According to recent research by GoToMeeting, six out of ten UK SMBs anticipate doing business internationally by 2016 — a 20% increase on the number that is currently selling or sourcing products and services abroad. This means newly global firms will most likely want to translate their marketing assets, to approach new consumers with specific needs and requests.
But be warned: localizing your website for a new market won’t attract the same volume of visitors through search as your original website does, unless your new sites are optimised and visible to Google, Baidu, Yahoo or Yandex.
How should you go about optimising your new sites? Let me explain… at the start of a multilingual search engine optimisation (SEO) project, you should audit your ‘new’ website by checking it against the three pillars of SEO. Your goal is to make sure you acquire customers by positioning your webpages in the search results for queries related to your products and services. Below are the three key areas on which to focus, to achieve your business objectives:
When a website goes live, search engines scan the content and index it according to their guidelines. These guidelines include:
– having an XML sitemap
– writing unique, localized and optimised META data
– H1 and other specific coding features that, if not present, can strongly affect your ROI in a new market
Content and SEO
Firstly, research the keywords most relevant to your products. Then, create optimised content that not only includes these keywords but also provides a great user experience. Keyword research and user experience are key to attracting visitors, engaging with them and convert them into customers.
The ranking positions of a ‘new’ site are influenced by the volume and quality of links gained from other sites so, during an SEO campaign, aim to gain high authority links and raise brand awareness. Use tactics including content marketing, link building and digital PR.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a great product, a well-localized site and be not only attracting visitors but also converting them to customers! And by implementing technical, content and off-site SEO from the start, you’ll have gained a competitive advantage. (And to build on this head start, don’t forget about social media, Pay Per Click (PPC), PR and offline activities.)
Have you integrated SEO with website localization? Share your experiences below, and tell us about any interesting resources you have come across.
Easter is one of the most celebrated holidays worldwide. However, unlike Christmas, Easter is celebrated quite differently across Europe and the USA due to religious or cultural differences. Planning an online or offline marketing campaign for this period could prove to be quite difficult, especially if you don’t have the insights that are necessary to understand the local markets and business opportunities. An obvious example would be the diverse traditions that separate the different strands of Christian celebrations. British and American Easter, for example, are more “contemporary” experience involving a lot of chocolate; whereas Orthodox Easter involves more religious rituals and traditions that are strictly observed. Therefore, for a good marketing or content strategy, you should think outside the box, do your research and be careful not to offend or disregard someone’s beliefs.
Sometimes people interpret the word “different” as something unusual or even bad. I embrace different! Exploring cultures, customs and traditions is exciting. It is worth travelling and living abroad just to get a taste of the way people around the world live and celebrate their holidays. Wordbank has a dedicated global network of cultural consultants and a large database of local insights which could give you the opportunity to learn about more countries and cultures. In this blog post, I’d like to walk you through some of the cultural and religious differences in various parts of the world:
The whole family sitting around a table loaded with food: this is the image of an American Easter. Easter feasting is huge in the USA with baked ham, potatoes and vegetables galore. The Easter egg hunt is a popular activity for children and adults together, and is a lot of fun. The story is that the Easter bunny comes the night before and leaves the eggs for people to find. After the egg hunt is over and all the eggs are found, the famous “egg roll” game begins, where you roll your egg with the help of a long-handled spoon along a grass lane. Weddings are very popular over Easter. Chocolate, as in the United Kingdom, also plays a very big part. So, if you concentrate your marketing or ad campaign around food, family, weddings, chocolate, bunnies or Easter egg rolling, you can’t go wrong!
Easter in the UK
The British Easter, or rather “chocolate extravaganza”, is much sweeter than the traditional experience. It’s all about Easter bunnies and eggs, made from chocolate. The British celebrate this holiday by eating lots of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. The religious aspect of Easter is not widely embraced and not many traditions are observed. But one thing I have noticed is the giving of colourful Easter cards, usually green or yellow (for the coming of spring) and decorated with baby animals and cute chicks. The cards are a nice way to show people that you care and are thinking about them. There aren’t really any particular traditions for dinner on Easter Sunday, although lamb is common. Easter egg hunts are also very popular, and take place at home or are hosted at castles, stately homes and other places of interest. But the goal is always the same: get as much chocolate as you can! So, your marketing strategy should contain the two crucial ingredients of chocolate and eggs.
