Ah, keywords – the possibly relevant (but not relevant to Google) SEO helpers. Even though Google said “Adios!” to weighing keywords in its search results, it’s possible that Bing, Yahoo, and international search engines like Baidu still index meta keyword tags. That’s why quite a number of websites still use the keywords attribute, and that’s why localizing keywords is essential for a localized website.
Don’t Translate Keywords
Don’t assume translating your keywords is the way to go – it’s not. For the record, Smartling’s software ingests meta tags like keywords and descriptions for translation, but to get your site into local search engine results, translation is not enough.
A translated keyword might not match the right search term in the targeted country. People in different countries search differently, like the differences in shopping for auto insurance in the U.S. v. France. You might search for “sandals” or “coffee mug” but in Russia, the words for these items might be different. It’s similar to searching for a “cell phone” in the U.S. and a “mobile phone” in the UK.
This is where a professional translator can step in to determine what the right search terms are for the targeted country. You can do the research yourself on various keyword ranking tools (Google, Yandex, Baidu, etc.) but a professional translator can give quicker, more professional insight into localized search terms.
Lower Keyword Localization Costs
The cost of localizing keywords can add up. Consider the following:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”red, blue, green” />
Note that there are only three words to translate, but there are actually 15 possible variations and combinations of these three words:
red, blue, green
red, green, blue
blue, red, green
blue, green, red
green, red, blue
green, blue, red
If a translator were to localize every possible combination of these keywords, this would amount to 33 words. Now imagine this across meta tags with 10-15 keywords, and variations across all pages of a website. You can see how the costs add up.
Smartling’s localization software solves this issue by splitting up the keywords by comma. Instead of ingesting keyword groupings across the site, our software breaks the grouping into individual keywords, and the translators only localize three words. Then it puts everything back together on the fly – simple, modern localization at its best.