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WhitePress - SEO Vibes On Tour - The importance of Localization for International SEO

WhitePress - SEO Vibes On Tour - The importance of Localization for International SEO

Slides for The importance of Localization for International SEO - #SEOVibesBarcelona (SEO Vibes On Tour by WhitePress), celebrated on the 4th April 2024.

Sara Fernández Carmona

April 02, 2024

More Decks by Sara Fernández Carmona

Other Decks in Marketing & SEO


  1. • International SEO Consultant • hreflang="es-ES" • Admin at SEO

    Barcelona • Calçots lover (no, they’re not simply onions) • Polyglot • Background in Translation and Localization • Master’s in UX/UI Design Hello! I’m Sara 3 /in/internationalseo sara-fernandez.com Here’s where you can find me 󰡸 speakerdeck.com/sarafernandezseo @sarafdez by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  2. The anatomy of a bad translation 5 by @sarafdez at

    #SEOVibesBarcelona • Fails to convey the meaning of the original text accurately. • Contains errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation in the target language. • Uses inappropriate or outdated terminology. • Sounds unnatural or awkward in the target language. • Changes the tone or style of the original.
  3. But what if good translations were not enough? 6 by

    @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  4. No, hreflang tags are not enough either 7 by @sarafdez

    at #SEOVibesBarcelona When you simply translate, Google may choose another version of the page.
  5. “Localization is the process of adapting a piece of content's

    full meaning for a new region, including translation, associated imagery, and cultural elements that influence how your content will be perceived.” 9 Welcome to localization. by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  6. Let me explain you with a potato 10 Kartoffel Herdöpfel

    Erdapfel by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  7. And with Mickey Mouse 11 Mikki Hiiri by @sarafdez at

    #SEOVibesBarcelona … and “Michael Musculus” in Latin! Topolino Musse Pigg Myszka Miki Micky Maus
  8. “Same” language, different words for the same object 12 by

    @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Tip: Optimize by country, not by language! But actually, there’s much more…
  9. Example: Coccolino and Mimosín 15 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Both

    names for this fabric softener brand aim to evoke feelings of softness, care, and comfort, aligning with the product's promise to make fabrics feel cozy and gently scented. They are not translations of each other, but rather tailored names to resonate with the respective local cultures and languages. Derived from "coccole" and "mimos" respectively, both mean “cuddles.”
  10. Brands: key reasons 1 Acquisitions Retaining well-established local brands to

    preserve customer loyalty. 2 Cultural fit Adapting names for linguistic ease and cultural relevance. 3 Market strategy Tailoring brand positioning to local tastes and competitive landscapes. 4 Legal compliance Navigating trademark issues with region-specific brand names. 16 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  11. Example: Vicks VapoRub 17 • Background: Vicks, a popular cough

    medicine, faced a unique challenge when entering the German market due to pronunciation differences. • Issue: The letter "V" is pronounced as "F" in German, making "Vicks" sound like the English F-word. Attempted alternative "Wicks" was also problematic due to its resemblance to a German slang word with sexual connotations. by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  12. • Solution: The brand was ultimately renamed "Wick" for German-speaking

    markets to avoid these issues. • Possible risks: ◦ Lack of initial market research and insufficient cultural awareness. • Prevention strategies: ◦ Ensure thorough market research is conducted before introducing a brand to a new market. ◦ Utilize local language experts for brand name localization and cultural context. The solution? Localization! 20 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  13. Trademark issues: Axe -> Lynx 21 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona

    Axe was launched in France in 1983 by Unilever. They introduced many products in the range, but were forced to use the name Lynx in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand due to trademark issues with the Axe name.
  14. Promotions 22 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Not every country follows

    the same retail calendar. For example, while the West gears up for Black Friday, China celebrates Singles' Day (11:11). We need to create tailored promotions that resonate with the local audience's cultural and shopping traditions.
  15. Festivities 23 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Festivities like Mother's Day

    are observed on different dates around the world. Tailoring marketing and promotions to align with local observances of global festivities ensures relevance and resonance with the target audience, and demonstrates respect for cultural traditions, enhancing brand perception.
  16. Names and titles 24 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona https://screenrant.com/moana-movie-title-different-italy-reason Names

    and titles often undergo localization to ensure they resonate with the cultural context and sensitivities of different regions. In Italy, Disney’s "Moana" was renamed "Vaiana" to avoid association with an adult film star of the same name, showcasing localization beyond language to respect cultural context.
  17. Colors 25 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Colors carry deep cultural,

    emotional, and religious significances across different societies. What’s appealing in one culture might be controversial or misinterpreted in another. Example: Green is revered in Islamic countries for its religious significance, representing Islam. Be ready to adapt your branding and marketing materials to reflect local color associations and avoid potential controversies.
  18. Cultural references and sensitivity 26 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Cultural

    references can deeply resonate with local audiences, making content more relatable and engaging. Cultural sensitivity involves understanding and respecting cultural differences and nuances to avoid stereotyping or cultural appropriation. It ensures that content is not only accurate but also respectful and inclusive.
  19. Example: 7-Eleven 27 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona A text mentions

    shopping at 7-Eleven, a convenience store chain familiar in many countries but not present or well-known in Spain. Directly translating this reference for a Spanish audience without adaptation could lead to a lack of connection or context, as the brand doesn't hold the same relevance or recognition. Solution: Replace or adapt specific brand references with names that are locally recognized, such as Mercadona, or explain what it is: “a well-known convenience store chain in the US, 7-Eleven…”
  20. Epic fail: Sundae Bloody Sundae 28 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona

