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Discover how localization can impact your SEO ranking

Image source: Hi-Com

Has your company decided to make a brave move into the global e-commerce market?  If so, you may find yourself in need of an efficient yet cost-effective way of localising your website successfully.  In this article we will discuss the benefits of effective localisation when targeting markets overseas and the detrimental effects it has on SEO, and therefore, the overall success it can have on your online business.

What is localisation?

Localisation is the adaptation of a product or service to meet the needs and interests of a particular language, culture or country.  More specifically, with regards to international e-commerce businesses, localisation can also refer to the adaptation of a website and marketing strategy, to ensure that it effectively appeals to a particular audience. For example, rethinking factors such as visuals, currencies and the way in which a product is marketed, will better help businessesmeet the expectations of their international customers.

Furthermore, if your target audience speaks another language, adjusting the content of your site will not only to help it rank on search engines such as Google and Baidu, but it also means that it is far more likely that your visitors will actually convert into customers.

Image source: Hi-Com

Why is localisation important?

Website localisation helps businesses to reach a higher number of potential customers, increase their brand awareness, and as a result leads to higher revenue. It also boosts SEO, when done in the correct way.

For example, if your business is based in the UK and you would like to start selling in China, then in order to break into the Chinese market successfully, it’s crucial that you optimise your website and content specifically for Chinese consumers.

However, simply translating the content on your website, such as meta titles, meta tags, and image descriptions is not enough. You should instead consider other cultural factors that could impact your content, such as fashion, colours, customer behaviours, etc. as by doing so, consumers will feel as though they are able to relate to and trust your products.

Furthermore, a recent survey showed that multiple online shoppers agreed that when seeing well-written product descriptions in their own language and websites hosted on country-level domains, meant that a business is much more likely to be professional and trustworthy.

Another reason localisation is important when expanding your business overseas, is because if a visitordoesn’t feel as though the website is relevant to them or their culture, then they will leave and as a result, will increase your bounce rate.  This will mean that search engines will not consider your products to be relevant to your target audience.

What is SEO localisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) localisation is the process of translating website content into a specific locality; meaning that research is needed in order to understand any cultural references and social attitudes of your target location. Therefore, when planning to sell in a foreign market, it is vital that you understand how consumers are already searching for similar products or services and that you are aware of the search terms being used. You can then use these words and phrases within your content to reach out to more consumers.

For example, your business could be in the fashion industry and you might be planning to target countries such as the US and the UK.  In the American market, they use the word “pants” for trousers, whilst in the UK they instead refer to them as “trousers”.  Therefore, it is important to make sure that your keywords are appropriate for the market you plan to enter as it is common for terminology to vary from one country to another, even if the language is the same.  It is also important that they are high search key words and that they are repeated in the text consistently.

Effective localised SEO can also help you to generate more clicks on your international website. More clicks means more traffic, increased sales and therefore higher revenue. But in order to achieve these goals you’ll need to prepare your content and carry out thorough market research in order to know what keywords, links, graphics and layouts will be most relevant for your target market.

Localising SEO for your website  

Here are some things to consider when localising your website:

–  Define your target market and audience

–  Keyword research in the country you plan to target

–  Content localisation

–  Keyword and content testing to make sure that they are relevant to search engines

To localise your website you need to firstly decide which languages and countries you plan to target.  It is important to analyse potential markets and pick those where you have higher chances of selling your products or services successfully.

You can then conduct specific research in order to evaluate competitors and learn about current cultural issues.  Once you have decided, you can then make a realistic plan and start with a limited number of countries.

As previously mentioned, it is important that you optimise the translated content for the correct local keywords and that you use the relevant phrases in your page titles and meta descriptions too, as people don’t tend to speak in a rigid and formal manner.  It’s also important to work with human translators because machines can struggle to translate colloquial language.

Moreover, with the increased popularity of voice searches and users searching in keywords, localisation is an essential process if you want to boost your SEO and successfully penetrate the global market.


This blog post was originally published by Melchers’ Partner Hi Com, an international communication and localisation agency. The original post can be found here.


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