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Overcoming Your Cultural Bias with Global SEM Translation and Localization

Global SEM translation and localization is an important and often overlooked half of launching your brand in a new market. Global SEM refers to global Search Engine Marketing. The goal of global SEM is optimizing translated and localized landing pages and other content for prominent rankings in international searches.

While the goal of global SEM translation and localization is largely the same as it is in the U.S. (drive your business goals), there’s a domestic cultural bias when it comes to global SEM translation and localization. This is primarily true when it comes to localizing strategy. While we all agree that it’s essential to translate the right search terms and localize phrases so that what we mean in English is as effectively communicated in the target language, surprisingly little thought is frequently given to the localization of strategies, tools, and metrics involved in global SEM.

Global SEM Translation

For example, which search engine do your customers in the target market use? In China, Google is not the first choice, while in the U.S. no one can ignore Google’s search domination. Baidu is a vastly preferable search engine in China, and the implications of optimizing for Baidu may shape your content strategy. The same is true of the analytical tools used to inform your global SEM translation and localization strategy. Using Baidu analytics is superior to using Google’s, as Google’s servers are hosted outside China and suffer somewhat in terms of performance and accuracy.

A good question to ask yourself with global SEM translation and localization is “What do my users see when they search?” Though the majority of U.S. users may never drift beyond the first page of ten or so results, Korean users are perfectly used to reviewing more than thirty results on a single page. (In some countries, paid search and organic results appear mixed together, too.)

Issues of language are obviously central to global SEM translation and localization. Are you tuned into the terms related to your brand that users are searching for in their native language? Do you know where to research terms in your target market? Enlisting the help of in-country talent can be helpful when performing a deep dive on global SEM translation and localization.

Generally, this maxim is a good one: Who can connect us to the local resources in our market? This might mean an agency with solid contacts in areas of web analytics and online marketing. The main objective is to get your understanding aligned with your customers and make decisions about your global SEM translation and localization strategy accordingly.

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Acclaro is a localization and translation agency that helps the world’s leading brands succeed across cultures. We specialize in expertly adapting brands, products and services to new languages markets. As one of the world’s leading, we equip clients for success in global markets through a variety of localization services.

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