Multilingual keyword research for international SEO

Experts in keyword localisation and multilingual keyword research

Does your SEO agency need a partner to handle your keyword localisation and multilingual keyword research needs?

LEaF Translations specialises in international keyword research. With our combination of multilingual keyword research, international SEO expertise, local cultural knowledge and experience in translation and website localisation, we are your one-stop-shop for multilingual keyword research and localisation.

Six months ago, LEaF were recommended by one of our SEO tool providers when researching how agencies deliver multilingual work and we have been incredibly grateful for this recommendation.

Head of International SEO, Impression

What is keyword localisation?

Keyword localisation means adapting a set of keywords for a different target market, often one with a different language. Keyword localisation does not mean translating keywords – instead, the seed list of keywords is localised by a native speaker with local cultural knowledge, ideally an SEO translator. The localised keywords are often not direct translations of the original keywords due to the impact that linguistic and cultural differences have on search behaviour and search volume.

What is multilingual keyword research?

Multilingual keyword research is similar to keyword localisation in that it also involves conducting keyword research in different languages. However, unlike keyword localisation, multilingual keyword research does not always involve a seed list of keywords. For multilingual keyword research, the SEO translator may be given a list of subheadings, URLs or an existing website to use as a basis for the keyword research, rather than a seed list of keywords.

One thing that keyword localisation and multilingual keyword research have in common is that they both involve conducting the keyword research for the specific market in question (i.e. checking search volumes, search intent, etc.). The main takeaway here: keywords should always be localised and never translated.

Why international SEO?

If your clients are looking to target or grow in international markets, you’ll need a multilingual SEO strategy. This goes beyond simply translating keywords from English and hoping for the best. It requires a professional balance of:

  • Multilingual keyword research
  • Native and cultural knowledge
  • Local SEO tools
  • International content strategies.

All of this presents a huge challenge for SEO agencies. Not only do they need access to multilingual research tools; they also need the staff resource and project management capacity.

There must be an easier way…

You’re in luck. There is indeed. You might have catapulted your client to the top of page one, but another language is a different ball game.

Did you know, for example, that auto-translated content often doesn’t rank? If your clients are using plugins, rather than creating new webpages or subdomains from scratch, then they will not rank for their chosen keyword.

That’s where our keyword localisation experts come in. We’ll save you time and money on tools, staff and proofreading: project-managing your clients’ localisation needs from start to finish.

SEO translation services

How our multilingual SEO strategy services work

There’s a key difference between translation and localisation – especially if you’re using a machine.

Machine translations simply switch from your mother tongue into the target language. They don’t consider dialectical differences, cultural norms or the intended use of the text. (For example, is it an ecommerce product page or a blog post?)

Localisation considers the reader – a native to a particular country or region with completely different wants and needs from your clients’ current market. Priorities for a Japanese audience may be wildly different from a British one, for example.

When it comes to keywords, translation doesn’t cut it. Different languages and cultures search in different ways and search terms rarely match up 1:1.

The only way to identify the best keywords is to do the keyword research for each respective language. And for that you need a native speaker who specialises in multilingual keyword research and localisation. In other words, you need a partner like LEaF.

You have the clients. We have the tools.

While Google accounts for 70% of searches, there are still 30% of 4.5 billion internet users turning to alternatives such as Baidu.

What’s more, “where to buy” and “near me” searches have increased by 200% since 2019. Multilingual SEO should not be overlooked, but it takes time, money, research and native expertise, which your agency may not have.

Using SEO principles internationally

The fundamentals of SEO remain the same across the world, subject to different search engine algorithms.

You know that content ranks highly by satisfying user intent. Now we need to take those principles and apply them with an international slant.

1. Consulting native SEO tools

Our SEO translators and localisation specialists are familiar with a wide range of tools to help them identify the best keywords for the relevant search engine, be it Google, Baidu or Naver.

In addition to Mangools KWFinder – the tool we use in-house – we are also familiar with keyword research tools like:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Dragon Metrics

When it comes to conducting the keyword research, we can work based on a seed list of English keywords, a list of URLs or existing English webpages.

2. Understanding search intent

Next is another level of research – looking at your clients’ performance (or their competitors’ if the venture is new) in other countries. Some products may sell better in certain regions than others. For example, there’s little point targeting international keywords for alcohol if it is banned in your target country.

3. Putting keywords into context

Once we know what your clients’ international customers are looking for, we can use keyword localisation to guide your content strategy. We can map the keywords to help you identify content clusters for different search intent, from information gathering to transactions. We can also provide keyword glossaries to ensure the correct keywords are used when the content is translated.