    McDonald's "Sundae Bloody Sundae" promotion sparked backlash by unintentionally referencing a tragic event in Northern Ireland, underscoring the critical need for cultural sensitivity. Key lesson: Always understand the cultural and historical context of marketing messages to prevent offending audiences and harming brand reputation. https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/mcdonalds-issues-apology-over-sundae-17182535
  21. Cultural sensitivity: how to get it right 1 Research Conduct

    in-depth cultural and historical research. 2 Consult Work with local experts for cultural insights. 3 Empathize Approach marketing with empathy and respect for all cultures 4 Iterate and validate Test marketing strategies with a diverse audience and iterate based on feedback to ensure cultural appropriateness and sensitivity. 29 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  22. Practical localization 31 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona • Currencies: Reflect

    local currency accurately to build trust and clarity. • Units of measurement: Cater to local norms (e.g., kilometers vs. miles, Celsius vs. Fahrenheit). • Payment methods: Integrate preferred local payment options to streamline checkout processes. • Date and time formats: Localize formats to align with regional preferences (e.g., DD/MM/YYYY vs. MM/DD/YYYY).
  23. Are you familiar with this…? 32 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona

    Make sure to reorder dropdowns after translating them to ensure they are in alphabetical order in the new version as well.
  24. Legal requirements 33 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona Adapt content to

    comply with local laws, regulations, and standards (e.g., GDPR in Europe). Otherwise, you may have to call Saul ;)
  25. Localization goes beyond simple translation to adapt products, content, and

    marketing to fit the cultural, linguistic, regulatory, and market preferences of different regions. 34 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  26. How to create a localization plan for SEO? 35 by

    @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  27. Four key steps 1 Market analysis Detailed examination of each

    target market: cultural preferences, specific market demands, consumer behavior. 2 Competitive analysis A list of local competitors and their market positioning, analysis of their localization strategies, keywords they use, and identification of gaps for potential opportunities. 3 Language strategy Glossary of terms specific to the industry and product, adapted for each market. Language style guides for each country, including tone, formality level, and cultural nuances. 4 Legal and regulatory compliance Overview of legal requirements for each market (data protection laws, consumer rights, etc.). Guidelines for compliance with local regulations. 36 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  28. Local keyword research is indispensable for adapting your content to

    the linguistic and cultural nuances of regional audiences. Example: For an online knitwear retailer, the term “sweaters” resonates in the U.S., while “jumpers” is the go-to term in the U.K. Don't reuse keyword research conducted for the US market for the UK, even if the words don't change. Search volumes can vary because interests aren't necessarily the same across regions. Do local keyword research 37 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  29. Use local idioms and metaphors 38 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona

    • Local idioms and metaphors enrich content, making it more relatable and engaging for the target audience. • Local expressions can enhance keyword richness, aligning content more closely with the search queries native speakers are likely to use. • Using language that reflects local customs and speech patterns builds authenticity, fostering trust and a stronger connection with the audience. • Employing unique local idioms sets your content apart from competitors, offering a tailored experience that global generic content cannot match.
  30. • Specification of character sets, date formats, currencies, and measurement

    units. • Don’t forget localization for metadata and schema markup. For instance, mph or km/h in vehicle schema. • Plan for website and app localization, including UX/UI adaptations and support for right-to-left (RTL) languages, if applicable. Mind technical localization requirements 39 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  31. Use regionally relevant images and videos 43 by @sarafdez at

    #SEOVibesBarcelona Images and multimedia that visually convey emotions differ from country to country — representation matters. When you are trying to sell to people from different countries with different cultures, it’s essential to use an image that resonates with them. Examples of Nike in Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
  32. • Website performance ◦ Traffic by country/language, unique page views,

    time on site, new vs. returning visitors, bounce, and conversion rates on localized pages, and average sales comparison. • Online visibility & engagement ◦ Click-through rates, SEO keyword rankings, and social media engagement specific to target locales. • Growth & market penetration ◦ New customers, net revenue, average sales per customer, active monthly customers, retention rates, and market share in target locales. • Customer experience ◦ Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction, support ticket volume by language, and helpability score on localized pages. Monitoring and evaluation - KPIs 45 by @sarafdez at #SEOVibesBarcelona
  33. Thank you SO MUCH! We’ll probably skip questions for this

    slot, but do come and find me for a chat over a drink, I'd love to speak to you. ;) 46 /in/internationalseo @sarafdez sara-fernandez.com #SEOVibesBarcelona
  34. www.whitepress.com Sara Fernández Carmona International SEO Consultant Presentation delivered within

    the SEO Vibes on Tour by WhitePress®, 2024 47 /in/internationalseo @sarafdez sara-fernandez.com