Optimizing Content for a Worldwide Audience
Content that’s worth reading is one thing. Content that everyone can read is another. Once it’s out there, content undergoes a very typical process, from which we anticipate and track its success. It gets discovered; it’s well-received and then it gets shared.
Whether your business is already global or about to launch on a worldwide scale, a key component of your growth strategy is producing valuable content that reflects the right tone and nuances of the target market. And it takes finesse.
Today, most companies realize that online machine translation doesn’t give them the quality and accuracy they need for negotiating important business decisions. Developing a partnership with a language service provider (LSP) has become more a necessity and less a choice. No matter what path your content takes- from writer to multilingual audience, however, it always begins in one language. Let’s have a look at the different types of content and how it can be optimized so as to reach and be read around the world.
Optimizing for Visibility
Attracting international users to read about your brand or product is the first step in converting them, and thus an important step in content strategy. SEO strategies, at an international level, are complex and challenging.
Translated websites must feature the right keywords across languages. Content goes much deeper than text that lives on landing pages. Optimize tags and meta-data specific to your target audience.
Where is your company logo on your page? Upper left placement is common for sites in languages that are written left-to-right. Arabic and Hebrew are among seven other modern languages written right-to-left script, therefore, in addition to the language content all product descriptions, images, labels, icons, and more should be mirrored to ensure targeted customer comprehension.
Choosing the right platform to promote or facilitate communication in different counties is very important. Understanding search engines and delivering content that gets ranked among them, is an art and a science. On-site contacts in target countries are a huge asset, though not always possible, especially for companies, new to the global game. Experts can help you navigate international search engines and work to get your content noticed by new audiences.
Copy and paste translation, done carelessly, has a negative impact in most international search results. In China, for example, the content must fall in accordance with the censorship laws and paid advertising requirements of the major search engine Baidu. Don’t assume that if Google likes it, Baidu or Weibo will too. The distinctions between platforms can make the biggest differences in SEO.
Optimizing your Outreach
Every email you write, you tailor it to the recipient. Pretty simple. For emails that must cross the language barrier, it’s extra important to have the recipient’s experience in mind. In the translation process, the meaning of words is often lost, so composing an email must be done with consideration to details.
Salutations are the first thing they’re going to read so be sure to address customers with sensitivity to their culture. For example, in the U.S, it’s a nice personal touch to address someone by their first name, whereas, in Japan, introductions are made with last names plus the word san. An effort should always be made to convey these etiquettes.
Avoid idioms, slang and colloquialisms. Edit your email carefully, before it undergoes translation; these phrases are often overlooked and taken for granted.
Translating conversion buttons like “Sign Up” or “Subscribe” may be obvious. Don’t forget to translate the statements that pop up when clicked. Loading, and please wait, and redirecting must be readable, so the user doesn’t impatiently change his mind.
Optimizing for Social Review
When your business takes the international stage, you want some international applause. Earning good reviews from multilingual users and then managing the reviews appropriately requires strategy. Brands can be built or broken upon customer feedback and testimony.
Encourage multilingual users to write reviews by streamlining the submission process. Nobody should have to learn to use it. It’s helpful to provide simple options. The first is an open-ended review- where they can free-write their comments or respond to questions provided. The second is a close-ended review, where users can click on the button to like or vote things.
Responding to reviews when they come back is essential. Work with LSP translation services and/or having an interpreter handy for the open-ended responses. The travel industry is a good example. Leah Preston, hospitality coordinator for staySky Hotels, puts it this way, “People work hard all year to afford a vacation, so businesses must make sure to deliver the experience promised. Connecting with guests before and after they visit allows us to understand the requests and preferences from different people all over the world and run our business to meet those needs.”
Similarly, businesses must pay close attention to the content that is getting shared that mentions their brand and respond appropriately. Use aggregate software to collect reviews, address concerns and answer questions, build international business relationships and thank customers.
Social media profiles should be accessible to multilingual users. Most companies collect feedback from their social media, so they should optimize their profiles in multiple languages to encourage multilingual engagement.
Say you make your business website available in the local language and it’s optimized with good content. Make sure it directs’ users to social media profiles in their local language as well. It’s unhelpful when a user reads only French and clicks to learn more about your business, and your profile is in English.
Content worth reading is cleverly catered to its readers. Content worth sharing is usable, understandable and valuable across multiple platforms and languages on a global scale.
Courtney Capellan is a Digital Analyst for hotelmarketingWorks. When she’s not writing about marketing trends she enjoys writing fiction, practicing yoga and treasure hunting. Follow her on Twitter @courtcapellan