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website localization tips

It’s no longer enough for a company to set up a website, register with Google and other major search engines, and sit back to wait for a steady stream of customers to flock to them. The internet is increasingly competitive and companies are having to work harder and smarter to make sure their company ranks well on search pages. This process is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. The SEO process has to be carried out on an ongoing basis, and for companies operating internationally there are many more hurdles to overcome.


For companies producing a very simple product or service, knowing what these products are called in different countries is relatively straightforward. Some products, especially those which are more technical or specialized, do not have a direct translation or the expression used may be unexpected, so extensive research has to be done to establish exactly what people in foreign markets are typing into their search engines when they are looking for the sort of company producing your products. Although it may be tempting from a financial point of view to use non-native speakers or even software to translate the websites for you, these results are never as good as when a professional translator does the work.


It’s no longer enough to simply take the UK version of a website and translate it into another language. People in different countries use websites in different ways, and the expressions used may not be the most obvious ones. The process of converting the website is known as web localization, and there are two main ways to achieve it. The first is to translate the website and then get a native speaker to go through it and suggest improvements. The second is to employ a native speaking web development team to build a whole new website from scratch. This is obviously the more expensive route.


Search engine ranking is all important, and companies compete to be on that first page of results when you type a given search term into any search engine. Google helps marketers with this by providing tools to help them analyse their website for the use of keywords, and help them identify what terms people are searching for most often. This process, called multilingual SEO, has to be carried out for each language or for each country where the company has a presence. Knowing the keywords which are being targeted helps companies write copy, post blogs and advertise more effectively. A successful multilingual SEO programme will be ongoing, and will involve native speakers writing and uploading copy regularly to the website.

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Posted by Tom Wilson-Copp

Tom Wilson-Copp is a document design and production consultant who specialises in the project management and delivery of B2B services including design, localisation, off-line production and digital marketing.
With over 12 years experience working within the business services industry, Tom has worked for both large multinationals as well as bespoke service agencies.