Non-English SEO – How to do it and why

Non-English SEO – How to do it and why

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The first thing that is on an SEO expert’s mind after completing the default strategy on their website is how to expand it to different markets. This naturally includes strategies in different languages, link building campaigns, content plans, and various other features.

 

A rookie SEO expert would believe that WordPress’ feature of translating the articles already live on the website is good enough, but they would be quite wrong about it. The feature is very lackluster and fails to convey the same kind of value, message, and quality of the original. This can either be expressed in the general structure of the article, or the placement of keywords.

 

Not all translated keywords are keywords in themselves. Every language has its own “approach” to how people search for things, so it’s a bad idea to rely on the default translation feature. Even Google translate is not good enough for such a task.

Content Optimization

When it comes to content optimization, the best thing an SEO expert can do is rewrite the website into a new language from scratch. Yes, this may seem like a futile approach, but even if it increases the traffic by 1%, it’s more than worth it.

 

The most common approach to optimizing existing content in another language is Google Translate. No matter how we may look at this tool as a “last resort” type of approach it does indeed provide some value when we want to communicate with a foreigner.

 

However, when it comes to translating already indexed content, it’s a guaranteed way to earn a few penalties from Google.

Because imagine. You have written an article in English and published it on your website that is in Google’s database. Naturally, Google already has translated versions of it stored on the database as well, meaning that after using the translate tool, you’re still getting plagiarism.

 

This would absolutely devastate a website’s authority as well as your future marketing plans. Recovering from a Google fine is not as easy as it may seem. Sure, you can pay it off, but the stain on reputation remains for years to come, making all future attempts at increasing ranking just half as effective.

Link-building

Now let’s talk about linking to a website that is in a foreign language. You’ve probably seen a few times how an English anchor text is leading to Spanish, Portuguese, or French sites. This is quite a common practice for SEO experts and it’s not necessarily a wrong one.

 

Despite the fact that the most effective approach is to build links from the corresponding language website, it’s still possible to earn some SEO juice through English anchors. Why? Because of the same fact, we mentioned before. Google always has translated versions stashed in background databases, meaning that your English anchor also acts as a Spanish one, a French one, and every other language you can find on Google Translate.

 

Let’s bring an example for a Norwegian site, shall we?

 

If we take a look at this site, it’s immediately obvious that the target audience is Norwegians based on the language used for the website. However, a quick check for the backlinks shows that a large number of anchors are in the English language, while the majority still remain in their native tongue.

 

However, it’s easy to say that both these types of links have the same value in terms of ranking. Very rarely does Google diminished value due to a language mismatch. It only increases the value if the language matches and so does the topic of the link placement.

 

So, overall, if you’re an SEO expert tasked with increasing the traffic of your French website, for example, it’s okay to mix in a few English websites with your French websites for backlinks and still get a pretty good result.

Why go through this issue?

Now let’s take a look at why a webmaster of an English website would even bother to implement foreign language content on their site.

Most people speak English, right? Well, yes, yes they do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will turn into loyal readers or customers of your blog or website.

 

The main goal of SEO is to get a potential customer to the website. After that, it’s up to the content writers and the copywriters to somehow turn this potential customer into an actual one. This includes things like CTAs, visuals, and easy-to-understand content.

Even though this customer may speak a little English, there is no guarantee that they will speak enough to follow the CTAs provided.

 

Because of this, it’s highly recommended that foreign language options are provided, not only as a means of guiding this lead to a potential sale, but to also potentially rank with your foreign content as well.

 

Here’s the logic. If your English content is able to tap into around 2-3% of Spanish traffic for example. Why not take a month to optimize the website into the Spanish language to reach maybe 20-30%?

 

English may be the language of the internet, but nearly a Billion people speak Spanish and regularly search for queries.

 

All in all, it’s always a win-win situation to transform English SEO pages into foreign language ones by hand. This ensures that your page is protected from any potential violation of Google’s guidelines, and gives you a shot at tapping into this foreign language even by a little bit.

