Everyone who has a website likely knows that it's the most valuable piece of digital marketing one can have. However, not everyone takes advantage of the power behind this tool.
I'm not just talking about the fact that you should have an appealing website, though. Instead, I'm talking about how customers find your website.
It doesn't matter how amazing your freelance translation website is if your ideal clients aren't finding it, right?
That's where SEO keywords come in. Keywords are best defined as the terms that people use to search for something online that they want to know, learn about or purchase.
Think about the last item you searched for something online. What words did you use? Did you type (or speak, if using a voice search tool) only nouns? Or did you search a phrase or type in a complete question?
Many people are now searching in even more specific terms than ever. Ask yourself whether the folks who would be looking for your services online use specific terms. The answer is probably, "Yes."
What are they searching for? What answers do they seek to help them solve problems? It is essential to include key search terms in your website's keywords (you know, on the back end of the website and in your web copy) 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, of course, you can update search terms as needed.
Here's a good example. Imagine that you are searching for a translator who is an expert in medical devices. If the person who would do the best job for you hasn't used key search terms on their site to further the chances of you finding them, you very well might not.
Now, consider this. How would clients (not colleagues) search for your services online? Would they type in something more than the language pair you work in? Most likely, yes. Most people these days know that the more specific the search, the more likely they are to find the answers — or, in this case, the services — they seek.
So, it's not enough to use keywords like "Spanish," "English," and "translator." Can you imagine the number of results you'd get back from such a search? Try it. You will probably end up with thousands of results, and you won't be any closer to finding what you're really hoping to find. You will also probably find a lot of automated translation tools. And we all know that's not what we're going for here!
So, how do you determine what keywords to use for your translation services website?
When you're thinking about search terms and how to include them on your website (both in the copy and behind the scenes), don’t simply choose the most popular keywords for your market. Use search terms that are more specific to your specialization and service offerings. As time goes on, search engines will identify your website as a key place to go for that particular subject. This will boost your search rankings and help your ideal clients find you.
Use a combination of short- and long-tail keywords.
HubSpot defines long-tail keywords as "a keyword phrase that contains at least three words (though some say two or more is considered long-tail). Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than mass audiences. In other words, they're more specific and often less competitive than generic keyword terms."
Long-tail keywords are specific, which means that the person using them knows what they want and is ready to hire or buy. They contain a generic word and one or two modifiers. Long-tail keywords make up about 70% of all online searches. Make sure that the long-tail keywords you use are suitable for your business and are reliable. Test them yourself.
Here's an example of a low-scoring, long-tail keyword:
No surprise there, right?
And here's an example of one that would be more specific to a client looking to hire a very specialized Spanish translator:
"How do I find a Spanish English patent translator?"
See the difference? Not only should you use keywords in your copy, but you can insert them behind the scenes in various places as well to optimize your site.
Optimizing your website by utilizing SEO keywords strategically is not as hard as it might seem. The average translator can truly benefit just by thinking more deeply about how others find them online and enhancing their website to fit the way people search.
Speaking of how people search these days… don't forget that more and more people are utilizing voice search functions these days. In addition to typing in searches on their computer or mobile phone, they also ask real questions to automated assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri and others. So, consider adding long-tail keywords to your website that will allow you to show up in such searches more easily and frequently.
How do you determine and utilize the right keywords for your translation services website?
If this topic interests you, I'd love for you to join us for the upcoming September SEO Strategy Challenge, where I'll go into much more detail about how to determine the right SEO keywords and the most strategic places to place them.