Coffee Break: Keyword Research for TranslatorsJanuary 16, 2021 2021-01-16 19:34
Coffee Break: Keyword Research for Translators
One of the most effective ways to attract target customers to your translation website is through dedicated keyword research and having a consistent SEO strategy.
But if only ranking for a keyword like “translator” or even “German translator” were easy!
Nowadays, especially if you’re at the beginning of your career, ranking for a keyword as basic as that would be almost impossible.
The secret to keywording is getting inside the minds of your target audience and being really specific with the phrasing you use on your website and in your blog posts.
And knowing beforehand, what keywords you really want to be found for.
Let’s give it a try!
What exactly is keyword research?
Keyword research, in a nutshell, is finding out what your target audience is searching for and figuring out how to rank (make your website show up near the top of the search results in Google) for those keywords and keyphrases.
Once you know what keywords you should be targeting, you can effectively optimise your translation website and use them wisely while creating content, tailored especially for your audience.
Where to start with keyword research?
1. Know your audience
Take some time to really think about your audience and what they might be looking for. Think about their wants, needs and problems. Define their goals and what they’d hope to find when searching for your services. Without knowing your audience, it’s hard to carry out keyword research and execute your marketing strategy.
If you have trusted clients, ask them what they do when they look for a translator. How would they look for one?
When do they usually Google search for a translator?
What keywords are important to them – what would they add to a base keyword (like, to a “translator”) to find their perfect match?
2. Make a list of keywords
Jot down all keywords that come to mind when thinking about your translation services. It could be anything from “Polish interpreter” to “English to Polish translator” to “translate birth certificate into Polish urgent” (keywords won’t always be grammatically correct).
If someone were to search for your services, what would they type into the search box? Write down any words or phrases that pop up. If you’re hoping to get more projects in the localisation field, make sure you emphasise that in your keywording (think, “Polish localisation services” or “localise my website into Polish”).
3. Refine your keywords
Now it’s time to refine those keywords. To do that, revise your list and then create more specific keywords and choose the ones that match best and for which you have a higher chance of ranking.
Let’s say you’re an English to Spanish translator in London hoping to expand your clientele through SEO practices. “Translator” would be a very broad keyword, but “English to Spanish translator in London” would be more specific and could start getting you website visits if used across the website.
If you specialise in law, you could go one step further with specificity and make it “English to Spanish legal translator in London”. Try to adapt your keywords to your target audience and the services you most want to sell.
Discard any proposals that are too broad, or use them only in connection with other, more specific phrases. For example, just because “Polish translator” is too broad, doesn’t mean that “Polish translator in Bath” won’t get you visits – be smart about your choices!
4. Evaluate them
Let’s put those keywords to the test by typing them into Google and seeing what appears on the first page.
Click through the highest-ranking websites and evaluate them. Why are they at the top? What does their content look like? What keywords are they ranking for (you can use the tools below to check that)?
Above all, what can you do better?
And, upon checking the results – do you still want to rank for that keyword?
5. Use keyword tools
No doubt you now have a long list of keywords to include in your content for both, standard website pages and blog posts (recommended if you aim to have a good SEO strategy). But how do you determine which ones to use?
Sometimes you will be able to judge this by performing step 4. However, I also recommend using keyword tools to help assess the popularity of certain keywords and phrases. This way, you’ll be able to see which keywords are worth trying to rank for and which are simply a waste of time, unless you want to invest in Google advertising (we’ll talk about that in another post!).
Some tools will also show you keyword suggestions based on previous searches, or even topic suggestions, which should help give you a little inspiration when crafting your content.
6. Write for humans first
Google is becoming smarter and will rank your content higher if it’s relevant, engaging and written well – original, error-free, interesting content that appeals to your potential clients will get you good chances of getting found. It’s also important not to overstuff your content with keywords and instead, to provide value to your (human) readers.
Give value to your clients and they will be more inclined to use your services.
Recommended keyword tools
My personal favourites include …
- Google Keyword Planner
This keyword planner gives you search volume and forecasts so that you can check the popularity and competition of your proposed keywords. Here you can also discover keyword suggestions based on the URL of a website you enter.
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Easier to navigate than Google Planner, Moz gives you useful data – keyword suggestions, SERP Analysis, etc. It’s most useful for US data and searches if you are targeting this audience.
A keyword and content building tool created by one of my fave marketing experts – Neil Patel. On this tool, you can view keyword and content ideas, SEO and backlinks as well as analyse traffic and generally have a bit of fun with brainstorming!
Want to sharpen your SEO skills?
If you’re serious about developing SEO strategy that will be effective and will bring you clients, you will need to spend some time on it first. It will take a few good hours to learn and understand it and then it will take some more time to implement it.
You can outsource some of the tasks (like copywriting or website building) but ultimately, for us freelancers and small businesses, if you don’t at least know the basics of it and participate in keyword research yourself, chances are that your outsourced strategy will be less effective – you are the core of your business and you know your clients best.
That’s why I recommend taking a little time out of your busy schedule to learn it.
To make things easier (and more fun!) for you, I’ve developed a 10-step SEO course for translators and interpreters to help you rank in search engines and attract more clients. It provides guidance on different aspects of SEO that you can work on, and we tried to make it easy to understand and most importantly – structured – so that you can feel more confident about your strategy in 2021.
And don’t forget to subscribe for updates in the sidebar to find out when the next Coffee Break post gets released!
Have a great day and happy SEO-ing!