Why local keyword research matters

Search Laboratory


Integrating SEO into a translation project allows you to maximize the visibility, and therefore the success, of any new website. A key part of this involves incorporating keywords into the translation, in much the same way you would for content on a domestic website. 

Many companies would approach this by either translating home market keywords and then building these into the website content, or by translating already optimized domestic content. Neither of these approaches takes local differences in search terminology into account. By approaching this differently and conducting local market keyword research, you can maximize your chances of being visible in international search engines. In turn, this will drive more relevant traffic to your website and help maximize revenues. 

Why it’s important to do local market keyword research

Customers in different countries do not use the same terminology when performing a search for the same products or services. By doing a straight translation of optimized copy or using translated keywords, you will miss different terms that users in another country would use to search. Here is an example of some keyword research we did for a management and marketing services company for the Chinese market. The literal translation of ‘creative production’ is 创意制作, which had 0 monthly searches in Baidu and showed results for homemade art. By replacing this term with 创意设计, which means ‘creative design’, the company had the opportunity to appear in 1,022 searches per month and use a term that better represents its service. 


Search data accurate as of May 2018 

Here is another example of some research a German linguist conducted for a homeware company looking to enter the German market. By translating the word ‘homeware’ and integrating this into the website copy, the business could target 4,400 monthly searches. However, without local market keyword research, the company could have missed out on three alternative search terms for its products in Germany, and therefore 11,010 monthly searches and potential conversions. 

Search data accurate as of April 2018 

Finding the right search terms in different markets

No matter how good a mother-tongue English speaker may be at keyword research or at speaking another language, they will never be able to carry out keyword research effectively for a different market due to the nuances and cultural references only a native speaker will understand. The only way to do this successfully is to use a mother-tongue linguist who is fully aware of the local market and the terminology used. They should also have the necessary digital marketing knowledge and subject-matter expertise, to ensure all keywords are captured. This is even more important for niche or specialist subject matters. 

If you need help localising your website for a new market, contact us for a chat.

Everything you need to know to grow your business internationally

This blog is part of our wider B2B Playbook that is designed to help B2B businesses with all aspects of their digital marketing from leveraging data, acquiring more traffic, creating assets that resonate and succeeding internationally.

If you’re thinking of expanding into international markets, the international section is for you. Here we review everything you’ll need to take into consideration when going global.

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