Localization is a crucial consideration in any marketing strategy. To explore best practices from video to web content and more, we hosted a three-part webinar series focused on different marketing areas. Part one discussed best video localization practices, including subtitles, voiceovers, and on-screen tests.
In this installment, we will focus on the importance of localizing web content; Gabriele Manasse, Founder of Bablic, will speak with Stevan Relic, Director of Product Management at Unbabel, as they discuss optimizing one of the most powerful tools in marketing – a company’s website.
Creating a Personalized (and Localized) Web Experience
A business’s website is often the first place potential customers will visit when they want to learn more about what you do – as such, an excellent first impression is crucial. By not offering a positive experience in the users’ native language, you risk instantly losing them to your competitors, keen to deliver the most personalized experience possible. So, how can businesses overcome this hurdle?
“It’s important that the website addresses the needs of your audience worldwide and not just your domestic one,” Gabriele shares. “There are countless studies in the market that prove that once you offer content in your audience’s native language, critical metrics improve dramatically. The conversion rate improves, recurring visits improve, and the bounce rate decreases. Some studies say that users are willing to pay a higher price for the same good or service to receive information in their native language.”
But, with so many regions and languages to address, how does a company decide which languages to localize first?
“Market research is necessary,” shares Stevan. “[What languages you localize for] depends on what you are portraying on your website, depends on your product, and depends on where you want to expand. In addition, time should also be a consideration, as some markets will be more difficult to localize than others, which means they require more effort.”
Gabriele shares that analyzing data is also a key point here.
“Simply look at your analytics,” Gabriele says. “There’s tons of data around what’s happening on the website. Look up your analytics and see where your traffic comes from. We can see exactly how many users we have from every country. And we don’t want to localize for a country that sends us 3% of our traffic. We want to ensure we cover the countries that send us a significant percentage of traffic.”
Prioritizing Web Pages
Once you’ve decided which languages to translate into, your next step is deciding which pages are a priority since, in some cases, it might not be possible to translate everything at once.
“I think that the first step in any business’s marketing endeavor should be to categorize what are my must-haves versus what are my nice-to-haves,” Gabriele shares.
While priority pages will always include a home page, product pages, and more, businesses can’t forget the must-have pages, including legal pages such as terms & conditions, privacy, and cookie policies.
Optimizing SEO & Localization
SEO is critical for your customers to be able to find your site. Businesses always want to ensure they rank highest and provide users with the most relevant information based on their search terms. However, these benefits can get lost if companies fail to adjust SEO for multilingual purposes.
“We want to translate our site so that not only do we convert our traffic better, but we also get more traffic organically,” says Gabriele. “All search engines make every possible effort to provide relevant content as a response to search queries, which means content that is in your language and accessible. So translation, unsurprisingly, will give a huge boost to your site.”
According to Stevan, many technical aspects must also be considered.
“Whatever you’re doing in SEO now needs to be restructured for other regions,” Stevan shares. “For example, if you’re looking at the technical parts, you need to be able to index to the entire contents of the site. That is also true when you do SEO in your prime language site.”
Additional considerations include ensuring the URL structure is clear and correctly translating meta content and the sitemap.
Creating Visual Appeal with Localization
While SEO can help attract visitors to your site, keeping them there is where visuals come in. Websites are designed to look appealing to visitors. However, businesses often don’t consider that a seemingly simple change in language might mean you’ll need to rethink your design to some degree.
“One key aspect is to pay attention to your layout,” Gabriele shares. “Not all languages are created equal. A sentence in English may take up some space on your screen. That same sentence in German might take twice as much. So, pay attention and make sure that your layout doesn’t break.”
“In many languages, words get written from left to right, but many languages are also written from right to left,” Gabriele continues. “It’s not just about changing the text, but when you adapt the entire layout of the website, including the direction of the language, that’s when you recreate the same experience designed in the original language.”
Are you interested in learning more about best practices in marketing localization for web content? Watch the entire webinar here and stay tuned for part three of our webinar series recaps.