Foreign Language Long Tail Marketing

Keyword Research Mar 1, 2007

For those who haven’t noticed yet, HitTail is now translated into Deutsch, Francias, Nederlands and Italien. Connors already has a reputation for international SEO, but now we’re enabling millions of bloggers worldwide to optimize for the long tail of search in their own languages. So, you thought your long tail was long in English? Have you thought about the fact that if you have an international market for your product or service, you may have a long tail in the language of each?

Seems difficult? Yes. Yes, it is.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it. SEO becomes proportionally more difficult with each language you target. This is why PPC is such a good idea for international search marketing. You only have to naturally optimize your native language site, and a few landing pages. Then, you translate your keyword list and drop it into AdWords or Panama. The amount you have to translate is reduced, and you don’t have to deal with the complexity of translating language-specific idioms.

So, is optimizing for natural search in foreign languages a hopeless task? Do you have to translate your entire website, and keep all the varying versions in sync?

Nonsense! This is yet another advantage of using blogging software for natural search. No one is going to expect you to go back and retroactively translate blog posts to keep them in sync. Blog posts are sort of an imprinted memory of what you were thinking at the time. It gets you off the hook. Your blog posts in different languages don’t even need to say the same thing. Merely, the headlines should be rough equivalents of each topic you’re targeting.

In other words, you only need the headlines to match in each language. And even that is a rough estimate, because the keywords you SHOULD be targeting could vary in each market, based on culture and nuance. So, how do you know which keywords you should target in each language?

Hmmmm, let’s see…

You could use… HitTai!

That’s right. Do you need a way to truth-check what your native language-speaking translators are telling you? Translate some initial “seed” content into each language. Make sure your most-important benchmark keywords are included somewhere in the copy of those translations. Then, ask your native language translator to translate your blogs into each language as you go.

There will reach a point where the data being collected by HitTail will give you new insights into the local markets. These insights may show you that you were totally off base in your initial translations.

Case in point: we refer to natural search as the elephant in the room of any online marketing discussion. Why? Because all roads lead you to “buying” your traffic. Some of the powers-that-be would love to close that lovely loophole whereby quality content producers still get their traffic for free. Who gets anything for free in this world? Who would make a product that lets you get something for free, and provides that product for free? We did it. And now we’re telling you how we did it. But our elephant doesn’t translate, because it’s an American English idiom. What’s an idiom? Shooting from the hip, I’d say it was an expression that makes sense because of cultural context. But then, I’d be flying by the seat of my pants. Our elephant in the corner of the room, somehow becomes a pink elephant in translation. So, our unspoken natural search friend becomes an alcoholic delusion. Anyone who has listened to the English-to-Japanese translations translated back to English knows exactly what I mean. If you haven’t had this experience, it’s a necessary experience for any online marketer dealing with language translations.

The bottom line is that, thanks to HitTail and long tail search marketing techniques, the actual copy on the page doesn’t have to be long to be effective. Take advantage of that fact, and put your limited translation resources into culturally-correct headlines. Then, either translate very little on the page itself, or find yourself a native language-speaking blogger who can translate the essence of your posts. Do this for the first bunch of posts that you’ve already made, then see what suggestions start coming in. Adjust your new foreign language posts to make the most of HitTail suggestions and cultural context. Forget about translating the bulk of your main website into every language, unless you’ve really got that sort of resources. Let each language-specific blog take on a life of its own. This is like how Coke allows it’s regional companies to adapt their offerings for each country.

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