Pâques en France
Easter in France: very sophisticated, as is everything French, n’est-ce pas? Easter spirit first comes to France with the “Poisson D’Avril” (Easter fish). This is a French tradition, where children try to attach a paper fish to their “victim’s” back. Chocolate, as in the UK and USA is a big part of a French Easter. Chocolate fish, bunnies, eggs and also bells are seen everywhere. On Good Friday, church bells are silenced and children are told that they have flown to Rome to visit the Pope. When the bells return on Easter morning, they bring with them and hide Easter eggs in the gardens, where the egg hunts take place! Once the children have found their eggs, they play games such as tossing raw eggs in the air. The first child to drop his egg has to share half of his chocolate stash with his brother or sister. What a disaster! Egg rolling is also popular, where the eggs are not rolled down just any slope, but a “gentle” one. If you’re thinking about Easter marketing in France, you could play safe with chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies, or you can think a bit differently and include bells or Easter fish, and produce something visually more creative.
A Bulgarian and Greek Easter
Easter is huge in Bulgaria and Greece, bringing families and friends together. In the Orthodox calendar there are a lot of traditions and customs associated with this holiday. First and most importantly, eggs are dyed on either Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday. The first egg has to be red and it is kept until the following year as a symbol of good health. On Good Friday, cleaning, cooking or housework is forbidden. On Holy Saturday night, everybody goes to church at around 11 p.m., and at exactly midnight people walk three times around the church with lit candles, saying to each other, “Christ has risen” and answering, “He has risen indeed”. The belief is that if you have been a good Christian, your candle will not go out no matter how strong the wind is, because you have no sin. After that the real fun begins, with the “egg fight” game! The egg that fights the most and remains intact is the winner and is called “the fighter”. It is believed that the person who owns it will have good health and good luck throughout the year ahead. On Easter Sunday, special sweet Easter bread is prepared and eaten. The traditional lunch is huge, with roast lamb, potatoes, green salad and of course… eggs! In fact, having an Easter campaign could easily be considered as bad taste if it is not tailored very carefully. In an Orthodox society, customs are very important, so chocolate alone just won’t cut it. In these countries, campaigns around family traditions, Easter symbolism, dyed egg fights and even candles would be a much better idea.
Italians say “Spend Christmas with your family, spend Easter with people you like”. This doesn’t mean Italians don’t love their families, it just means that Easter is not as big a holiday as Christmas. Easter Mass is held in every church in Italy on Good Friday, the most popular one being held by the Pope at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. Food is a very large part of an Italian Easter; traditionally the food includes lamb or goat, artichokes and special Easter breads that vary from region to region. People give each other chocolate Easter eggs with surprise presents inside. When it comes to Easter advertising, Italians tend to go for something contemporary and quite funny. So you will have to try to think beyond Easter eggs, bunnies and polenta! Why not try something a little risky?
Easter in Poland
On Holy Saturday in Poland people go to church and bring the food they will eat on Easter Sunday morning to be blessed by the priest. Eggs are mandatory at the Easter breakfast table and children open presents that have been hidden by the Easter bunny. Another interesting tradition is “Wet Monday” (Śmigus-Dyngus), when people pour water over each other for the fun of it! The origins of this tradition are uncertain, but it is believed it dates back as early as the 15th century. Traditionally, boys pour water over girls and spank them with willow branches; sometimes they also say verses to each other. The emphasis in Poland definitely falls on “Wet Monday” and the significant Easter breakfast, so any campaigns featuring one or both of these, would most probably be successful.
