Making SEO a Part of Your International Strategy

Integrating SEO into localization is something that businesses either have no clue of or get completely wrong. In fact, several surveys have found that most businesses seem to have no idea of how to use SEO effectively in their localization efforts.

Most of them claim they understand how SEO works with regard to localization, but the harsh reality is that their efforts aren’t even being noticed.

SEO plays a very critical role in a business landscape where global search optimization is more important than ever. If a business’s localization efforts don’t factor in SEO as a prime requirement, failure is inevitable.

So, it’s time for companies to have that much-needed meeting with their localization teams regarding what’s being done in the SEO integration area. Apart from paying attention to the entire process, companies also need to start looking at keyword management.

Know Your Process

The first thing you need to do is to get to know the localization process that your team uses. Sometimes, what you hear might just surprise you. For example, a common issue among localization teams is the inability to adapt their primary keywords into the target language.

It’s observed that, quite often, translators eliminate keywords from the original content for the sake of retaining cultural connotations and such in the translated content. However, this only ends up diluting the content in terms of its SEO effectiveness.

The translators only pay attention to the translation and end up leaving the actual localization to the marketing teams in the local market. In other words, most efforts to integrate SEO with localization ends up failing to align localization term management with keyword management. Simple translation ends up replacing actual localization.

Term and Keyword Management

It is necessary for businesses to understand how term management is handled as part of their localization efforts. The term base is a critical resource that can be leveraged to produce significant benefits. It is basically a system that manages terms that are relevant to the concerned business’s brand and culture. Other than that, it also serves a resource to employees who want to stay updated on the company’s terminologies.

Proper term management allows businesses to retain their original voice across the global market, whether it’s linguistically or in terms of how the brand is perceived.

Term bases, typically, are made up of product names, brand names, individual phrases, and product categories etc. that are relevant to the concerned organization. When this information is contained centrally, it becomes easily accessible to everybody who finds the need for it. This could include everybody from content teams and translators to editors and project managers.

Even the tiniest update to the base and you’re looking at several roles having access to it. So, just imagine if the term base isn’t managed with the utmost attention? Even the slightest mistake such as a spelling error can end up being replicated throughout the content line.

This is exactly why global search managers need to review the process and align term management with keyword management. In fact, this must be done periodically (maybe every quarter). Additions and removals need to be discussed with all teams to ensure that relevance and consistency are maintained.


Localization teams have complex and time-consuming tasks to deal with. Search managers have to factor this aspect of their work and start a dialogue to understand the process followed. Once this understanding is achieved, they can offer their input on how integration can be achieved with minimal intrusion.

They can also work on developing a roadmap for the localization team to follow. While that is being done, tutorials on keyword management and best practices can be shared.

Terminology management is a challenging task, but the term database is a very useful asset in terms of SEO integration. So, make the most of it. The ROI is worth the hard work.

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