What is SEO? What's the difference between SEO and SEA?

SEO stands for “search engine optimisation” and is the process that enables you to improve a website’s search engine ranking. This means the website is more visible and attracts more user traffic. It’s also worth pointing out that SEO refers to organic search results, that is, those that are free. If a website features carefully-crafted content, the correct structure and a few suitable keywords, it has more chance of ranking well in search engine results. However, it’s important to bear in mind that it is a medium- to long-term strategy and you won’t see results straight away.

SEA stands for “Search Engine Advertising” and is a marketing activity that enables you to publish paid adverts that very quickly appear in the first few Google results, just above and to the right of organic results. The downside of this option is that, when companies stop paying for the SEA service, their websites stop appearing among the first search results if the content is not optimised for SEO.

We could therefore say that SEO is a content strategy and a long-term investment, while SEA is an advertising expense usually limited to a fixed time period and with a shorter-term goal (Christmas campaigns, Black Friday offers, etc.). Both options are recommended and complement each other, depending on your company’s needs at any given time.

For more information on my Google advertising translation service, please see the section on Google Ads translation.

What’s the difference between standard translation and SEO translation?

Standard translation involves writing texts that are faithful to the original and convey the meaning of the message, while expressing it in the other language as naturally as possible. It’s important to always keep the user of this content in mind.

SEO translation goes one step further, as they are not only aimed at the user but also the search engine that will analyse the content and decide whether it is relevant, based on user behaviour. SEO isn’t just about stuffing web pages with keywords in an artificial way, but is focused on creating content that is useful and relevant.

Many translators tend to avoid deviating too far from the original text for fear of altering it, because they lack SEO experience and instead follow the general rules that apply to other projects. An SEO translator, on the other hand, must use synonyms and variations to refer to keywords, adapt idioms or even delete aspects of the original text that are not relevant for users from the target country.

Important elements for good SEO positioning

The aspects mentioned below have more to do with a website’s design than with what’s within a translator’s control. Indeed, it’s important to bear in mind that, when you hire an SEO translator, the original website should already be optimised for search engines. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Website loading speed: if your website takes a long time to open and load all the elements, it can affect SEO and make the site less attractive to visitors.
  • Responsive design: it’s important that the website’s appearance adapts to the device used to access it. There are differences between a desktop computer and a tablet or mobile phone. If a website’s design cann ot be adapted to different devices, its search engine ranking will be penalised.
  • Structure and readability: remember that the audience you are targeting often has very limited time, and they’re not going to read through your website content from top to bottom in a linear way. Instead, they’ll read the titles and subtitles, as well as the aspects they’re most interested in. If the writing style is heavy-going, users won’t feel motivated to continue reading, and probably won’t spend long on the website. A high “bounce rate”, as it’s usually called, can negatively affect SEO ranking.
  • Accessibility: Internet users with visual impairments will need to use a screen reader to read text as well as visual content.

If any of the points mentioned here are not covered, a few changes may need to be made to the original website before the translation process begins, in order to improve and review the site’s SEO. This ensures that all bases are covered and that both the original and translated versions of the website are more likely to rank well on search engines.

How can I help with SEO translation?

  • Keyword analysis and research
  • Keyword localisation
  • Translation of titles and metadescriptions for Google
  • Translation of H1, H2 and H3 text, as well as other website copy
  • Translation of image ALT tags and text
  • Checking internal and external links
  • Translation and adaptation of target URLs
  • SEO optimisation (improvement of existing translated websites)

Translating your web copy with SEO criteria in mind puts you at a competitive advantage and is a great long-term investment. Achieving better organic ranking, for free and in different markets and geographic locations, will increase your visibility as a company, driving more traffic to your site for you to convert into sales.