stays high up in Google and that your marketing content goes viral. But if you want to attract more customers globally, how do you break the barrier and communicate in more than one language? That’s where you need solid localization strategies.
Think Global from The Start
When you’re launching your website, mobile app, or video game, make sure you design it with a global market in mind. There are many simple ways of doing this, without exceeding your budget or comfort zone. Depending on the market you want to launch in, you’ll need to translate your website into different languages. And different languages take up different amounts of space.
So, keep in mind that your original website design should leave plenty of room for languages like German and French, that can take up to 30% more space than English. Avoid adding a lot of images, or videos that will need to be translated. Localization goes beyond translation of words and takes into account all the cultural factors as well. So, if your images are of people at the beach, for example, they may not be appropriate for middle eastern cultures where females must be covered.
The more images you add, the more switching out you’ll have to do. The higher the cost and the greater the work. If you’re set on using a lot of pictures, then be sure to use editable images that allow you to easily translate any embedded texts, or the cost and complexity will rise. You can also ensure that your website or mobile app are written with localization in mind. Ask your developers to use Unicode, which is a universal programming standard that accepts thousands of characters and will let you work with any language.
Make Use of Keywords
Website localization or mobile app localization requires a lot of work. From the technical and programming side to marketing research and proper local translation. One of the greatest benefits of correctly localizing your website though is that it will pay off dividends in your SEO strategy. Make sure that you find out what the keywords are in your target market and that your webpage is correctly optimized with them.
Don’t assume that your local translators will understand the use of keywords. It may be worth consulting a local marketing expert and preparing a list of keywords for your translators. This applies even where the same language is spoken in different countries. If you think for a moment about the different vocabulary used in British and American English, you’ll understand the importance of local keywords for your SEO.
Say you’re selling clothing, for example. Brits wear jumpers and tights, while Americans use sweaters and pantyhose. Spanish and French vary from region to region and if you don’t make use of the right search terms, your nicely translated and localized site will fail to rise in ranking.
Optimize Your Site for Speed
Keep in mind that not all internet connections around the world are as fast as what you’re used to at home. Most people click out of a site that takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load, so if yours is full of slowly loading videos and heavy images, you’re going to be exited out of in instants. Make sure that you optimize your website for speed globally. It’s one of Google’s ranking factors and it lends a better user experience as well.
Finally, if you have the budget, think about using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which relies on local servers to deliver your content quicker to local users. Your page will load faster and the user experience will be improved.
Localization is a strategy that can’t be avoided. If you fail to create an appealing message for your target audience overseas, you can bet your life your competition will. Make sure that you master the technical as well as linguistic elements and that you optimize your site for search engines as well. Localization will greatly boost your global digital marketing this year.