Everyone knows that it's important to think about SEO (search engine optimization) for their business website, but how many freelance translators and interpreters really take the time to adjust a few things behind the scenes in order to boost their website's search engine ranking? Before we dive in here, let me make a full disclaimer that I am no SEO expert. However, I have learned a thing or two over the years that have been very effective for me in my own career when it comes to my professional services website, and I want to share them with you. Let's get started, shall we?
Here are 10 simple ways to boost your translation or interpreting website's SEO:
1. Think about consumer behavior. Are the folks who would be looking for your services online using specific terms? What are they searching for? What are their pain points? It is essential to include key search terms in your website's keywords (you know, on the back end of the website) so that these people can more easily find you. This is a simple fix that will allow you to reap the benefits as long as people continue to use those search terms, and you can update these as needed.
2. Make sure your site is mobile friendly. It is also important to pay specific attention to mobile-first content, since most people these days are pretty savvy users of mobile devices. Your site should be mobile friendly, i.e. navigable and formatted to fit well on the screen of a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone. If you've ever visited a site that was not mobile friendly, you probably remember how annoying it was to try to read the content or find what you were looking for. This is another update you can make to your site that will improve users' experience.
3. Pay attention to your site's speed. It needs to be fast and void of those error message pages (think, 404 page missing stuff), as these types of pages can slow your site down, and will surely also put a damper on users' experience. Things like videos or images that are not adjusted properly for your site can also slow down the speed at which your website loads. Remember, you have mere seconds to catch someone's attention when they visit your site. So, it's important to get these things right.
4. Have high quality backlinks to your site. These backlinks could be things like a link to your website from a professional directory, or from an article you wrote for a respectable publication or even a blog post you penned as a guest blog. Think outside the box a bit, and make good use of backlinks! If you find that any links leading to your site are broken, take the time to kindly request they be fixed by providing the person or publication with the proper link. Sites that have high quality backlinks are also considered to be higher quality content by search engines, so don't overlook having a small collection of good backlinks.
5. Be smart about the "title tags" you use for your website. What are title tags, you might ask? This is a fancy name for another one of those behind-the-scenes easy fixes you can make. They are the title of your site's pages as you choose to name them. These tags will show up in online searches as the clickable headline for the search result.
It's key to get these title tags right so that search engines know how to categorize your website in a search and so that those doing the searching can easily find you. You can adjust the title tags on most pages of your website, but I'd argue that the most vital ones are the home page, your bio or "about" page, and blog posts (if you write them).
For example, you don't want to make your home page's title tag simply your name. If I put "Madalena Zampaulo" as a title tag, I would have no idea if my ideal clients were be able to find me, as they may not even know my name yet! Instead, it's better to use something like "Madalena Zampaulo | Medical Translator + Freelancer". Use terms in your title tags that describe what you do and that would make good search terms!
6. Keep your URLS short, and include some keywords in them. I'll admit this is something I work on myself, as I'm a wordy person. But keeping URLs to five or six words after the last "/" in a URL is a good goal to set. On the other hand, don't be too short or generic with your URLs either.
A URL like, www.thisisanexample.com/?p=abc
will not take you very far when it comes to search rankings, but one like,
is way more effective and should boost your site's rankings in search engines.
7. Choose your “H2" tags wisely! H2 tags are different from your title tags, but still relevant and something your target market might use in a search. These are called "Heading 2 tags" for Squarespace site users like myself. H2 tags allow you to break up the content you are sharing and give you the ability to rank even higher in search results. Think of H2 tags as the title of a page section or blog post, for example.
To show you what I mean, I've used the H2 tag "10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Translation or Interpreting Website's SEO" as the title of this post. It is designated as an H2 tag, which means it's highly searchable by anyone who is looking for this type of content.
8. Mention your keyword within the first 100 words of a site page or blog post. Believe it or not, by using keywords toward the start of a page, your site will rank better in search engine results. Brownie points if you use a keyword in the first sentence!
9. Keep your thesaurus handy for those LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords. The what?! This is just a fancy way of saying the synonyms for your keywords. Yes, you can use synonyms! Make sure you include them on your site's home page or in your blog post. This allows Google to determine how relevant your page is to search inquiries and will help to direct people who might be searching for the same thing using different words.
Let's say your keyword is "medical translator". You could include the LSIs "health and wellness translator" or "life sciences translator" as well. Check out this free tool to find semantic keywords to complement your primary keywords: https://lsigraph.com/
10. Optimize the images on your site! What am I talking about? It's easy... name them!
When you upload an image to your website, be careful not to leave the file names to read something like "IMG4781.jpg". Instead, give them a real name that includes a keyword or two. Something like "Medical_translator_Cincinnati.jpg" is a smart choice for someone looking for more medical translation clients local to the Cincinnati or southern OH/northern KY area. By naming your site's images with keywords, there is a much higher probability of your site ranking higher in search engines than someone else's site that isn't taking advantage of this simple strategy. Try it!
When you take the time to put your website to work for you, you will see the benefits when clients call on you more often because your site came up in a Google search. All of these tips are easy to implement and take just a few minutes, but you have to carefully (and strategically) plan to make your site appealing to your ideal clients. Remember, put your energy into making your site rank well in searches by those you want to work with. This may not necessarily be the same as the clients you are currently working with. Consider who your ideal client is and go from there.
If you'd like more tips like this, drop your name and email address in the form to find out more about my upcoming T&I Website Blueprint Course (coming in November 2018)!