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How To Write TOP Content If You’re Not A Native English Speaker

How To Write TOP Content If You’re Not A Native English Speaker

How To Write TOP Content If You’re Not A Native English Speaker

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I’m not a native English speaker and here’s my confession:

  • I’m a trained translator with a degree in my pocket.

I speak English fairly well, but I never thought I would ever create content on my own. 

When I got to the English-speaking world of content marketing, I was lost, frustrated, and paralyzed with insecurity. I strongly doubted if I could ever enter a league of those smart guys who create killer content.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if I could write anything high-quality at all.

If you’ve ever been in my shoes, this article is for you.

I’m going to share the tips and tricks that have worked (and still work) for me.

A plan to write a better content

To begin with, there are only two points you need to consider when writing content.

The first:

  • Most likely, you will never be able to speak, think, or write like a native speaker.

Being fluent isn’t all about vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and all of the other ‘technical’ aspects. The trickiest and most complicated part is the cultural background. It may take years of living in the country before you really “fit in”.

The second:

  • You can’t know everything, but you can be an expert in your niche.

Digital marketing is global.

And it accepts people from all cultures and nations. Many of those who create TOP content aren’t native speakers.

Just try to be as good as them.

If you’ve decided to accept the challenge, here are some tips to help you out.

8 Tips To Help You Create Top Quality Content

1. Idea over spelling

When I first tried guest posting, I focused on grammar, wording, and spelling.

I checked and weighed every single word as if I was writing a novel.

But my posts got rejected quite often. I blamed it all on my ignorance and poor English.

Strange, but the idea of simply bad or irrelevant content never passed through my mind.

But here’s the fact:

  • In most cases, it’s the content itself that makes editors reject posts, not grammar.

Accept it, and concentrate on looking for good ideas rather than pretending to look native. I promise your writing will be more fun.

And remember, an idea has no nationality.

  • “But where do I take those ideas from?”

That’s a good question.

Here’s my starter pack of sources:

1) Your or your team’s cases

If there’s anything worth trying that you or your team has made or tried, go ahead and write about it.

Case studies are popular and usually get a lot of likes and shares. What’s more, describing your own experience can be less complicated than writing about someone else’s.

2) Steal an idea from other blogs/forums/etc.

I love reading stories about how writers find ideas for their books. In many cases, their inspiration came from rumors, news, or various talking points.

In a similar way, you may find content ideas in forums, blogs, discussions, or on Q&A resources like Quora.

If people are always talking about something that really worries them, why not use it to create your content?

3) Resource articles

This type of article doesn’t require polished writing skills, but it needs lots of research and background work.

The good news is that a resource article is a great way to get lots of traffic and shares.

There was recently a wonderful post that described clever ways to create resource articles. I highly recommend taking a look at it.

2. Read a lot of QUALITY content

Read quality content

It’s always a good idea to learn from the gurus.

One of the most stunning abilities of the human mind is to absorb information and adapt to it. That’s why quality reading may improve your writing as well.

But it’s important to filter what you read.

After I first faced digital marketing, I started digesting every single article I could find. It didn’t play to my advantage.

Instead, my mind turned into a massive trash bin.

Since then, I have radically changed my attitude to reading.

Here’s a step by step guide I have developed for quality reading:

1) Make a “TOP-5” list of quality blogs, magazines, newsletters

Mark my words, you won’t be able to read more than 5 regularly without getting lost.

To find the best content quickly, use Google:

  • “TOP bloggers in /your niche/”
  • “Best /your niche/ blogs”
  • “Best blogs about /your niche/”
  • etc.

2) Subscribe to newsletters to get updates directly to your email

This is optional and I know a lot of people who don’t like it.

However, in my case, it helped me develop a habit of regular reading and helped me to greatly organize my work environment.

3) Use tools to organize your content

There are various automated tools that allow you to keep all of your content in one place.

What’s more, you can filter, sort, bookmark, and customize what you read.

I ignored automated tools for a long time. Then I started drowning in information.

I like Feedly, Flipboard, and Instapaper apps, but you are free to find your favorite one.

