Lost in technical translation?
Here are 6 tips to help your language school come up in searches, and to improve your SEO.
1. Put Keywords in the title of your pages/posts
The first bit of information Google takes from your page is the title of your page or post. When you view the results on Google, this is what is displayed to users so if this isn’t helpful or informative, they simply won’t click into your site.
Putting the name of your school / agency as the first part of your title, followed by the keywords you want to use (e.g. My School Name – the best school in my city – General Courses in the local language) means you will get less attention from both Google and your potential visitors for the terms “General Courses in the local language”.
2. Put keywords in the url too!
If your url (address) shows up as www.myschoolname.com/33234/node=id?442 it will be readable by Google and your page will get indexed but if you have your page of “General Courses for local language” on your domain as www.myschoolname.com/general-courses-for-local-language you will reinforce the keywords you want Google to take notice of and it will help with your ranking.
Most websites have workarounds to help you to achieve this, even if it isn’t available straight out of the box on your platform. It’s definitely worth investigating with your web developer.
3. Use the same keywords in your header text
Now that you have your keywords title and your url don’t forget to put them in the headings of your page! If you have the keywords in the title and url but don’t put them in <h1> brackets on your page to show that you are indeed talking about the keywords you want to rank for, Google will presume you are trying to cheat the system and rank your page and site for keywords that are not relevant to your content.
There is a very real chance that not only will you not be ranked for the keywords you are trying for, but you may also find your entire site de-listed from Google permanently…
4. Obviously you need the same words in your text too!
It stands to reason that if you are putting in the effort to have your keywords in your title, url and headers that you are now in fact going to talk about why people should be on your site in the first place after searching for these particular keywords.
Remember to write for humans and not for robots. If you litter your text with keywords again and again it may give the robots who search your site more reasons to list you for the keyword but the readers who come to your site will read it as complete gibberish and will not hang around to make sense of it all. You will get people to your site in the short term but they won’t be buying anything from you.
5. Don’t forget your ALT text
Images are a great way of brightening up a website but Google cannot decipher image files. It needs to try and put the image in context of the surrounding text and themes of the site.
When you put an image on your page you can put in a simple bit of code called ALT Text (which means Alternative Text) describing the image which gives Google more information about what you are putting on the page. It’s a good idea to use your keywords in the ALT text too.
6. Think about using different local sites or sub sites
If you have a page or a section of your site translated the best practise is to use the international short codes for the url rather than the full name of the language – www.myschoolname.com/es/, www.myschoolname.com/fr/ or www.myschoolname.com/de/ rather than www.myschoolname.com/spanish/, www.myschoolname.com/french/ or www.myschoolname.com/german/ as it uses international standards rather than un-useful keywords which are not themselves translated into the target languages.
If you have different top level domains for your sites in the different languages (www.myschoolname.es, www.myschoolname.fr, www.myschoolname.de, etc) you should try to host them on servers which are physically in the countries you are targeting as this geo-location also helps for your local optimisation.
Stephen Shortt is Managing Director of Alpha College of English, and has developed an expertise on: online marketing, website creation, SEO, social marketing (real world & on-line). Located in Dublin city centre, Alpha College of English provides English language programmes to suit all needs and ages.