Copywriting in a foreign language

How to create SEO-friendly copy
in a foreign language

How to create SEO-friendly copy in a foreign language

If you want to grow your audience, it could be a great strategy to focus on a different language. Creating content in a foreign language can be quite a challenge though. In this post, I’ll discuss three ways to create content in a foreign language. I’ll also share some useful tips on how to write in a language that’s not your mother tongue.

Multilingual keyword research

SEO copywriting always starts with keyword research. Creating copy in a foreign language makes no exception to that rule. Jesse, our academy lead, wrote an awesome post in which he explains that creating copy in a foreign language could have large implications for your SEO. If you’re going to aim your content at a new foreign audience, you need to find out what words they are using when they search in Google. You’ll have to get in the heads of your foreign audience.

Because it’s not easy to get the right website ranking in the right market we decided to set up a Multilingual SEO training! In this course we’ll guide you step by step through all important multilingual SEO elements. Don’t miss it!

Optimizing your site for multiple languages? You need our Multilingual SEO training! »

New: Multilingual SEO training Info

Take cultural differences into account

Next to using the words your audience uses, you’ll need to make sure that the content you create matches the local niche of your audience. If you’re a British company and you want to get started on the French market, you’ll encounter some cultural differences. If you are a British company and you want to get started in the Chinese market, you’ll come across some really big cultural differences. Being aware of cultural differences is important if you’re going to create content in a foreign language.

Three options to create content

After you’ve focused on your multilingual keyword research, and on the possible cultural differences, you’ll want to start creating content. There are three ways to create new content:

Translate

You can translate the content you already have on your original website in the language of your choice. You can do that yourself (provided that you have mastered the language) or you can outsource this. Translating is the cheapest way to create new content. That’s a huge plus for this strategy. However, it hardly leaves any room for the keyword research you’ve done, nor for possible cultural differences.

Write new content

The second strategy for creating content in a foreign language is by writing entirely new content. Again, you can do that yourself (provided that your writing skills in the new language are up to scratch) or you can outsource this. If you choose to outsource, I would advise you to give a detailed outline of what you want your article to say. Native writers are usually best at embedding an article in a local culture. They can use examples of current affairs in a specific country. That’ll make the copy appealing.

Transcreate

The third option for creating content in a new language is a combination of the two other strategies mentioned: transcreation. A blog post from your ‘old’ website will be the inspiration for a new article or blog post. However, keyword research and cultural differences are taken into account. The content will not be translated literally, but in the end, the articles will pretty much have the same message. This strategy is probably is the most efficient way of creating new content in a foreign language. You do not have to come up with all new ideas, but the local culture and the specific words of your audience are taken into account.

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

SEO copywriting training Info

Tips for writing in a foreign language

You can only write content yourself if your writing skills in the new language are up to scratch. Otherwise, you should outsource the writing. Writing in a language that’s not your mother tongue can be quite hard. I know from experience. So, what can you do to improve your writing?

Read a lot… and after that, read some more

The best thing you can do is to read a lot. Of course, you need to read texts in the language you want to master. Read blog posts, newspaper articles, novels. Your brain will recognize patterns of words and memorize phrases, sayings, figures of speech and preferred word order.

Practice and study

Reading will help you to passively use the language. Practising by actually writing stuff will improve your skills even further. Write, correct and write some more. It will also pay off to study the basic grammar and spelling rules before you start putting pen to paper. That’ll help you to avoid the most common mistakes.

Use a tool or a native speaker

There are lots of tools out there that’ll help you with grammar and spelling in a foreign language. I always use Grammarly to correct my English. Tools like this are helpful. Another way to get feedback on your writing is to ask a native speaker for feedback. Native speakers will also be able to correct spelling and grammar, and besides that, they could give valuable tips on style and sentence construction.

Conclusion

Adding a language to your website could very well open your site to a whole new audience. Creating content in a foreign language can be quite a challenge, though. If you want to create this content yourself, your writing skills in the foreign language should be rather good. In any case, you should always do keyword research in a foreign language and take into account any cultural differences there may exist.

Read more: ‘SEO Copywriting: the ultimate guide’ »

 


Leave a reply to Mr & Mrs Gist Cancel reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

9 Responses to How to create SEO-friendly copy in a foreign language

  1. sachin(A proud Yoast User)
    By sachin(A proud Yoast User) on 12 February, 2018

    This article is very helpful. I want to know if I will translate other website’s content and publish as my own content. Can It cause copyright problem ?

    • Melina Reintjens
      By Melina Reintjens on 12 February, 2018

      Hey Sachin, good question. Beware: we’re no experts on such legal issues, but I’d say it’s important to get permission from the authors of the original content to use and translate their content, and give them credit as the original source. If you’re unsure, I’d advise you to try and find out which laws apply in your country :)

  2. Tricks4earn
    By Tricks4earn on 11 February, 2018

    Its very nice articles. It will help us to rank our site

    Thankx Yoast SEO

  3. kapil heera
    By kapil heera on 11 February, 2018

    Hey thank you very much for the insights. Your article is really helpful and provides a lot of important information.Multi lingual sites are really trending now and it is benefitial as well as it helps to cater a large number of people. your article is great guide for the beginers. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Mr & Mrs Gist
    By Mr & Mrs Gist on 9 February, 2018

    Have been considering translating our blog, this post has been hugely helpful, thank you!

    • Melina Reintjens
      By Melina Reintjens on 12 February, 2018

      That’s lovely to hear, thanks! :)

  5. Aayush Bhaskar Verma
    By Aayush Bhaskar Verma on 9 February, 2018

    I would definitely prefer to have a new website if i ever wanted to post in Hindi (my native language) rather than English.

    P.S. The new SEO course shines!

  6. webtutorials
    By webtutorials on 8 February, 2018

    Thanks for this guide, very newby friendly, im in love with the Yoast SEO Plugin

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      By Willemien Hallebeek on 9 February, 2018

      Thanks! That’s great to hear


Check out our must read articles about Content SEO