Boost Your SEO With AI-Powered Translations

August 11, 2023

Global brands have long recognized the importance of localized web content and successful expansion into a new market requires connecting with your new audience — in their language and on their terms.  According to Google, 72% of consumers spend the bulk of their time on websites in their native languages and research from MOZ also shows that nearly half of all Google searches are local queries. When it comes to finding products and services, consumers want to connect with a brand that understands their own culture and context.

Making that connection requires more than simply optimizing your site for searches for products “near me” or providing up-to-date physical addresses. It even goes beyond providing a word-for-word translation of your website in local languages. Your localized site must truly speak the local customer’s language and reflect their culture. And that’s a time-consuming endeavor — or at least it is without search engine optimization (SEO) powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

SEO Considerations for Using AI to Translate Content

Translating your website for a new local audience brings a host of considerations, especially when you involve AI in the process. In general, SEO doesn’t simply translate word for word from one language to another. There are far too many local nuances to language — whether it’s the order of wording or the nature of local idioms. These realities apply not only to the top-level content on your site, but the many layers of supporting content for SEO. In other words, translating a blog requires optimizing not only blog keywords but also image alt text, meta descriptions, menus, and more.

The keywords you use throughout your site in one language may fall flat in another and as a result, every keyword must be analyzed for true semantic and idiomatic equivalents in the new language. And due to its tedious nature, this is where AI presents an opportunity for significant cost savings.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as handing your SEO strategy for translation over to AI and washing your hands of it. For all that AI tools can do, they come with clear limitations in terms of accuracy and quality content generation. So, how can we best address these challenges when it comes to translating with AI for SEO?

To understand how AI technology can help you with website translation optimization, it’s important to have a clear view of how AI translation works — and what it can and can’t do for you.

Fundamentally, AI translation relies on machine learning to understand different languages, grammatical structures, and semantics. Machine learning tools vary, and the primary methods are rules-based machine translation, statistical machine translation, and neural machine translation.

Regardless of which machine learning algorithm it uses, AI can rapidly translate large amounts of text from one language to another, spitting out translations much more quickly than a human can. In recent years, these translations have improved substantially — but they’re still far from perfect and often fall short of the accuracy and precision you’ll find in human translations.

These capabilities and shortcomings leave many brands facing a critical decision when it comes to website localization: rely on AI translation or lean on humans to do the job.

Using Machine Translation to Improve Search Engine Rankings

Today, many brands choose to lean fully on AI and its natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to optimize their website translations. This option offers some clear benefits and disadvantages when compared to pure human SEO translation. 

Machine translation (MT) offers speed, ease of automation, and cost savings. Human translators simply can’t compare to machine translation tools in terms of speed and translations that would take a human many hours can occur almost instantaneously with AI. With AI translation, you can automate processes to translate your website into a wide range of languages, freeing you to focus your time and resources on other projects – leading to time and cost savings.

In addition, MT offers continuous improvement. AI technology is not static — it’s constantly learning based on its algorithms. The more you use it, the more you can teach it to improve the content it produces.

Where MT alone can fall short is largely a loss of nuance and emotion. AI can understand a lot about human language, but it still struggles when it comes to translating human emotion and the nuances of speech. These are critical elements of human communication, even in e-commerce, and it’s often painfully obvious when they’re off base. This is where human oversight can come into play.

The Unbabel Solution: AI for SEO With a Human Touch

The good news is that this isn’t an either-or proposition. With a translation service like Unbabel, you get the best of both worlds for fully optimized, accurate website translation into any language. Our translation tools seamlessly blend AI with human translation to produce high-quality SEO text for your new target audience. 

With recent acquisitions of leading global brands like Bablic and EVS Translations, we continue to expand our ability to offer multilingual web translation services to a wide range of businesses in an array of industries. Our services blend the speed of AI with the precision of human translation.

Bablic, in particular, helps you maximize SEO for localized content with a user-friendly, no-code interface, creating a cost-effective solution that doesn’t sacrifice your ability to connect with new customers in new markets.

Unbabel’s approach is unique among other language operations (LangOps) platforms. By supporting AI with a human touch, we offer unparalleled SEO and website localization functionality at a cost you can afford while you expand your brand’s global reach. Our quality estimation technology quickly pinpoints translations that need human review, and our machine learning simplifies your translation workflows to ensure your website speaks your customer’s language, wherever you go.

Interested in learning more? See it for yourself with our free demo.

About the Author

Profile Photo of Jessica Florez
Jessica Florez

Jessica Florez is the Senior Content Strategist at Unbabel. She has 10 years of proven success in content marketing strategy and development to build business brands, support global sales teams, drive demand for products and services. She boasts a wide range of expertise in both B2B + B2C integrated marketing roles, for industries that include financial services, healthcare, tech (SaaS), and tour & travel. She earned her BA from the University of Central Florida, and her MFA from Hofstra University.