Keywords localization: How to get started

When we discussed multilingual SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we mentioned how it would be best to conduct keyword research for each language you want to localize. Keywords localization is a crucial aspect of doing SEO for foreign markets, ensuring that content is discoverable and relevant in different linguistic and cultural contexts. When a business expands into new markets, merely translating keywords from one language to another isn’t sufficient. Here’s what it means to localize your keywords.

Why is keyword localization important?

First off, search habits and preferences vary from one country to another, so what works in one market may not necessarily work in another. Localized keywords cater to specific search intents and queries that are common in the target region.

Different regions may use different terms for the same concept. For example, you would use the term “soccer” in the US but “football” in most of the rest of the world. Local idioms, slang, and popular phrases can significantly impact the effectiveness of keywords.

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As a business, it’s only natural to want to enhance search engine rankings and increase visibility in local markets. Localized content is more likely to attract and retain users, reducing bounce rates and increasing engagement.

How to implement keywords localization

As a multi-faceted process, any type of localization demands careful planning and execution. Each of the steps below involves understanding and adapting to the target market’s unique language, culture, and search behaviors.

Research and analysis

This is the foundation of successful keywords localization. Begin by conducting comprehensive keyword research to identify popular and relevant search terms in the target language. Utilize tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to explore keyword volumes, trends, and competition in the local market.

In addition to keyword research, perform a competitor analysis to gain insights into local SEO strategies. Analyze the keywords that local competitors are targeting and evaluate their content to understand what appeals to the audience. This analysis helps identify gaps in the market and opportunities for your content to stand out.

Cultural adaptation

It’s now time to adapt these keywords for new cultures. Each market has its own linguistic nuances, idioms, and colloquial expressions. You need to understand these subtleties to avoid literal translations that may not make sense or could be culturally insensitive.

To effectively adapt keywords, delve into the local culture and preferences. This involves understanding local customs, holidays, and trends that might influence search behavior. Engage with the local audience through social media, forums, or customer feedback so that you get valuable insights into commonly used phrases and search queries.

Engage native speakers

Native speakers possess an intrinsic understanding of the language and cultural context, so you can be sure they can provide insights into slang, regional dialects, and commonly used phrases that may not be apparent to non-native speakers.

Collaborate with professional translation and localization services to ensure that your keywords and content are accurately adapted for the target market. Moreover, involving native speakers in the testing phase can highlight any potential misunderstandings or cultural faux pas before the content goes live.

Technical SEO considerations

Technical SEO supports the localization of keywords. Implementing hreflang tags is essential for indicating to search engines the language and regional targeting of your content. These tags help ensure that users are directed to the most appropriate version of your website based on their language and geographic location. For example, hreflang tags can differentiate between English content for users in the US, UK, and Australia.

Additionally, consider the structure of your URLs. Localized URL structures, such as using country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) or subdirectories, can enhance local SEO. For instance, using “” for French content or “” can signal to both users and search engines the regional focus of your content. This can improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results.

Content adaptation

It’s important to create content that seamlessly integrates localized keywords while being engaging and relevant to the local audience. The adaptation process involves more than just inserting keywords into existing content; it requires crafting content that reflects the interests, values, and preferences of the target market.

You will most likely need to develop new content or adapt existing content to align with your new audience. Say that your brand is entering a market with a strong interest in local festivals, integrating these events into your content strategy can enhance its relevance. Also, make sure to optimize meta tags, headings, and alt text in the target language.

Monitorization and optimization

Localization is an ongoing process. Utilize analytics tools to track the performance of your keywords and assess metrics such as search rankings, click-through rates, and user engagement. Based on these insights, you can make data-driven adjustments to your keyword strategy.

Additional tips

Before leaving you to get started with keyword localization,we have a few recommendations. First, make sure you maintain a consistent brand voice. This means that while adapting keywords, you should ensure your brand’s core messaging remains consistent across all languages. We recommend developing a style guide that outlines your brand voice and tone to provide translators with clear direction.

Leverage user-generated content by partnering with local influencers or bloggers who can create content using your localized keywords. This is a good way to boost brand awareness and organic reach. And use social listening tools to track conversations happening online in your target markets. This can help you identify emerging trends and new keywords to target.

A translation management system can also be a valuable asset for managing the logistics of keyword localization; you can store your seed keywords and their localized versions in one place. POEditor, for example, integrates machine translation tools along with human translation services. You can use MT to get a preliminary idea of localized keywords for various languages, saving time and effort during the initial research phase.

By incorporating these additional tips along with the steps above, you can ensure your keyword localization efforts are effective and culturally sensitive and adaptable to evolving trends.

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