Localization and Its Influence in Search Engine Optimization

Greater than 2 minutes, my friend!

In order to compete in the global market, companies often appeal to translation or localization services. Having their website, product manuals or marketing material translated into a local language provides the ability to compete with local companies.

However, to be able to reach the right target, the localization process must be carried out with great care. It is also the same for companies going global from local by translating their website and other material into English. To get the best outcome, this process needs to have a few basic but generally overlooked characteristics. Say, a company wants to enter the Turkish market and they’ve decided to localize their website as the first step. To drive more traffic to their website, localization and search engine optimization (SEO) must go hand in hand. And when SEO is the subject, everybody knows that “content is king”.

In this article, I will try to discuss how a translation or localization process might influence your search engine ranking.

If Content is King, Translation is The Queen

When you are creating a website, the main goal is to attract as many visitors as you can. There are many ways to drive traffic to your website, but I am not going to elaborate on that right now. The point is, if you want users to spend more time in your website and become regulars, you need quality content. This applies to every type of website; doesn’t matter if you are selling something or not.

It is quite a difficult task for a translator to turn an ill-written content into a quality one, which is of course not his/her duty. However, the opposite situation might occur quite easily. An unprofessional translator might ruin your high-quality content, which in the end will result in losing visitors, customers and reputation.

Keyword Research is the Prince

Local people have local habits. They might use different search engines, different terms, different algorithms. Of course, your visitors don’t use algorithms, but you need to run a few algorithms to understand their Internet-browsing habits. If you are going to invest in Turkish localization, for example, you need to arrange your SEO strategy completely from the beginning. Finding local keywords and implementing those keywords to your website, creating content for those keywords is the key point in getting organic traffic in your local area.

High Above the King is the Culture

Localization is much more than translation of words. It is the adaptation of a product or content to a specific area. Translation is just a part of the localization process. If your content contains information that means nothing particular to a culture, it will fail. If you want to localize your website for any country, e.g. for Turkey, then your content needs to be well adjusted.

To give a specific example, characteristic of the Turkish reality and life: every culture is under the influence of a specific religion. This is Christianity for most of the western countries, whereas it is Islam for Turkey. If your content contains lots of Biblical canon, it will make no sense to Turkish people, even though it is translated into Turkish. Therefore, understanding the culture is the key point to create quality content. To summarize:

– Look into “culture” to create good “content”.

– Localize “keywords” to reach “visitors”.

– Create good “content” to obtain and sustain “visitors”.

A good localization process should go hand in hand with quality SEO services. If the localization is not good, your search engine optimization will mean nothing. If the SEO is not good, your localization will also mean nothing.

Aykut Kutucu

About Aykut Kutucu

I am a freelance English into Turkish translator with engineering and linguistics education. I help businesses reach the Turkish market by translating and localizing their marketing material, etc.

One thought on “Localization and Its Influence in Search Engine Optimization

  1. I love this line ‘If content is the king, translation is the queen!’ and I might use it in the future. 😉 Very well said, the importance of translation in the digital world is heavily underestimated.

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