When it comes to effective SEO (search engine optimization), what works in one language doesn’t necessarily work in another. In fact, having your website translated into one or more other languages is just the first step in achieving a successful multilingual ecommerce business. Just as important is building effective SEO for translated sites. Hiring an SEO expert for this purpose would be an excellent investment in your business, but if your budget won’t allow for this luxury, you actually can do this yourself – with the assistance of your translator and/or a native speaker of the target language. We’ve put together this list of tips to help get you started.

Begin by making a list of your current SEO keywords and phrases

Then ask your translator/native speaker to translate those terms into ones with a similar meaning in the target language. Remember that this is rarely a word-for-word translation, which is why it’s so helpful to have either your translator and/or a native speaker to help.

Determine how effective your list of translated keywords are

Whether or not they have a high volume of searches and what kind of competition exists. There are several free tools available that can help with this. Wordtracker and Google Adwords, for example, give you the capability to select a language and location, then check how popular keywords are, as well as their level of competition. You’ll have to revisit this process from time to time since search engines routinely change their algorithms.

Make sure you reserve a domain name

For each of your target markets utilizing one of your most effective keywords or key phrases. If you plan on selling tools in France, for example, and a high-performing key phrase is “excellents outils” (“great tools” in French), then a good domain name for that market might be www.excellents-outils.fr. Choosing an in-country domain name is helpful since most search engines will place a higher priority on those domains.

Focus your SEO efforts on countries rather than languages

While it’s true that different countries may speak the same language, it’s not true that the same SEO phrase will be as effective in all countries that speak that language. For this reason, it’s better to be country-specific rather than language-specific when it comes to SEO.

Be sure to target the appropriate search engines

Google may be the search engine king in the US, but that’s not true throughout the world. In order to get the best results, you’ll need to become familiar with which search engines are most commonly used in your target markets and focus your SEO efforts on those.

Developing the most effective SEO for your translated website is time-consuming, without a doubt. But remember that the rewards can be huge and can mean the difference between success and failure for your ecommerce business in the international marketplace.