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When we translate and localize a website's content for different countries and languages, we're essentially creating another website. And that means that while we can certainly leverage a lot of the work we've done for our primary language, we'll need to go through an entire keyword and content strategy for each of the different languages we're targeting. Starting with the foundation of keyword research, you'll want to go through this process in the language you're optimizing for, and come up with language-specific lists of keywords that you can map to the content you're translating.
You can start out with translations of some of your top primary language keywords, but remember that many words and phrases don't translate directly between languages. You should expect that you'll find some interesting surprises and insights. Of course, you'll need to make sure that you have a native speaker of the language you're working with that also understands the cultural aspects of the country or countries that you're targeting. Once you've done the research and have a solid understanding of your translated keywords, you'll be ready to start the translation process.
The first step is mapping the pages of your site that you will be translating to the appropriate keywords you'll be targeting from your localized research. Once you know what keyword each of your pages will be optimized for, you'll need to ensure that whoever is doing the actual translating understands the basic principles of technical, on-page SEO. Titles, headings, and the body copy are extremely important, and knowing what keywords you're writing or translating for up front will ensure that you're creating content that's optimized for the right target terms, right from the beginning.
Lastly, you'll want to evaluate whether or not you need regionalized content within a certain language. If you're doing business in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, you might be able to get away with a single English version of your sight, but you might not. Knowing your customers and your business, along with looking at your website analytics data, and consulting people who understand the cultural nuances of each region will help you determine how to write your translated content for target keywords across the different languages, and whether or not to invest in additional country and language combinations.
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