International SEO has been a topic at recent SEO conferences, and one that we’ve discussed here before. One aspect of doing International SEO is having your content available in other languages. Hiring a translator to translate your blog is cost prohibitive for most bloggers, running $50-$250 for each language per post.
Although no automated translator is perfect, Google has come up with a great translator, perfect for translating your blog. Of course the translation won’t be as accurate as a real translator, but if you can’t afford that, this service is better than nothing at all.
Lucky for all of us, there are several WordPress translator plugins. The best one I have found and implemented (see the flags on the right sidebar) for our own blog is the Global Translator Plugin for WordPress by Nothing2Hide.net. Some of the advantages are:
1) Easy to install, just unzip, upload the folder, turn it on, and check the settings (under Options).
2) SEO Friendly URLs! For example, http://www.soloseo.com/blog/it/ goes to the Italian version of our blog, and http://www.soloseo.com/blog/it/2008/04/07/international-seo-1-minute/ is the URL to this post (notice just the /it is added). Your blog posts will start to show up on other versions of the search engines, and hopefully start generating some traffic, subscribers, and conversions!
3) Caching – Instead of going out to Google Translator every time the post is viewed, it will cache the translation.
Of course there is more to do than just getting content into different languages, but it is certainly a great place to start with International SEO.
So if you want to take that first step into International SEO, start with getting your existing content translated into several other languages!
Update – 403 Forbidden Errors
After posting this and letting it go overnight, it appears that Google does not like its translation service being used every hour! (we were getting 403 Forbidden Errors for all translated pages) Luckily the service has several options built-in, and so I opted for using AltaVista’s Babelfish service. The translation works fine and I don’t get the 403 Forbidden Error page instead of my translated blog pages. Hopefully Google will let us use their service more, I will probably try it again and change the interval to every 24 or 48 hours.