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Content Creation for Multilingual SEO in 2020 and Beyond

Less translation, more transcreation and in-market content creation is best

What Type of Online Content Will Reach Your Target Audience?

If you’ve had good online search results in spite of mediocre or hastily written content, you will have to rethink your approach. In the year 2020 and beyond, companies–and especially global companies–will need to create quality content specific to each market to optimize search engine results. Here’s how to do it.

Quality content refers to the topics you choose to write about and the translation or data creation methods you select to articulate your ideas. Both of these considerations are critical to reaching your target. And, since your intended audience is rarely looking for you specifically, you need to be strategic in order to get to the top of the search list once an online query has been made.

Why a Shift in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy Now?

Google’s new algorithm, BERT, is the driving force behind the need to perfect your content to optimize search engine results. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Google introduced it in October 2019 following the growing popularity of voice searches and longer queries. BERT understands these longer questions and, most importantly, the relationship between words so it can better determine the context of the search.

All of those little words–its, in, and–are now being used to inform the search engine about intent. That means Google’s more sophisticated algorithm will no longer reward content that is merely stuffed with key words. Similarly, content will be penalized if grammar is not on point because Google will likely opt for content it deems more relevant.

While Google initially rolled out BERT for English language queries, the algorithm now supports 70 languages all over the world. A BERT model is also being used to improve featured snippets, or answer boxes, globally.

Content Ideation: Where do You Start?

When developing your content creation strategy, keep your customers in mind and figure out what they want to know.

Brendan Walsh, Lionbridge’s Global Search Subject Matter Expert, trains employees at global brands to achieve exceptional SEO results. “It’s critical for content to be data-driven, by market. That’s the way to ensure relevance to your audience and ultimately generate the results you seek,” says Walsh.

Walsh offers these tips:

  • Figure out what people are asking in each region you are targeting by using Google to research popular queries.
  • Build a list of those questions and arrange them into a grouping.
  • Use that grouping to generate ideas for your blog, social media posts or website.

Companies operating in multiple markets should recognize that the same topic will often yield numerous results due to market differences. For instance, a company conducting research on electric cars may find that people from Los Angeles care about emissions standards while those from Quebec focus on performance during wintry weather. The same topic can produce wildly different query questions, which will dictate your regional content.

How Can You Achieve Multilingual SEO?

Organizations that operate globally and deal with multiple languages will undoubtedly have added challenges compared to companies that deal with one, local region. With quality content so crucial to search engine optimization, they should strive to create original content in each language that answers users’ questions, according to Walsh. The gold standard is in-market, data driven content creation. Nonetheless, there are other useful methods that can be part of the solution, he adds.

Next in effectiveness is transcreation, the process of recreating content for a target language and market, while preserving its creative and emotional appeal. And finally, while translation may have to take a bit of a back seat, there will still be a place for it. Ultimately, global companies may use a combination of these methods to meet their needs.

Lionbridge offers in-market evaluation services and can determine the best combination of in-market content creation, transcreation and translation to achieve the most cost-effective, successful SEO results.

Where are the Biggest Opportunities When Building a Content Creation Strategy?

It may seem daunting to get noticed within a sea of content. After all, there is only one winner when it comes to voice searches; it’s the one entry that your personal assistant chooses to tell you about. And in text searches, clicks drop significantly if you don’t make it into the top five positions.

As you come up with a content creation strategy, it’s worth noting that English is the dominant online language. According to Unbabel.com, English accounts for 55% of all online content; however only 20% of the world speaks English and a mere 5% of the population considers English their native language. As such, there is a content gap for languages outside of English.

Not only does a gap exist in content outside of English, quality lacks in the content that does exist. This is because so much of this content is translated from English as opposed to being designed for the market.

Global companies that focus on creating quality content for their non-English markets have the opportunity to make significant inroads to their target audience.

What’s at Stake if You Fail to Evolve?

Now that you have some tools to create some great content and maximize your multilingual SEO, be sure to use these methods. If you fail to evolve and enhance your content, you’ll lose traffic to local businesses who will focus on the local market. In our work with our clients, we have consistently seen that if you create worthwhile content, people will use it.

Get in Touch

Quality content is available in every language if you use Lionbridge. Learn more by contacting a Lionbridge sales representative today.

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Janette Mandell
Janette Mandell