Why should you translate your blog?
So you’ve managed to make it into that coveted niche of bloggers who actually make a few bucks. Maybe you make more than a few bucks. Whether cents or Franklins, you’re obviously doing something right. If you want to reach out to a wider audience, you need to start thinking big. And to think big you need to think global.
Going global can seem like a daunting task, especially when you decide to take your blog multilingual. But with a little know-how, you can translate, localize and optimize your posts for visitors overseas. Then all you have to do is sit back and watch both your rankings and your revenue rocket.
To translate or not to translate?
Why not? If you’re going to speak to an international audience, it surely makes sense to talk to them in their own language.
The biggest reason to translate, however, is for the simple reason that it’s much easier to reach the top of the search engine rankings in a language other than English. With so much English content, the keyword market has been completely saturated, leaving an open (and obvious) pathway for foreign language content. With less competition and less content, it means your foreign language blog is immediately more prominent than that of your English-language competitors.
Where do you start?
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, you’ll need to find some way of getting your finely crafted English content into finely crafted foreign language content. The quickest and cheapest way of doing this is by using an online translator like Google Translate. Alternatively, there are a whole host of plug-ins, widgets and tools out there that are designed to help you with your multilingual efforts. Some will even help you out with picking out useful keywords for SEO purposes (more on that later).
Be warned, however, that while machine translation is a marvellous tool for working out just what the heck people are trying to say to you, completely accurate translations are few and far between. Machines tend to struggle working out idioms, turn of phrase or other linguistic quirks, and they can (if you’ll forgive the cliché) get lost in translation. The best way by far to avoid this is to hire the services of a native speaker, whether a friend or a professional, who can help you properly translate your blog posts.
While you don’t have to change your content too much (the duplicate content rule doesn’t apply in a foreign language), don’t forget to remove any local references from the text. Even well-known celebrities in your home country can be nobodies across the other side of the world. Also remove any references to cities or places that won’t be relevant to a non-native. And when writing English-language content, the old adage is king, Keep It Simple, Stupid! It’ll make it easier to translate and ultimately easier for your audience to read.
Optimizing your multilingual blog
It stands to reason that a multilingual blog needs multilingual keywords. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as merely translating your successful English-language keywords into your target language. While this may work for a small number of keywords and long-tail terms, those searching in a different language are also prone to searching in a different way too. Even those speaking English on the opposite side of the Atlantic use different words to explain the same thing. Consider, for example, an American heading to the ‘grocery store’ with a ‘shopping cart’, while a Brit would go to the ‘supermarket’ with a ‘shopping trolley’. A native speaker can both help you translate your keywords properly and help you to brainstorm any words or terms that may have passed you by. And, as always, make sure to track your popular keywords, and continually refine your efforts.
With a little bit of effort, your blog could soon be top of the search engine shop in all four corners of the globe, and everywhere in between.