Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Nov. 4th, 2014: Three Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid for International Websites

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http://www.merrillbrink.com -- Companies often make three common errors that decrease SEO rankings and result in lost revenue opportunities. Your website will perform much more effectively if you can avoid these errors.

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It is not sufficient to create a website that is language-friendly for buyers – it must also be optimised to achieve high search engine rankings so that buyers can find it.

International shoppers are dominating the online retail marketplace. According to a 2014 KPCP Internet Trends Report, 86 per cent of the users of the top 10 global websites live outside the U.S. These consumers are more likely to buy products from websites that are written in their native language, a preference that is forcing global companies to invest in improving their website localisation efforts. It is not sufficient to create a website that is language-friendly for buyers – it must also be optimised to achieve high search engine rankings so that buyers can find it. However, international search engine optimisation (SEO) is a complex process. Companies often make three common errors that decrease SEO rankings and result in lost revenue opportunities. Your website will perform much more effectively if you can avoid these errors.

Error #1: Translating, Rather than Localising Keywords
One common error is to simply translate keywords into the target audience’s language without analysing the effectiveness of those keywords for SEO optimisation. In other words, a certain term in English may be technically equivalent to a word in another language, but that doesn’t mean it’s typically used by native speakers. People tend to search using phrases based on regional slang, cultural influences, and common practice. Very often, a straight word-for-word translation will omit these nuances. Hence, a “straight translation” approach often results in yielding key terms the target audience does not search for and ultimately, results in decreased page views. It can also introduce potential cultural etiquette breaches.

To avoid these risks, use an SEO expert who is fluent in the target language to determine the most effective regional keywords through meta-tags and search data. Also, use a tool such as the Google Translation Toolkit to identify the most popular keywords in the target language. Also, continue to monitor the search data after your website is launched and be prepared to modify your keywords to increase page views.

Error #2: Limiting Localisation to Text
To achieve the highest possible rank, localise the text – and the metadata, links, and domain elements. First, spend the necessary time on the title to ensure that it is meaningful in the target country and language. Simply translating the title from English to the target language can result in embarrassing and potentially costly mistakes. Next, localise the title and description in the HTML markup, and select a language that contributes to positive SEO rankings. Also, select and register a new domain name using both the country code and the target language. The domain name should be meaningful in the target language and respect any cultural issues or slang. Also, localise your website’s links, because the search engines use these links when determining rank. Analyse each link to ensure it positively affects the search engine ranking, and where appropriate, update the links with websites that have greater weight in your target language.

Error #3: Delaying SEO Localisation Until the End of the Project
Most companies now incorporate their SEO strategy in the website-creation process and include it in the initial design meetings. Unfortunately, however, many firms don’t actually localise their SEO plans until the end of the project, when the website is nearly complete. This often results in a website that receives lower SEO rankings in the target country, because website elements such as headings, phrases and overall focus negatively impact the SEO. To receive the highest possible rankings, build your SEO localisation practices into every phase of your website launch and life cycle. This will ensure that the right localisation rules are consistently applied and will drive the best possible SEO results in each of your target markets.

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About Merrill Brink® International
Merrill Brink International (http://www.merrillbrink.com) is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localisation, desktop publishing and globalisation services.

Merrill Brink is recognised in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and compliant to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007.Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.

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Vanessa Lontoc
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