How to Get Your Translation Website SEO-Friendly
Bringing in new business through your website is becoming increasingly important for LSPs and translation agencies.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about making sure your website is presented in the best possible way not only to your website visitors but also to the spiders that search engines use to analyse your website.
Feed the Spiders
Search engine spiders crawl through a website gathering vital information that it feeds back to the engine. This then gets pumped through an algorithm which eventually results in your website getting a ranking in the SERPs – search engine ranking pages – in other words, the websites that come up when you do a search in say, Yahoo or Bing.
If a website isn’t ‘spider-friendly’ it can have varying impacts on the success of your website in SERPs.
It is common to assume that web developers, designers or agencies know what they are doing when it comes to structuring a website for SEO – some do, many don’t.
Designers and developers tend to think ‘front-end’; SEOs start with the back-end, i.e. all the important, hidden, structural stuff that spiders want to see.
To help readers who want to grow their LSP and translation websites, we have listed seven of the most common SEO-sins that are going to keep a website from ranking highly in search engines such as Google.
Create a Keyword Hit List
A website needs a keyword list. This is basically a list of all the keywords you think people will search for and that you want your website ranking for. It is important to prioritise these with a core set of keywords followed by a sub-set.
So for example your core keywords may be something like ‘translation company’, ‘translation services’ or ‘localization agency’. Your sub-set of keywords then will contain things like your languages (‘Spanish translation company’, ‘French translation services’, etc), sectors (‘life sciences translation company’, ‘legal translation agency’) or even your location(s) (‘translation company London’, ‘translation service Singapore’, etc).
You can create as many or as little variations as you want but what is important is to have a list that you use. Once a list of target keywords has been established, you must give each page on your website its own keyword. Everything on that page and behind it – text, images, meta information, URLs, etc. – must also use the same keyword(s) or variations of.
Further reading: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide
Top tip! If you want to see what some of the industry leaders do with their keyword lists, then head on over to our November 2017 Translation Services SERPs Report and download the excel sheet. In there we show you exactly what and how the top 20 ‘translation services’ companies use keywords to dominate Google.
Populate all your Page Headers & Titles
Every website page has what is called a Page Header as well as a Page Title. Your website may employ H1 tags, or header tags, which would replace the need for Headers. The Page Title is the text a browser shows.
For example, if you look at our website home page you can see we have set the Title to ‘Accensus : The Training Company for the Translation & Localization Industry’ – just hover your mouse over the words that appear at the top of the browser/tab.
The Page Header can be the same as the Title, if you set it that way, however, it is best to have different Header and Title to allow you to cover more variations of your keywords.
So, you might have the Title on your homepage as ‘Translation Services in Dublin, Ireland’ and your Header as ‘Irish Translation Company Specialising in Business Services’. This way you have covered 5 keywords – translation services, Dublin, Ireland, Irish, translation company, business’.
Again looking at our website home page you can see we made the page Header, ‘A Niche Training Company Setting the Translation & Localization Industry Alight’.
Further reading: Guide to Title Tags, Meta Data and Headers
Top tip! Also have a look at the data from our November Google SERPs results [link above]. This shows you what headers and titles the top 20 ‘translation services’ companies are using to help them get listed at the top of Google.
Use Keywords in Your Images
So simple, yet so very often ignored. All your graphics, buttons, CTAs and images need to be given proper file names. The names need to have the keywords in them suitable for the page on which it is displayed.
Before you save and upload any images to your website look at what keywords in the file name. When a spider comes to web page and sees the image on the page called “professional-translators-Zurich-office.jpg” it contains much more information than “upload_657576aa_small.jpg”.
Naming your images correctly feeds those spiders valuable information. Also make sure you give every image an alt tag. This is a description of the image which should have a slight variation on the image name, for example, ‘Team of Professional Translation Staff in Zurich Office’.
Further reading: The basics of using ALT Tag text for SEO
Link to Your Most Important Pages
To a certain extent spiders rely on you to tell them which are your most important pages and what they are about. Linking to your most important pages outside of the normal navigation system helps search engines form a picture of where you see the value in your site.
Make sure you link to important pages from blogs posts and internal pages. It is also important when you link to the pages to use your keywords in the actual link. So you would not want to write, “…have a look at our English copywriting services here.” Rather, you would write, “…have a look at our English copywriting services.” You are then confirming to the search engine what the page is about.
Try varying this throughout the website, so you may also use ‘English translators’, ‘Professional English translation services’, ‘English translation’, etc which all help add keywords to a page’s identity within the spider’s mind.
Structure your URLs Correctly
Messy URLs have a nasty habit of damaging websites. If you come across a URL which says ‘www.translation.co/index/category-21/123.php’ as opposed to one that says ‘www.translation.co/services/Chinese-language’, which one says more about the page?
Well a spider looks at it exactly in the same way. You have to make sure the URLs of your website are a) readable to a human being and b) that you use your keywords in the URL structure.
Further reading: Understanding SEO Friendly URL Syntax Practices
Create Consistent Content
Fresh, current and consistent content is so important for a website. A website that is launched and left updated will soon be dropped by search engines.
Search engines will rank websites with more frequent content higher than those that don’t’ so it’s crucial you have a content plan. Blogs are an easy way of adding content quickly and inexpensively.
Always make sure you link off to internal pages within your content using a rich list of keyword. So a perfect example is this blog you are reading right now – we are writing it to create relevant content to link off to the SEO Report (which we did above), our SEO Audit Service and our Blogging for Business pages. You need to do the same – create content around which you link off to your services, other blogs, etc.
Further reading: The 10 Types of Content That Work Best for SEO
Get a Place Listing
Search engines now place a lot of emphasis on providing local search results; the idea being if you are searching for ‘translation services’ in the UK, you don’t want a company in Australia and vice-versa.
To ensure you get ranked for local searches make sure you get place listings on Google My Business, Bing Places and similar websites such as local directories. The more places you can add a business listing with your address, telephone number and website, the more you will appear in local searches. Search engines want to know you are a legitimate business and this helps its spiders assess your credibility.
Further reading: Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search
Go check your website straight away! Are you committing any of these sins? Then stop today!