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SEO Translation   6 comments

SEO Translation  is localising a site to make it as visible as possible in the target language and culture and achieve higher rankings in search engines.

Companies grow by extending their product line, another way is to expand their service line to include more geographic regions. Doing so presents several challenges for these businesses and search engine optimizers who server them.

There is a big difference between making a site accessible in multiple languages and taking a business to new regions. It is useful to consider the basic organization and thoughtfulness toward how users in languages other than your own react to content and design; much more is required for those going multiregional.

Multiple Languages: Managing multiple language versions of a website and making sure localized  content appears in search results pages is straightforward,  it is just like optimizing a site. When it comes to leveraging translated content for SEO, suggestions include making sure the page language is obvious, each language is discoverable and paying attention to URL naming.

Search engines use content of the page and navigation as primary signals to determine the language of the page. So, the page content and navigation should be accurately translated. Researching language-specific keyword search volumes will ensure the terms you are using are those that provide the most value to your users and your overall SEO efforts. Another thing to remember is several dialects can be in use in the same region.

The ability to separate the site into languages or regions if similar languages, will enable the creation of language specific sitemaps that, in turn, enables search engines to discover more of the site. Interlinking the various languages  will also provide search engines with cues that additional content  is available for indexing. It is better to have a dual language speaker to translate content, automated content translation always doesn’t make sense.

Local Sense: Initial reaction may be to purchase as many relevant country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) or internationalized domain names (IDNs) as possible, the acquisition requirements are too demanding and the investment too costly. ccTLDs and IDNs provide a strong signal to users and search engines that the site is explicitly intended for a specific country.

Most business are using subdomain or subdirectory for translated content. Example, instead of domain.in, we can use in.domain.com. One has to find out how different regions or countries abbreviate their individual languages.

While server location is a signal to search engines about a site’s intended audience, it is in no way definitive, as many websites use distributed content delivery networks or are hosted in a country (not the one being targeted) with a better infrastructure. Consider mapping a subdomain that includes translated content to a Web host in that particular regional area.

Search engines do provide a way to designate that a site is intended for a specific country. Google Webmaster Tools provides geo-targeting capabilities – all that is required  is to select the appropriate country. This feature can only be used for sites with a generic top-level domain however, such as .com or .org. Sites with country-code top-level domains such as .in are already associated with a geographic region. If no information is entered in Google Webmaster Tools, Google will make geographical associations based on top level domain (.com) and IP address of the web server from which the context was served.

The best way to inform user and search engines that a website is intended for a geographic area and a language, is to be local. Use addresses and phone numbers , acquire links from local sites, and set up local profiles through Google Places.

Avoid certain with regard to site structure or page names. Example, stay away from URL based parameters such as yoursite.com?loc=in.  Location based meta tags or HTML attributes are rarely used  for geo targeting.

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