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Using Localisation and Translation As Link Building Techniques

One of the key advantages for a multilingual marketer is the broad perspective of more than one culture, environment or market. Ideas from one can easily be ported to another, giving you a significant advantage over those developing from scratch. Look at YouTube and RuTube, the latter recently selling for $15m.

This isn’t new. Television companies have been doing this for years. The show, “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” has been shown in over 100 countries now. Content doesn’t even have to be fully localised, many shows sent around the world are dubbed English-language versions. Anna and I are watching an episode of “Heroes” in this format at the moment. For the price of a voice-over track, they have recycled this content to a new audience.

The music, fashion and design industries all look to other markets for inspiration. They understand that importing a successful idea is easier and more reliable than coming up with original material. Even my father, who used to work as a buyer for a large department store chain, once told me his trick was looking to see which lines had proven success in other countries in previous years. Provided the market conditions were similar, it was a sure bet to introduce it into the UK market.

So how does this knowledge help you? Well you should be looking out for opportunities to localise or translate high quality English content for your sites. I’ll give you two practical examples.

1. Look out for content ideas that have previously worked in one sphere and transfer them to the other. That can be linkbait articles, blog posts, competitions. The advantage here is that you have already seen how successful it can be. With the correct feel for your market and some localisation you can quickly recycle the idea for your own needs. High quality content will build links, especially when promoted through the social networks.

2. Offer to translate material between each sphere. Look at these examples over at A List Apart or SEOBook. For the price of a translation ($20-$50) you could pick up a PR5 permanent link. An impressive ROI over rented links and as an editorial link, more likely to be trusted.

If you using these ideas for link building in Runet then keep in mind that Yandex primarily indexes Russian content. They have recently opened their system to spider popular English, French and German sites but you should ensure the page is in their index before seeking a link. If the source page is not indexed by Yandex, the link will not benefit your site. Of course, this technique will favour those looking for ranking in Google, who has a presence in both markets.

Although theming is not too strong in Yandex at the moment, it is very much a part of Google. You should be looking to apply this technique with material or sites in a similar or related niche to your own.

Another point to consider is that Google still looks at the geo-positioning of links to determine relevancy. For example, if you have a Russian site with too many English language links, you can expect it to suffer in the Russian rankings. This effect was first observed by Alan Webb on his dual English/German site. As he recently wrote to me, this has become less of a problem but, “one should still try and get at least 70% of links from sites on the same language for ranking purposes.”

In theory this technique could also be used in reverse, to promote English-language sites by obtaining links from authority Russian pages. As long as you kept the link number and strength in moderation, this would work.

About Nick Wilsdon

Nick Wilsdon works as a Content and Digital Strategy Consultant He manages online campaigns for the UK's leading telecom, finance and FMCG brands.

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