Analysts’ answers, part 3: SEO, AdSense and translation tests for Spanish-language sites
In the third and final installment of our series, our team fields questions about SEO, AdSense, and mirror sites stemming from our March 25th clinic, Optimizing Spanish-language landing pages. (Did you miss part one or part two of this series?)
Q: You suggest working on SEO and mentioned meta tags and keywords. Why? Google does not look at the keyword tag. I am confused.
A: To clarify the answer, while it’s true that Google and most other engines ignore keyword meta tags, the description meta tag still has value with search results. Keywords used not in meta tags, but in page titles and copy, URL strings, links, and other areas should correlate to the meta description whenever feasible. This not only benefits the organic search results, but in tying these areas together, you can see if the content on your pages is framed properly and consistently. That is, if certain keywords seem like a stretch, you might reconsider your copy, call-to-action links, and so on. This can be particularly useful when dealing with pages that feature more than one language, or in the case of Spanish-language pages, where grammar and usage issues may abound.
Q: Does Google Adsense allow you to display ads in a specific language?
A: If you look at the Google AdSense support page, you’ll notice that AdSense will serve relevant ads to pages based on the primary site language, even if the site contains multiple supported languages. This is based on the site’s primary language selected during the application process.
Additionally, users from WebmasterWorld note that ad language also depends heavily on the country of the visitor. Empirically, they report that Dutch language pages attract 50% Dutch and 50% English ads when visited from Holland, and 70% English, 20% German and 10% Russian ads when visited from Kazakhstan.
Q: We have English and Spanish sites that mirror each other except for language. When we modify content on the Spanish site to better target our Hispanic customers we get complaints from the Spanish speaking audience that they are not getting the same content. They perceive that they are receiving different offers and information (they are not). They want the same as what they see in English. Can you speak to this?
A: We would encourage you to investigate thoroughly before making drastic changes in response to a vocal, yet small, segment of the audience. We’ve seen a major online retailer phase out a major site feature because, as it turned out, one person made a lot of noise on the phone with an impressionable customer service supervisor. At the same time, of course, you don’t want to miss the boat and let negative publicity propagate. In fact, a JupiterResearch survey suggested that Hispanic Internet users are more likely than non-Hispanics to use social media for purchasing recommendations.
Your site should try to communicate clearly that the content is modified from the English version for language only, not offers. If you modify the site beyond just the language, you could test offering a link to an “exact Spanish translation” of the English-language site, right next to the link to the English-language site itself. That way, before a visitor ventures to check up on your English-language version, he/she will immediately recognize that there is an exact translation available. (To test this idea before investing in a major site revamp, link to a translated version of the site, as provided by a free translation service, then review the analytics data to see if there is sufficient demand to warrant a full translation.)
When we say during our clinics that we read every comment, we stand by our word. We hope you find these answers helpful and that they might generate further discussion about effective ways to optimize pages for Spanish-language markets. Comments? Additional questions? You know what to do …