4) Learn phrases and expressions

It’s all about writing, isn’t it?

Try to taste the language of experienced content marketers.

I’m sure you’ll notice that they use lots of phrases and expressions that make their writing creative and entertaining.

Why not use them in your articles?

  • You can use apps like My Words to store and memorize words.

3. Native speaker ≠ proofreader

If you have a native English speaker in your team, consider yourself lucky.

If you can hire a professional native English proofreader, consider yourself twice as lucky.

Anyway, many of us don’t have access to such luxuries but we still have a lot of international friends.

If you decide to ask your friend or colleague to review your post, keep in mind two important things:

1) Not all native speakers are qualified to proofread texts

I often proofread texts in my native language for my workmates. They make lots of confusing mistakes.

We are all native speakers, but we also all have a different language expertise.

That’s why you should keep in mind that sending a copy to your overseas friend doesn’t guarantee he or she will correct all of your mistakes.

2) However, a native speaker CAN detect cultural and language inconsistencies

The good news is that any native speaker will immediately point out bad wording. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase:

  • “We don’t speak like this”.

They’ll also point out cultural mistakes. In many cases, these mistakes are far more critical than poor spelling.

So, take your friend’s helping hand, but do so wisely.

4. If you write guest posts, write for quality blogs

When you are a beginner, it’s hard to get published in a respected blog. However, nothing is impossible.

Most quality blogs and magazines have great editorial teams.

Write something worth publishing and pitch your idea in a clever way. Editors will help you improve bad wording and correct spelling mistakes without changing the main idea.

How to find quality blogs? Refer to point #2.

5. Use automated spelling tools

Automated spelling tools

Don’t underestimate the power of automated tools like I used to.

Sometimes a simple built-in spellchecker isn’t enough. Automated tools can detect grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, find overused words and cliches, and alert you if your sentences are too complex and hard to read (like this one).

Of course, you cannot fully rely on these tools. They are not human proofreaders, and you’ll have to double-check your writing yourself.

But they still can help you avoid many of the typical and most painful mistakes.

Grammar apps

Here are my TOP-3 grammar apps:

  1. Grammarly – Detects typos, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors; finds cliches and overused phrases; scans texts for bad wording. They also offer a human proofreader service for premium users.
  2. Ginger – Works in a similar way to Grammarly; it has fewer functions but detects more spelling mistakes.
  3. Hemingway  This app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors.

6. Communicate with natives

Communicate with natives

The best way to catch professional slang is to talk to natives.

Try to contribute to discussions on Inbound.

Google and find popular forums related to your niche and talk to its members.

Try to answer questions on Quora.

In a couple of weeks, you’ll notice how your vocabulary has enhanced.

(You’ll also find new connections and ideas.)

7. Practice writing

Writing is like sport.

You need to workout regularly to stay fit. Challenge yourself to write at least a couple of pages every day.

This practice is called free writing.

It was described by Julia Cameron and Mark Levy. They encourage people to start every day with writing at least 3 pages. The topic doesn’t matter.

According to them, this helps free the subconscious.

If you don’t like handwriting, you can use web-based tools like 750 Words or Written? Kitten.

750 Words also provides analytics and charts for every piece you write.

Practice writing

When developed, this habit will help you write more, quicker, and better.

8. Detect typical errors

We learn a foreign language by means of our native language.

Each language has its specifics and affects the second language in its own way.

That’s why our mother tongue will strongly influence our English.

You can detect the most typical mistakes from people who speak your language and avoid them.

Google (in your own language):  

  • The most common mistakes in English”, or “The most typical mistakes in English”. 

Read and learn.

For example, the Russian language has no articles (like ‘a’, ‘the’, etc.)

So, Russians often omit them when speaking or writing English. I know this and pay special attention to using articles when writing my posts.

You can find the same tips relevant to your own language.

So now it’s your turn to tell me how you overcome the language hurdle:

  • Are there any tips you use for writing content? How do they work for you?

Let me know in the comments!

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