We’ve all done it. You search for something using Google or Bing. You click on a link that’s at or near the top of page one, only to find that it’s in a language you don’t speak. Chances are you bounce at that point, but have you ever stopped to wonder how that page got there? Clearly, enough people who do speak that language are visiting that page. It’s at the top for a reason.

What if that were your page instead? It can be if you translate your content so that it can be understood by the people most likely to be interested in it.

Internet Language Facts

You could be missing out on a lot of traffic if you fail to translate your content. Just consider the following:

  • While English is the most widely used language online, Chinese is the most widely spoken IRL.
  • There are significantly more internet users in China and India than in the United States.
  • Lack of representative language diversity makes it difficult for large numbers of people to access the information they need.

Here’s something else to consider. When people are able to read web content in their native tongue, they have a better experience. They will even spend more money than usual to engage with a website in their native language.

Offer your content in more than one language, and you will increase your ability to reach a wider audience. That’s more important now than ever, considering that it’s become more difficult to earn organic traffic.

How much traffic is bouncing from your web pages simply because you haven’t engaged the services of a good translation provider?

Where Does Your Traffic Originate?

There are hundreds of different languages and dialects. Obviously, you cannot translate your content into all of them. So, the best place to start is with your existing traffic. You may be surprised to find that you’re getting a significant number of visitors from non-English speaking regions. Use Google Analytics to find the source of your existing traffic.

Your best bet is going to be to translate your content into the native language of your current visitors. But, what happens if you don’t have much traffic from other countries? If that’s the case, don’t ignore the importance of content translation. You should still consider translating your content based on your plans for future expansion, or the languages most commonly used by your target audience.

Prioritize the Posts You Want to Translate

The notion of translating all of your content to another language, or languages, may be a bit intimidating. It might also be well out of your budget. If so, you should focus on translating only the posts that will get you the most ‘bang for your buck’. Again, you can use analytics as recommended above. Just be sure to focus on both popularity and engagement, as well as traffic origination.

Use this information to find the post that is getting the most engagement and traffic from other countries. Then, focus on translating those. This will make it easier for interested audiences to read and engage with content in their native language.

Carefully Select a Service to Translate the Posts You Choose

You have a few different options here. There’s a crowdsourced translation or you can submit your content through translation software, and hope the best for the content you receive in return. Both of these choices are pretty risky. Then there’s the option of using translation plugins. These are definitely helpful, but may not be the best choice for pages you really want to optimize for SEO. Finally, you can also hire a reputable service to translate your pages for you.

The last option is usually the best. A human being, who has the right credentials from a translation service such as The Word Point, with language fluency and cultural understanding is most likely to be able to translate your content correctly without losing your intended message. They’ll be able to localize your content to ensure that it’s meaningful and impactful. They can also translate your content in a way that retains the formatting and appearance of your web pages.

A decent translation service will be able to optimize your content in other ways. For example, they’ll take your existing keywords, and find suitably optimized replacements. Sometimes, there’s more to this process than simply translating words and phrases from one language to another.

A Plugin is Fine for the Rest

When you consider website pages, blog posts, and landing pages, your site might have dozens of pages. Now that you’ve taken your top-performing posts, and had them translated professionally, check out some translation plugins.

If you roll your own website, take a look at Google’s translate plugin. It’s perfect for providing, ‘on the fly’ translation for visitors who want to see your content in their home language. If you use a CMS such as WordPress, there are several reputable plugins for you to try. The same is true with the most popular eCommerce platforms.

Plugins aren’t perfect, but they can give visitors readable content. This is often enough to keep them on the page and encourage them to explore the rest of your website. They’re also a budget-friendly, practical choice for translating large volumes of content. Even better, it’s a low effort. Google simply asks visitors who speak a different language if they’d like your page content to be translated or not.

The only drawback here is that the translations resulting from a plugin aren’t going to be perfect. Still, this is a much better option than simply having audience members bounce. In many cases, you can help translation plugins by engaging in content internationalization when you create your pages.

Recapping the SEO Benefits of Translation

When Google determines how to rank pages for search, several factors are considered. Key among these are traffic and time on page. When your web pages are in the native language of your target audience, both of these metrics are increased. This, in turn, makes your pages better optimized for search results.

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Erica Sunarjo

Erica Sunarjo is a professional writer, translator, and editor with a Master's degree in Marketing and Social Media. She writes thought-provoking articles for publications in a variety of media and is an active member of the translator community.

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