Golden Rule #9

You should take iSEO into consideration

“I totally do that!” Of course. We haven’t been living in the 20th century for quite some time now. SEO is an integral and fundamental aspect of digital marketing. No problem.

However, an element that’s often misunderstood, or overlooked, concerns international SEO (or iSEO). Many companies wonder, (and understandably so), why their foreign sites aren’t ranking, even though the content has been correctly “translated”.

Die Goldene Regel 9

Why do these translations not rank?

These days, every company out there is aware of SEO. And digital marketing agencies never fail to point out the importance of SEO. The long list of specialized literature dealing specifically with SEO marketing, speaks volumes.

However, very few experts deal with iSEO, even though they are, of course, aware that iSEO works in exactly the same way in a foreign target market as it does in their domestic market. Yet, it seems that it’s not completely clear that content cannot simply be “translated” into another language. It actually makes sense why this is the case, because very few SEO or marketing professionals are also linguists.

Unfortunately, it is not sufficient to simply translate keywords or content, as one might imagine. Language is not mathematics, but a multi-layered, living construct. Multiple and diverse elements play a significant role and these are subject to constant change; fashion trends, the way in which language is used, as well as social, cultural, and political events. These developments often build up over extended periods, yet they can also change quickly due to unpredictable hypes and micro-trends.

What needs to be taken into consideration?

When we talk about SEO translations, we oversimplify the issue. As we’ve already intimated, a simple translation will not be adequate. It would be more accurate to name it SEO-transcreation (you can read more about transcreation here.)

In short, it means that the content must be rewritten for the target audience in their local language in order to achieve its intended purpose.

What’s crucial in this process is not to simply apply “appropriate” keywords, or “suitable” keyword phrases, but to create good content and ensure that the transcreation is targeted toward the readers’ interests and actually inspires them. For the same reason, machine translations like those provided by Google or DeepL are, in fact, the exact opposite of what is needed. Machine translations often look right at first glance (grammatically and orthographically), which they are. However, these one-size-fits-all translations usually lack dynamism, are lack-lustre, monotonous, uninspired, and not adapted to the readers or the intended purpose.

iSEO translations (i.e. transcreation) circumvent these pitfalls. Transcreation creates good content, content that is dynamic, exciting, creative, engaging, and inspiring for readers. Of course, this process requires certain skills and expertise.

Experienced transcreators are aware that unique content must be re-written in the target language. They determine the appropriate keywords based on in-depth research and analysis, taking readers’ search behavior in the target country into account.

The goal and purpose of the content for the target market must be clear. It requires coordination with clients, as well as feedback loops with the appropriate marketing managers responsible for marketing activities in the target country. We have optimized this workflow by providing a thorough briefing that clarifies the basic requirements, as well as any special requirements, as the initial step (you can download our briefing template here).

Ongoing coordination with the in-country manager is done via an online application in the browser. It really simplifies communication. All feedback from marketing managers is implemented directly in the project. Any adpatations and amendments are clearly traceable. It shows who changed what, when and why. No more questioning or lack of clarity. You always have clear answers backed by traceable data, in just one click.

It’s often a challenge when you need to tell your clients that their beautifully-crafted source text can’t be translated 1:1 into the target language, but must be translated more freely. Under certain circumstances, the order of paragraphs may even shift if certain keyword phrases need to be woven into the content organically. So, as stated, this process is actually transcreation, not simply translation.

It is, therefore, indisputable that the line between translation and transcreation is fluid in the context of the iSEO process. A high degree of creativity and “free” translation is required to achieve the desired goal. Therefore, we must stress again how important a thorough briefing is. We are always delighted to advise you on how to design workflows optimally, so you can be assured of the most effective outcomes.

Would you like to discover more about the innovative translation management process that makes DIE ÜBERSETZUNGSAGENTUR one of the leading language service providers?

Our INFO CENTER has posted a wide range of articles here to make your life easier.

Also, you can simply book a CONSULTATION with Christian Faust and discuss suggested solutions for your specific needs, in person.

Book your consultation with Christian Faust now.

Christian Faust


Christian is a state-certified expert translator and has been working as a freelancer in the translation industry for over 30 years.

His clients include well-known companies in commerce and industry, all of whom rely on his expertise and experience.

His passion is to leverage innovation in the translation industry and create valuable services that benefit his clients. He did exactly this when he developed LoLa, MAeX® ️ & CO.

He particularly relishes hearing the words: “We always do it that way!” in consultations. 😅

Fachübersetzungen sind Vertrauenssache. Know-how, Erfahrung und Innovation machen den Unterschied. Es geht darum, was du wirklich brauchst.

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Fachübersetzungen sind Vertrauenssache. Know-how, Erfahrung und Innovation machen den Unterschied. Es geht darum, was du wirklich brauchst.

Was hältst du von einem Meeting, um deine besonderen Erfordernisse zu besprechen? Das Meeting mit mir vereinbarst du ganz einfach über den Button.

Ich freue mich auf unser Gespräch.

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