How to Achieve High SEO Rankings with Translation


Companies across the globe are competing with you to stay as high as possible in search engine rankings. Achieving top spots in the rankings is difficult to achieve in one language, but when there are multiple translations of a website, this can become even more complex to achieve. It is no surprise that there are many pitfalls and mistakes that can be made when translating websites.

Here are some tips on how to get high SEO rankings with translation:

  • Keep product translations consistent. Not all product names need to be translated, and some should definitely stay the same. For example, if a Dutch company were selling block cutters, they would need to consider what word they are using in English. In Dutch, “block cutter” translates to steenknipper, which literally means “stone cutter.” It is important that when translating a product, you make sure that everyone in the company agrees and knows the accepted translation. Using two terms for the same product can actually hurt your ranking in the search engines. Use a glossary and style guide to remain consistent.
  • Pay careful attention to keyword translation. Consider the fact that a keyword in your source language could translate into multiple keywords in a different language. It is vital to keep keywords as relevant as possible. For example, if you are a company that gives guided tours and would like to offer your services in Europe, there are many translations for the phrase “guided tours” in other languages. “Guided Tours” is the right term in English, but in German there are multiple options: Stadtführung, Stadtrundgang, Stadtspapiergang, and so on. Which of these keywords should you use? Make sure the keyword that you choose is the one that is searched most frequently.
  • Use the right social media for your target. You can achieve a good ranking on Google with active social media channels. When writing posts in English on Facebook, consider your target audience. Perhaps you should post it on another social media website, if Facebook isn’t the prime social networking site in the target country. In Spain, for example, a social channel called Tuenti is as popular as Facebook.
  • Keep metatags short and simple. Metatags are incredibly difficult to translate. Every word in the metatag can be considered a keyword. The title of your website is vital to the ranking of your website. A good title for a website is difficult to translate into other languages. Dutch words can be incredibly long. To continue with the guided tour example, a specialist in guided tours in Dutch would be stadswandelingspecialist. When translating your website to Dutch, a translator might think this would make a great title in Dutch. However this is not the case. Long, complex, metatags will confuse the viewer and thus make for a bad metatag in another language, even if the translation itself is accurate. Make sure to tell your translators that metatag translations should be as short and simple as possible. And, consider working with transcreation specialists.

When translating a website or blog, keep in mind that each language has different keywords. What might work in English will likely not work in Dutch, German, or other languages that have high expansion rates. Always keep an open mind when translating, and make sure to direct your translation providers to avoid literal translation of SEO-related content. Your number one priority, and theirs, is for your web pages to be found by your target audience.

About Tim Oldenhuis

I’m a native Dutch translator living in the Netherlands. I translate for Coursera to help make education accessible for everyone. My interests are SEO, Gamification and Marketing. I translate website content and blogs, primarily from English and German into Dutch.