If your business is looking to expand internationally, there are several aspects to consider, including localization, especially when it comes to marketing content, as doing so is extremely important for achieving success abroad. In our blog article “Expanding internationally – how it works,” you can find some useful info about what you should pay attention to in addition to localization.
In this article, we will be putting our focus specifically on marketing localization and everything associated with it.
What is marketing localization?
Marketing localization is the adaptation of a company’s marketing content to the linguistic, cultural, and other specific requirements of a particular country or region. Marketing messages and strategies are tailored to the needs and preferences of local customers. Differences in terms of language, cultural norms, consumer behavior, and other factors are taken into account.
Marketing localization can involve many different activities, such as localization of websites (including search engine optimization), ad copy, and marketing materials, adapting images and graphics to be culturally appropriate, and modifying marketing messages to better appeal to local customers.
One of the key goals of marketing localization is to help companies effectively communicate with their target audiences in various countries and regions, build brand awareness, and cultivate customer loyalty while boosting sales.
You can better reach your customers and make your marketing campaigns more effective by tailoring your marketing localization to each market.
What marketing content should be localized?
- Product and company descriptions, offers
- Websites, landing pages, news, and product announcements
- Texts, images, and multimedia content for web shops and marketplaces
- Advisory content, e-books, blog posts, customer magazines, newsletters with links
- Customer feedback and ratings as the basis for improvement and recommendation marketing
- Financial reports
- Posts on social networks
Why is marketing localization important for search engine optimization?
Marketing localization is important for search engine optimization (SEO) because it helps ensure that a company’s website and other online content are optimized for local search engines and local search queries. You can improve your search engine rankings and your company’s visibility in local search results by tailoring your website’s content to the needs and preferences of local customers.
When your company creates localized content with targeted keywords, the chance that users will find your website through search engines increases. This is especially important in countries where English (or your local language) is not the predominant language, as users greatly prefer to search for products and services in their native tongue. According to a study by Common Sense Advisory, 60 percent of online customers will not buy a product or service if the website is not available in their native language.
Marketing localization can also help you establish local backlinks (links from other websites to your website). Local backlinks are a key factor in search engine rankings, and businesses can increase the number of backlinks to their site by creating localized content that appeals to local users and that is more likely to be shared and linked to by other local websites.
However, it’s a common myth that website localization prevents a “duplicate content penalty” from being assigned to your site. The idea behind this is that you are penalized in the rankings if the same content can be found under different links. This can occur if you only partially localize your website into German, with some subpages like the knowledge section remaining in English, for example. This is referred to as “internal duplicate content.” According to SISTRIX, internal duplicate content can affect a website’s ranking in search results, but it does not lead to a penalty. If Google finds identical content on multiple pages, the various pages may appear in the search results on an alternating basis. According to Matt Cutts, who previously led the Web Spam team at Google, duplicate content only becomes a problem when it is used intentionally and excessively (that is, on an automated basis) without adding any value.
The challenges of localizing SEO-relevant content
Localizing SEO-relevant content can pose several challenges for companies. Here are a few examples:
- Language and cultural differences: Ensuring accurate and appropriate keyword localization, expressions, and content can be a challenge. Localizing SEO content requires a profound understanding of the target market’s language, culture, and search behavior.
- Technical aspects: For localization of SEO-relevant content, technical factors must also be taken into account, such as the optimization of website URLs, tags, and meta descriptions so that local keywords and search terms are taken into consideration. It may also be necessary for companies to ensure that their website is properly configured for local search engines.
- Algorithm changes: Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and companies need to stay abreast of changes and updates to ensure that their SEO strategies remain effective. This requires continuous research, monitoring, and adaptation in all target markets.
- Resources and expertise: The localization of SEO-relevant content can be resource intensive and requires a great deal of time, expertise, and investment. To make their strategies effective, companies may need to invest in local SEO experts or agencies.
- Content management: Content management can also be a challenge, especially when updates need to be made simultaneously in multiple languages. Making sure that the content remains consistent across all languages requires careful planning and coordination.
- Quality management: Website localization also requires rigorous quality management to ensure that the translated content is accurate and appropriate while effectively reaching the target audience.
Useful tools for marketing localization
Marketing localization is not a trivial matter, but luckily there are tools you can use to make it easier, more efficient, and less expensive.
Translation management systems (TMS)
Localization, as well as translation in general, is very often sub-contracted out these days, meaning that work is done by freelance translators or translation agencies. Although this reduces the costs and processing time of the orders, the supply chain gets longer and project management expenses go up, as more people are involved in the project and need to be coordinated.
A translation management system can help to reduce this workload while making the information exchange transparent and secure. The TMS is a centralized platform for creating, forwarding, and completing translation orders. In a nutshell, a TMS is the link between customers, translation agencies, freelance translators, terminology specialists, reviewers, and proofreaders.
Its central components are a customer-specific translation memory, a terminology database, and a translation tool. In addition, a TMS offers translation management and quality assurance features.
The open architecture of a TMS also enables interfaces to be used to connect various systems, such as for content management, product information management, machine translation, or authoring assistance. This makes it possible to set up a contiguous process chain for seamless data exchange.
You can find more detailed information about translation management systems and how they add value in our extensive article “All about Translation Management Systems (TMS)”.
Content management systems (CMS)
A content management system is software that enables users without programming knowledge to collaboratively create, edit, and publish web content such as text or multimedia elements (images, videos, etc.) using a graphical user interface. Four of the most widely used content management systems are WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, and TYPO3. What sets these systems apart is that they are all open source. This means that companies can adapt the CMS to their own needs with the appropriate programming work. In addition, the content management systems have very active communities that regularly release free and paid plug-ins that can enhance the website’s functionality.
If you create and maintain your content in a CMS, it is much easier to take the next step of localizing your content into a variety of different target languages. You can then use an interface to import all texts from the content management system and into the translation management system.
For more information on using translation management systems with content management systems and what you specifically need to consider, see the article “Website Translation Made Easy: Connecting Content Management and Translation Management Systems.”
Machine translation (MT)
Machine translation is a technology that automatically translates text from one language to another using software that analyzes and interprets the content. MT enables companies to quickly and easily translate content such as websites, marketing materials, and documentation into multiple languages in order to reach a wider audience and expand internationally with greater efficiency. While machine translation can provide fast and cost-effective translations, it is not always perfect and often requires that human translators carry out additional post-editing to ensure accuracy and readability. It can still be a valuable tool for companies that want to communicate with customers and partners across language barriers.
It must be said that the use of machine translation is not always recommended, especially when it comes to marketing content, but the quality is usually good enough for content like product descriptions, reviews, and posts on social media. Whether and how you use machine translation in your company depends on your very specific requirements. If you want to learn more about the topic, we have a whole series of interesting articles about it:
The bottom line
If your business is operating internationally now or will operate internationally in the future, there’s no getting around marketing localization. You need to adapt your marketing content to the specific requirements of the target countries so you can attract new customers and retain existing ones there. However, there are some challenges associated with marketing localization and specifically with localizing SEO content. You will need the support of local subject matter experts to overcome them, but the use of software such as translation management systems and content management systems can greatly simplify localization, especially when these two system types are used in tandem.
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