Translation

SEO and Quality Assurance in Website Localization: What to Keep in Mind

Website Localization

Website localization is essential for companies wanting to expand their global reach. Speaking to consumers in their native language and appealing to them with locally relevant content is helpful to improve the user experience and ultimately drive up sales. Fully localized websites enhance consumer confidence and trust, as consumers are more comfortable making purchases in their language and interacting with a website that “feels local” to them.

A solid website localization strategy can make the difference between increased ROI and failure. Once the localization strategy has been crafted and implemented, it is essential to keep in mind a few factors including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and localization testing.

How Do You Implement an SEO Strategy for a Multilingual Website? And How Do You Effectively Perform Localization Testing and Quality Assurance?

1) A Localized SEO Strategy

Just as you had an SEO strategy for the English website, you will need to have one for all localized versions. However, a localized SEO strategy is not simply translating a list of keywords in English. Different countries use different search terms, so if you want to generate a higher conversion rate you will need to do research on the most used keywords. Google Adwords is an extremely helpful tool that provides data on search volumes for keywords in specific geographic areas, and thus it can be consulted to find the “more ROI-driven translation”. It is important to conduct thorough research on current usage of terms in a given target market in order to pick the best and most up-to-date terms.

Moreover, working in synergy with a native SEO specialist or local marketing consultant may be helpful to ensure the site is optimized for the best keywords and locally used expressions.

Also, you should optimize your website for different search engines, depending on the country you’re localizing for. While in most regions Google is still the preeminent search engine, in some others local consumers prefer Bing and Yahoo. In two particular cases (Russia and China), consumers don’t go to Google, but to Yandex and Baidu.

2) Optimization of Site Speed

Internet providers have different speed standards depending on a country (i.e., what seem like good Internet speed in Italy is average for Norway). You should consider the speed standard of the country/locale you are localizing into, and if necessary make adjustments to the website. For example, if you are launching in a region with slow internet, you might want to think twice before including large files like videos and images. Instead, you might be better off coming up with a simplified version of the website that is lighter and easier to load. You have to keep in mind that site speed is one of Google’s main ranking factor, so being cognizant of that will help you achieve higher-ranking results.

3) Localization Testing

 When testing website localization, you need to look into the following:

a) Language

Spelling errors, wrong use of words, punctuation errors

Grammatical mistakes, capitalization

Writing direction

Keyboard shortcut and layout

b) Culture and Region

Colors and images

Names and titles

Presence of cultural taboos

Inappropriate or offensive texts

Misuse of keywords

General readability and appeal of message

c) Local Details

Date and time formats

Calendar types

Number formats (decimal separators, grouping of digits etc.)

Currency symbols, weights and measures, paper sizes

d) Strings/Design

UI and layout defects (i.e., misalignment and overlap)

Errors in concatenated strings

Avoid the use of idioms (expressions whose meaning is not predictable by putting all words together) and contronyms (= words or phrases that mean different things in different context) as they can be misleading and prone to error in translation.

A Few More Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Country and Language are Not the Same Thing

Localized websites should allow for the country and language to be specified independently to suit the user’s preference. For example, some countries like Belgium, Switzerland, and India are officially multilingual. Also, there are large expats communities in many countries (e.g., Singapore, UAE), and those users may want content in their native language, while prices displayed in the local currency.

  • Currency & Payment Preferences

For ecommerce stores, it is very important to make sure that prices are correctly displayed in the local currency. Also, it is vital to do research into each country’s payment preferences. Some countries do not use official methods like PayPal and you will be expected to support locally popular payment methods (e.g., wire transfer). In the Netherlands, people are used to paying through a secure system named iDeal, a method being used since 2006, which redirects customers to their own bank. In 2010, 54% of online consumers in the Netherlands reported preferring payment via iDeal. More recently in 2015, the amount of transactions increased by almost 25 percent, according to the company.

Local Customer Service

  • It is also extremely important to leverage costumer service as part of an overall localization strategy. Customers may request more information about a product/service or encounter problems that need to be addressed. Having a local address and telephone number with local costumer support can significantly enhance consumer’s confidence and determine their purchasing decision. It is also good practice to include live chats on the website, where consumers can be put in contact with the local costumer service team.

Conclusion

Speaking to consumers in their native language and displaying in-depth knowledge of their cultural values is essential to successfully carry out a localization strategy. Fully localized websites enhance consumer confidence and trust, and drive up sales as costumers are more comfortable interacting with a website that feels “local” to them.  At Ulatus, a team of localization experts in the linguistic, cultural, and technical fields can help you optimize your website’s organic rankings for a global audience and successfully localize it for each country.

This article is written by a professional writer, Ilaria Ghelardoni, associated with Ulatus.

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