4. Housekeeping

With a defined list of keywords and a content strategy in place, it’s time to focus on the boring – but essential – bits. These may include:

  • Using pixel width to check page titles with considerations for diacritics
  • Writing professionally translated and culturally relevant meta descriptions
  • Localising your categories and tags, as you would in English
  • Checking for currencies and external links (pointing to the target language only).

International SEO made easy

We have created an in-depth guide to keyword research for multilingual SEO – revealing all you need to know about the importance of keyword research for international SEO, keyword research tools and a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works.

Why should I outsource multilingual keyword research?

If you want your SEO clients to rank internationally, you cannot rely on machine translations or plugins. Ninety percent of us will only buy from a website if it’s written in our native language, so your customers need assurance that their copy will convert.

Our team of native SEO translators are familiar with international search engines and their specific ranking factors. They can also transform your high-ranking English keywords into local equivalents, targeting the best-selling products for your clients’ chosen regions.

Multilingual SEO helps to:

  • Improve the user experience (a key factor for rankings thanks to Google’s Core Web Vitals)
  • Target international and regional differences
  • Increase your clients’ visibility in geotargeted, mobile search.
multilingual keyword research
document translation services

Multilingual keyword research is a job for translators – here’s why

Keyword research needs humans and international keyword research needs translators. SEO expertise is vital but so is an understanding of the language and culture for the country in question.

A Brit with a basic knowledge of Spanish and the help of Google Translate will only get so far with Spanish keyword research – the person conducting the research needs to understand how people search in the country in question to be able to brainstorm the right keywords. Keyword research tools are amazing but they need the right terms feeding in to them and this requires local knowledge.

Thus, the perfect fit for multilingual keyword research is a translator with SEO experience. Happily, LEaF Translations has a whole host of these experts ready and waiting to help you increase your website’s international visibility.

Our SEO translators brainstorm new keywords and analyse the results based on:

  • local search volumes
  • competition
  • keyword difficulty (how strong the competitors are for that specific keyword)
  • and the chosen strategy for the page in question (e.g. long-tail keywords, keywords with a high conversion rate etc.)

Multilingual keyword research & keyword localisation by native-speaker specialists

Every single one of our SEO translators is a native-speaker with a wealth of experience in both SEO and translation. Not only can they offer native expertise; they also have shrewd SEO insights and knowledge of local research tools.

We can offer keyword research in:

Let us handle the project management so that you can focus on servicing your clients.

Multilingual keyword research | Expert native speakers | SEO best practices
Website translation | Localised content

impression recommends leaf translations

“Sourcing reliable, cost-effective native partners to deliver SEO work to a range of clients across multiple markets is a challenge to say the least – but Lucy has made this a lot more straightforward! The quality of work has been great and the communication from Lucy and her native partners throughout each project has been exceptional. Deadlines have never been missed and I would strongly recommend having a chat with Lucy if you are looking for translation or optimisation support.”

Chloe Fair, Senior International SEO Specialist at Impression

Plant a tree with every project

Your clients want to target the world, but how about saving the world? LEaF Translations is proud to be 100% carbon neutral thanks to a partnership with Ecologi. Pick us for your multilingual keyword research and plant the seed.

Case study: Multilingual keyword research, keyword mapping and URL & title tag translations for the Chinese, Japanese and Korean markets, for a leading technical SEO agency in Leeds

We have been working with a leading technical SEO agency in Leeds since 2020, providing Spanish keyword research and translation services, as well as keyword research for the Chinese, Japanese and Korean markets.

While some of our keyword localisation projects begin with a seed list of English keywords, the multilingual keyword research for this project was based around topic clusters, with the English site content for reference.

Our native-speaker SEO translators used Dragon Metrics and Mangools KWFinder to identify the best keywords for the respective target markets – taking into account the different search engines used in China (Baidu) and Korea (Naver), and utilising their expert knowledge of the local culture. The comprehensive list of keywords included a back translation into English and search volume for the relevant search engine. We also mapped the top keywords to specific URLs on behalf of the client.

Our collaboration meant that the SEO agency was able to effectively outsource the multilingual keyword research so that they were free to focus on their areas of expertise, while relying on LEaF to deliver the Chinese, Japanese and Korean keywords and translations that they required.

The feedback I’ve had is that the work is very impressive. We’re all thrilled and will look to supply similar work in the future.

Senior Content Consultant, technical SEO agency in Leeds

Want to help your clients rank in other countries?
Let us handle the keyword localisation, so you can focus on the strategy.