The comparatively small amount of content and, consequently, competition for keywords in languages other than English means that you can get your localized foreign language sites to rank highly in search engines much more quickly than you can with English language websites.
However, getting the right keywords isn't the only step to search engine success, especially if you're looking to get ranked in a foreign language Google.
Credibility and Authority
Credibility and authority are also big contributing factors to Google rankings. To achieve search engine stature you need to spread your wisdom around the web, and get backlinks to your site in return.
Many monolingual sites do this in a few established ways, including seeking press coverage in major media, writing expert guest articles for relevant industry publications, and responding to web buzz (i.e., posting useful comments on articles and forums with backlinks included).
These strategies are search engine optimization (SEO) gold. They help expand your businesses profile, while adding useful content to the Internet. Don't ignore them, no matter which language market you're operating in.
How to Generate Backlinks
Now, the trick to generating backlinks in foreign language markets is that, well, there is no trick. The strategies remain exactly the same. You need to know how to pitch to website editors and journalists, how to write engaging and useful content, and you need to stay abreast of industry developments so you have something relevant to say.
Unless you speak multiple languages fluently, this means you're going to have to employ the services of multilingual online marketing and copywriting experts, to do your foreign language pitching for you. But don't despair, as there are time and money savings shortcuts to be found.
The duplicate content rule doesn't apply across different languages, which means you can write one guest post or article in English, and then have it translated (or rather, "transcreated," the term for translating on-brand creative marketing collateral) into French, German, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Urdu, whatever you require, publish it on your localized sites or submit it to other websites and you'll receive the same SEO credit as if you'd written unique articles in every language.
The same goes for pitches and comment -- you can write a single pitch or blog comment in English, have it translated, and then use it across all languages.
Be wary, though, of differences in culture that don't translate, particularly when it comes to the social niceties of pitching to editors and journalists. For instance, website editors in the U.K. and U.S. tend to respond to a slightly more informal style of communication, while most Germans won't respond to anything less than absolute formality.
This technique of translating pitches and comments will come in handy if you're operating on a budget and using Google Translate as your translation service, as you can get the gist of an article using machine translation, and then use it again to post a reply that's at least decently -- if not perfectly -- phrased (with link).
Various online PR services connect journalists with a need for information with businesses with information to give, such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO) in the U.S. and Journalism.co.uk in the UK, as well as press release distribution services across all countries and languages, which can be a simple way to spread your backlinks far and wide.
Rank High in Foreign Language Search Engines
If you've already got a SEO online marketing strategy in place, then adapting that to include a range of languages is as simple as employing the services of linguists to handle your translations -- once the backlinks start falling into place, you'll see your localized websites rocketing up the foreign language search engine rankings.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!