Multilingual Search Marketing Should Focus On Localisation

by Stratton Craig

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Translation blunders can have quite an impact on reputation. Most people have heard the story of JFK unwittingly calling himself a jelly doughnut in front of the whole world in his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. While this ultimately turned out to be nothing more than an urban legend, poor multilingual search marketing can cost a brand business.

According to Search Engine Journal, there are a few ways to make sure that you're doing your translation regarding search marketing right. The most important one is to hire the right people to do the job. There are companies that use Google Translate or other automatic translation tools but this is just one step away from failure, the website warned. In search, authenticity of the terms is crucial because the entire campaign is based on them. That's why it's important to include keywords that local native speakers would search for, not formal translations listed in dictionaries.

In translation, you will often hear the mantra “translate ideas, not words” and, although it sound like a cliche, it really matters. Conveying the proper cultural nuances is just as important as choosing the right keywords. It is worth knowing, for instance, that it is a bad idea to ask French audiences the question “Did you know?” because it is considered patronising. Images should also be selected according to the target audience, Search Engine Journal noted.

A strategy that many brands use is to direct PPC in foreign languages to an English language landing page. However, this is a risky move as it may just increase bounce rates and put users off. Localising landing pages can improve conversion rates and lead to higher sales, the website pointed out.

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