I just visited a lovely new website for a beautiful new hotel. The site has a great design- but the content is poorly written for US search engine optimization. It starts by saying it has a “privileged location.” Now in Portuguese a “lugar privilegiado” means a great location. But put the word “privileged” into English, and the word does not have the same meaning at all; privileged- having special rights, advantages, or immunities, versus distinct, singular in Portuguese.
So, rule #1, if you are writing for American SEO, use language that an American will understand. A classic example is the common use of the term “gastronomy.” Yes, it exists in English, but – it is not at all commonly used. “Cuisine” would be the better choice. After all, content is the main thing that Google uses to determine the right nation to show a site to.
The lesson – don’t ever use Google Translate. Use a human, one who speaks American English. Google is pretty smart, they get SEO, and an American will just not see your site. And the text will send the message that the product or destination is not aimed at the US traveler – and the trust level will be low if the site is clearly not the work of a native speaker. So, rule 2, content cannot just be copy and paste a Google Translate version of the home website in English. And remember, Google does not read text set in an image – so that is not of help. But image captions can be vital to tell Google what you are offering.
So, if your site talks about an absell, anoraks, and aubergine or amongst – two things will happen. Google will think the site as aimed at the UK, and ifa US user finds it he/she will be very confused. Readability is a key SEO point, so UK English or “weird” English will not help you in the US with SEO. And, US traffic will be very hard to get because the content and language you are using determined the ranking of your website. Welcome to page #5… For this reason, you need to be sure to improve your use of language for the specific country whose traffic you’re hoping to get. Do you have an FAQ or blog post with the names of the cities you hope to reach: AS in –“How to get here from Boston?” Are you using a Union Jack as the symbol of English in the main page? Does that send the right message?
So, translation of website text is the first step. Next, the text needs to be optimized for the US audience. Remember, you can have one site, with a variety of entry points – and each language section has to be distinct to the audience with the right messaging and deals to entice a local user.
Lastly work to get US-based backlinks by working with bloggers and media– as these links back are very important. Any articles, blogs, or good reviews from the US help increase the visibility of your website in the US.