In Denmark, homes and shops are decorated for Easter in green and yellow and the main symbol of Easter is still the Easter egg. The eggs used for decoration may be ordinary chicken eggs which have been coloured, or they may be imitation eggs made from sugar or chocolate. There is a very unique Danish Easter tradition, involving sending letters with teaser verses. If the receiver guesses who the letter is from, he gets a chocolate egg from the sender. However, if he fails to figure out the sender’s identity, he has to give “the poet” a chocolate egg as a reward. Easter food includes eggs (of various types), but otherwise people eat what is generally regarded as spring food, such as chicken, lamb and vegetables. Given the nature of a Danish Easter, a guessing game, competition or quiz would be a perfect addition to a Danish Easter campaign.
Eggs, bunnies, bells, Easter bread, lamb and chocolate are all part of the Easter “experience” around the world. Easter is a time of the year when some celebrate established traditions, others celebrate with food and family gatherings and some just rest, because it’s holiday time. Nevertheless, Easter is one of the biggest holidays in the Christian calendar and having a think about local traditions would most definitely bring you success before launching a marketing or advertising campaign.
TRANSACTIONS START WITH WHAT
When making the decision to go global, most every organization begins with what. What needs translating? What file format is it? What’s the word count? What languages do we need? What turnaround can we expect, at what cost? These are all transactional questions, designed to enable companies to obtain an accurate quote and kick-off a localization project.
These what questions are certainly part of the reality of localizing content of any kind and they’re often driven by practical need – the need to meet the objectives of internal stakeholders and show that an international presence has been achieved. Companies in the earlier stages of their localization maturity model will almost certainly start with what and think about localization on the project level.
While the backbone of localization activity is undoubtedly focused on maximizing the growth opportunity in international markets, multilingual content targeted toward domestic audiences can be just as powerful in driving conversions while presenting far fewer practical and logistical challenges. Domestic multicultural marketing was once a largely ignored field but a growing number of companies are making it a priority, thanks in large part to the increasing size and purchasing power of the US Hispanic population.
The number of US Hispanics online is estimated at 33.5 million, representing $1.2 trillion of purchasing power, and yet spend on digital tactics aimed at this demographic increased by only 2.5% between 2011 and 2012. This translates into lower competition and CPCs on most digital platforms, which is particularly beneficial considering their engagement with social media, search engines and e-commerce is higher than the US average, allowing for numerous touch points in the conversion process.
Many companies looking to expand internationally may find the unique barriers to launching their brands, particularly in emerging markets like Brazil and China, potentially daunting. Localizing marketing communications often requires significant planning and investment, not to mention the management of practical, technical and logistical challenges, before even the first conversion is realized.
In this post, we’ll look at how English content can be used to make some international markets more accessible to companies looking for lower-risk avenues into global expansion. The analysis of on-site behavior, search data and sales trends gleaned from a soft-launch with English content can also prove the case for a marketing localization budget, as well as help identify product and advertising preferences in a region before making the in-language investment.
Machine translation (MT) is a hot topic within the localization world. The improvements in MT have been impressive and it has become a more common method of translating content. But is machine translation always appropriate and should it be used as frequently as it is? Is machine translation the way forward or a black-hole?
Managing international PPC campaigns is a complicated task. Not only do you have to manage keywords and ad text in languages you don’t understand, but you also need to manage larger campaigns, with multiple responses and varying success.
I’m not going to preach to you about keyword research vs. translation, ad text character limits or local search engines etc. This is also useful information but really it’s regurgitated by almost every blog out there. So instead, we’re going to get our hands dirty and talk to you about the real grind of managing multilingual / international PPC campaigns.
Yandex have broken from tradition again and launched a new interactive snippets and SERP re-design to be rolled out later this year. But does innovation always bring success? Wordbank has analyzed the expected design and implementation of rich snippets and we’re excited, but harbouring some concerns.
Do Yandex interactive snippets really bring users closer to their request? We feel there are 3 key reasons they could hinder user experience.
Thanks to everyone who came to see us over the three days of Internet World 2013 at Earls Court 2. It was great to speak to all the visitors to our stand keen to take their businesses into Europe, South America and Asia and helping answer questions about building and executing online strategies for these markets.