SEO Translation vs. Localization: Which Is Best for Your Website?

by | Sep 18, 2021

People often confuse the terms SEO translation and localization, thinking they are the same thing. Although both are related to translation, SEO translation and localization are two different processes. 

seo translation

There could be numerous reasons for having a website accessible in multiple languages. You may want to expand your customer base or cater to local customers in a foreign country. By understanding how SEO translation and localization differ, you will be able to recognize what is more suitable for your website.

What Is SEO Translation?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a digital marketing technique that aims to get your website to the top of search engine result pages. Therefore, SEO translation is not your standard translation.

SEO translation refers to translating the content on your website in such a way that it does well on search pages, even in another language. It does not just require a translator but also someone well versed in SEO tactics. 

The Importance of SEO Keywords

Simply translating a page to another language is not enough. It is critical to also take care of SEO elements such as keywords, tags, titles, etc., to improve the searchability of your website. For instance, when you translate your website directly into another language, your keywords and titles may lose their ability to rank well. Keywords play a vital role in SEO and high-ranking keywords in English may not be as relevant in another language.

What Is Localization?

Localization is also translation, but one step ahead. It does not convert content word for word into another language. Instead, localization adapts the content so that the audience never feels that it was originally in another language. Localization creates an engaged audience because the content speaks to them directly.

Why Culture Matters

Culture plays a significant role in the difference between translation and localization. Translation merely converts the text from the original language to the target language. On the other hand, localization ensures that the theme of the content in one language resonates with the audience in another language. 

Slogans, idioms, or puns, when translated directly, may not be as impactful. The same is true for product names or other content that uses wordplay. Localization does not directly translate them into another language but ensures that a similar message is delivered to the audience.

Localization can be applied not just to text but also to colors, symbols, and even hand gestures. Being culturally aware is extremely important if you want to engage a multilingual audience.

  • Example: A thumbs-up sign is considered to be a positive gesture in countries like the US. However, in certain countries, such as Iran, Iraq, and Thailand, it is deemed to be offensive. 

What Should You Choose for Your Website?

Whether you should choose SEO translation or localization depends mainly on your business goals. SEO translation will most definitely improve the searchability of your website; however, localization makes your website more relatable to your audience.

A Combination Is Best

A combination of SEO translation and localization works if you want to appeal to your new audience and do well on search pages. Including both approaches in your international brand marketing strategy is a wise move.

Not everything on your website needs to be localized. Parts of your website that are more official or structural can simply be translated. This may apply, for instance, to terms of use, your privacy policy, static text, or buttons.

The Importance of Localization

Localization is more suited for the main content of your website. Your content should reflect your company values and effectively communicate information about your products and/or services. The message that you convey must be engaging to your customers, and localization can help you achieve just that. Localization should be an integral part of your multilingual SEO strategy.

Final Thoughts

You can engage your targeted audience in numerous ways. Localizing your web content is a great start to build a strong relationship with your multilingual customers. At Localize, we have extensive experience in translating and localizing content for brands in numerous industries. We adopt cutting-edge localization technology and industry best practices to deliver the best results. Reach out to us today to speak to a member of our team.