Translation And SEO. How To Avoid The Duplicate Content Issue For Google?

When a company operates in several foreign markets, the need to create several language versions of the site is obvious. However, the content of each subsequent language version should not be a direct translation of the previous one. Each language version should be unique in its own way and have its own SEO attributes.

Take into account the specifics of linguistic constructions

This is one of the biggest and most important parts of localizing your content in case you are not going to translate it directly. Sometimes, if you are using a language spoken in several regions, you will have to customize it for each particular region.

Let’s look at English as an example of this. There are three main English variants that we can discuss to fully understand the specifics of linguistic constructions:

  • British: In the UK, people look for “trainers” while in the USA people look for “sneakers”. The main difference between the three variants is the accent. Pronunciation also matters as Brits and Australians lose the “r”, while Americans pronounce it even when it’s at the end of words and syllables.
  • American: In American English, something called a “drugstore” is referred to as “pharmacy” in Australian English. The intonation or the pitch of your voice also differs in these three countries. An American’s voice goes up when asking a yes/no question, while a Brit’s or an Australian’s voice will go down. Besides, there can be different accents in different parts of each of these countries.
  • Australian: In Australia, UK’s “sweets” are “lollies” and in the USA they are “candies”. Slang varies a lot too just like spelling. Australia and the UK use the same system, while the USA has a different one. Such differences include “-er” and “-re”, “-ize” and “-ise”, “-or” and “-our”, “-og” and “-ogue”, “-led” and “-lled” and so on. The smallest difference is the grammar with Americans having different spellings of the past and past participle forms of irregular verbs.

Consider the specifics of the search engine used by visitors from a particular country

Another very important point is the search engine your website visitors use. Audiences from different countries will be using different search engines and sometimes Google is not the first choice. For example, if you use an online translation service like The Word Point to translate your content, you will have to tell them which country you are targeting.

To give you a general idea of which search engines are used in each country or region, here is a quick rundown:

  • Google: There is not much to say about Google as everyone already knows about it everything there is to know. It is the largest search engine in the world and it offers different services and functions including maps, translation, cloud storage, and more.
  • Baidu: The biggest search engine in China with its own algorithm for ranking web pages. In fact, it is one of the largest search engines in the world thanks to China’s population of over 1.3 billion people. Just like Google, Baidu offers various additional services such as a dedicated app store, mobile app development, AI systems, cloud data storage, maps, and image hosting.
  • Yandex: This one is extremely popular in Russia and the nearby territories. One of the top services that Yandex provides (yes, it also has additional services just like Google and Baidu) is AI. There are also image hosting, maps, video streaming, and translation. The layout and functionality are very similar to Google with the interface being quite easy to navigate.
  • Bing: This search engine is the second biggest one in the United States. One of its distinct features is the ability to save search results that you want to come back to later. You can also get rewards and there is a separate translator service similar to Google Translate.
  • Naver: Being the biggest search engine in Korea, Naver also manages Asia’s biggest messaging app – LINE. It also has a variety of different features and services that give it an ability to become a great media platform for streaming videos and music.
  • Other Platforms: Some examples include DuckDuckGo, Key Takeaway, and so on.

Use the keywords that visitors from a specific country use in the semantic core of the site

Google AdWords is perfect for doing proper keyword research, but you can also use other keyword research tools for this. The point is to determine what kind of words and phrases are used in each specific country.

For example, if you are translating something from French, you may come upon a phrase that can be translated to English as “market study”, but nobody would search for that if they spoke English. Instead, you would have to use “market research” and “case study”.

Such nuances may seem unimportant, but they actually play a big role in optimizing your content for search engines in other languages. It’s similar to how people from different countries use “soccer” and “football” respectively.

On the other hand, there are some examples like “non-slip cell phone grip” that are used the same way in different countries. You will have to think through all these details before you publish your content.

Once again, find a keyword research tool that works best for you and use it. Some free ones can be enough, but you may need to get a paid one is you want to have more insight and access to a bigger number of features.

Target site content to a specific country in the Google Search Console

Creating mirror sites for your translated content is essential for your search rankings. You can also target this with the help of the Google Search Console. Mirror sites are identical in structure but have to contain different content.

One thing you have to understand is that making a mirror of your website is not the same thing as making a backup. It is somewhat of a static copy of your website where you can’t really do anything dynamic such as log into your account.

The process is simple. You will need to download every page on your website including such files as CSS, JavaScript, images, and static version of the HTML. A short rundown of what you will need to do (from your computer) includes:

  1. Download a special application or program that allows you to copy your entire website with one click.

  2. Install the software on your personal computer.

  3. Follow the instructions the program gives you. The process usually doesn’t require you to do many complicated actions.

  4. Now, you have the copy of your website ready on your computer. You can browse the copy by going to your desktop, clicking “File” and then “Open” in the web browser you use.

The process is a bit different if you are doing from another server rather than your computer, so make sure to keep that in mind.

Final Thoughts

All in all, if it is your first time working with translation and SEO in relation to your content, you will be a bit confused at first, but then it’s certain that you will be able to figure it out eventually. It takes some research to find the most relevant keywords, but it will be worth it in the end.

Digiprove sealThis content has been Digiproved © 2019 Antonie Potgieter

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