Is Your Translated Website Mobile-Friendly?

Last month, Google rolled out the “mobile-friendly” update to its algorithm. If you were caught unprepared to make your international sites mobile-friendly, it’s never too late.

Here are three important reasons why:

  1. More and more, it looks like the impact on search engine rankings are going to be continuous, and not a one-time event as the word “Mobilegeddon” may suggest. So, if your site has not been affected already by these changes, there’s always the next round of algorithm updates coming.
  1. SEO experts believe that the April 21 update was underwhelming. That is, it didn’t cause a sea change in search engine results pages (SERPs) on that particular day, but results have continued to change since then. Maybe Google wanted to give enough warning to webmasters to get their mobile game in shape. Take heart and take heed.
  1. Rumor has it that Google may eventually replace the “Mobile-friendly” tag with a “Slow” tag as a disincentive to stragglers. If your site does earn this ignominous tag, it’ll only be because you insisted on hiding under a rock. Now, we all know you don’t want this tag, so read on.

If you’re yet to launch an international site, you’re at an advantage after having read this post. You don’t have to make the same mistakes as your competitors who aren’t using translation software.

Even if you’ve already launched localized sites, you can still make them mobile-friendly by automating the translation process. Use a translation proxy tool to deliver your global content. It helps mobile SEO in three important ways:

  1. A translation proxy, like Smartling’s Global Delivery Network, delivers content to a localized site very fast from a local server, thus cutting down page load time drastically. In addition, it caches content on Smartling’s servers, contributing to exceptional speed.
  2. It helps save enormous amounts of time and developer energy in internationalization. So, if you’re in a rush to get your mobile-friendly French site or German or Arabic, using this tool will put you ahead in the race.
  3. The proxy tool works with a mobile site the same way as it does with a regular site. As most of the site content is re-used for the mobile version, the GDN picks it up and starts serving translations to mobile sites immediately.


Speed is a very important factor that’ll help your mobile site move up in search rankings, and translation software can help you achieve it. However, do note that responsive design is equally as important.

It’s not yet clear what other factors will come to be important in mobile search rankings. But, given that Google will want to provide the best results possible on mobile, just as it does on desktop, one can safely assume that the quality of the translated content will certainly matter.

Human, professional translation can get you the best quality. However, if you do need to translate website content very fast, then you may want to use machine translation, too. It’s a good idea to choose translation software that can scale easily and gives you enough flexibility in the translation methods you choose.