Multilingual PPC Best Practices (and some bad ones)
Conducting a multilingual pay per click (PPC) campaign can be an excellent way to break into international markets. But to paraphrase Sergey Brin’s famous maxim, having great ideas is easy – success depends on execution.
It is surprising how often agencies and brands take shortcuts when localising PPC campaigns.
People often think that if their English website has been optimized for search engines, then the translated foreign language sites will be too. If you’re wondering…that’s not the case.
But even those who understand that it’s not the case still regularly cut corners and skimp on the process. That’s their problem. And maybe a great opportunity for competitors…
The problems start with Keyword Research…
…or the lack of it. Many companies get their English keywords translated.
For the uninitiated; keyword research is the process of checking how often certain keyphrases are searched on.
If you’re selling tires and you optimize your page for the search term ‘tires’ chances are you won’t come up for people searching for ‘cheap tires’, ‘car tyres’, ‘rubber tires’, etc.
You know that the English term is right…but how do you know that your translation is the most searched relevant term in that language market?
Do your research
Often the decision not to do keyword research is about budget, but as our favourite Spanish quote goes “El barato sale caro” – the cheap option is usually the most expensive.
In fact multilingual keyword research is relatively cheap, only around 20% more than the translations you were doing, and the impact on the success of your digital marketing is potentially enormous. You wouldn’t dream of not doing it in English, so why is it ok to ignore it for other languages?
Once you have your multilingual keywords defined, you need to build pages optimised for those keyphrases, or get someone to help with that. It’s worth optimising your pages for a variety of reasons, all of which will contribute to your eventual success.
Then you can start your multilingual PPC ads.
This has to be creative because of the character limits – there is no way you are going to get effective ads by straight translation. Really free translations of the ads will be required, and you also have to ensure that your new keywords for the relevant language are used, and that the ads point at the relevant optimized page.
This is a little more than your usual translation…so again worth paying the extra for people with the right expertise to put in the effort required.
Remember the effort and thought that went into your English PPC ads (hopefully)? It needs to be done again in each language…
Simple rules (that often aren’t followed):
- Keyword research in each language is vital. Don’t cut corners here if you can avoid it. In the end the results will back you up.
- Build landing pages optimized for the keywords. Or ask a professional if you don’t have time, or would rather have an expert do it. A simple way is to translate the page, placing the keyphrase into it where needed.
- Build PPC ads targeting those keywords, optimized for those keywords, and which point to the optimized pages for the relevant keyword.
There are a myriad of considerations for businesses hoping to launch a successful digital marketing campaign. But ultimately, a well-targeted and optimized web marketing strategy, in each language market that you operate in, is the way to win.
The best results will come the same way the results come for successful English campaigns – with investment of resources, and adherence to good practices.
If you are just translating from English, don’t expect to get the best results.