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The Difference between Keywords Translation and Keywords Localization

Targeting users in different languages and countries is always challenging for web content strategists and web content authors whenever they create multilingual content for global campaigns. In most cases, the content is translated from a source language into other languages. It is not as common that content would be created natively in each target language. For multilingual content to have the desired results including:

1) search engines indexing it and,

2) users acting on it

you will always need to consider the find ability and usefulness of the contentin the new language in order for it to be effective.


Global Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of adapting your multilingual content and websites for search engines in different languages and countries to maintain the best rank and visibility in the search results also known as search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keywords have always been and will always be at the core of search engine marketing and optimization.

Keywords are an essential part of online content both for organic SEO and paid SEM campaigns. You will always need to focus on the right keywords used in your web content to avoid attracting a different target audience than you planned, and avoid losing opportunities in the local markets you are trying to reach with a campaign. Choosing the right keywords and researching and localizing correctly for online content in different languages is critical because keyword translation is NOT really just about translating, but researching and localizing for a target locale.

Many online marketers and webmasters stillseem to think that keyword translation and keyword localization is the same thing. The fact is, it is never the same.

Keywords Translation versus Keywords Localization

Keywords translation is the process of providing your keywords in a different language. Usually this process is completed inherently with a website translation project. It is really for the human readers but without consideration for the search engines. The challenge with just translated keywords is while it may serve its purpose to accurately convey meaning and be friendly to your readers; it may not be serve its purpose to be friendly to search engines.

Some Examples of Keyword Localization:

Translating keywords only sometimes is problematic because each country and online users group has different set of keywords when they search online even for the same search term they are looking for on search engines. It even happens sometimes with the same language like English-US and English-UK. Let’s provide some examples to explain more about these issues.

  • In USA market online consumer use commonly the term “Auto” when it comes to “Cars” while in UK the word “Car” is used more commonly. Which means if a firm is providing loans in both markets they must use “Auto loan” in the United State website while they must use the keyword “Car loan” in The UK website in order to reach.
  • For real estate businesses the keywords like “Accommodation, Apartments, Housing, Residences” could vary from a country to another, and not just that but also from city to another. Geo-targeting is very important when it comes to selecting PPC keywords or SEO copywriting.
  • In UK market people use the keyword “Hols” when they are searching online for “Holiday” with average 90,500 monthly searches. Which means if you are selling holiday’s packages in UK you need to localize your keywords for this specific market according to the most common keywords for the local users?
  • Another example for Spanish language: “Coche” is commonly used for “car”, while in Latin America (Argentina), the same Spanish word may be more commonly used for “baby-stroller”. So are you looking for people that want to buy a car or a baby stroller?


Keywords Localization is translating your online content for a specific locale. A marketing slogan or message in one language might be a total disaster in a different one. Accurate Keywords localization will guarantee better search engine results because these are the words your potential customer actually use when they perform searches.

To achieve the best SEO localization results itreally requires more a combination of three tasks:

a) language localization

b) keywords localization

c) local keyword research

To accomplish this mission and build your successful multilingual keywords list you will need to address the following:

  • Professional localization of the keyword list.
  • Adapting the keyword list to the locale (combination of language, culture and geography).
  • Researching the target online market for new keyword ideas, the most relevant and competitive (local trends, local events, etc).
  • Testing keywords to make sure they are accurate to local search engines.

Useful keyword tools:

  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool: a tool with advanced options to research keywords by country and language. Enter a keyword term and Google will provide many more keyword suggestions as well as monthly search volumes.
  • Google Insights for Search: a tool to research trends in keyword search demand over time in each of your target countries.
  • Wordtracker Keywords: Wordtracker helps website owners and search engine marketers identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to their or their client’s business and most likely to be used as queries by search engine visitors.
  • Google Trends: discover top trends andcompare multiple search terms – one more great product from Google allowing you to research and compare trends.