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Should You Optimize Your Translated Product Manual for Search Engines?

This is your definitive guide to the single most important question if you manage your company’s document translation needs: Should you optimize your translated product manuals for search engines?

Yes! No! Maybe! It depends! These are all wrong answers. 


Ladies and gentlemen, do you ever see poor quality content rank high in search results? If you answered an astounding NO then you have a bright future and are on your way to becoming Chief Marketing Officer of your company. 🙂

If you answered anything else, consider reading this guide in its entirety if you still want the CMO corner office.

Alright, now that you’re clear on your aspirations, I hope I’m not the first one to tell you that quality of your translated product manual needs to be superb! Whether you manage your translations in-house or outsource them or use a hybrid approach is irrelevant. The quality factor does not change. 

What are the top 5 high-level ways to ensure superb quality of your translated product manuals?

  1. Follow standard grammar and spelling rules of your target language & country
  2. Literal translations or word-for-word translations are a death sentence for your CMO ambition
  3. Ensure consistency in terminology and tone for your company & industry
  4. Localize measurements and dates for your target country
  5. Ensure translation sounds fluent and native for your target audience

If you implement these 5 translation quality rules I guarantee you’ll be the future CMO of your company.

Naaah, I’m just kidding. I’m not George Zimmer. 🙂

While there’s LOT MORE that goes into ensuring superb translation quality, following these fab five rules might get you a step closer to the CMO job.

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Now that we see the importance of translation quality, let’s talk about what you will do with your translated product manual.

Printing it for customer orders or trade shows is a given. But to get the most benefit, you should upload it on your web server! If you have to ask me why then you DEFINITELY need to read this guide multiple times. 

But what you can ask me is…what should you publish. Entire product manual? Part of it? Cliffs notes? 

There is no wrong answer here. It depends on your goals and target audience. Because all 3 options will lead you closer to….you know…!

Your goal is that all stakeholders (customers, employees, business partners, AND potential customers) should be able to access your translated product manual when they need to.

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And that is precisely why you want to make sure your translated product manual is optimized for search engines!

How else will you become the superhero of your company and land that CMO job? Beautiful looks, amazing shoes, awesome attire, and Polo socks might get you to the CMO door…but not necessarily land you on the CMO chair.

Here’s what you gotta do when you’re placing your translated product manual on your web server.

So this is where I pass on some of the magic tricks to you, right? 

Well…there are only 3 areas you’ve gotta manage when you’re creating the translated product manual page on your web server:

  1. On-site SEO
  2. Content
  3. Links & Mentions

On-site SEO

  • Do your ‘title tags’ correctly 
  • Do the URL structure well (say you are optimizing for car brakes, your URL should be: yourcompany.com/automotive/parts/carbrakes)
  • Make sure your site loads fast. I mean…real fast

Content

Your translated product manual should do 2 things: Give the reader what they want and ‘make’ them read the entire document. 

That’s easier said than done. Heck, I don’t even know if I can ‘make’ you read this entire guide without bribing you for your company’s CMO job. 

But in any case, this is what you gotta do:

  1. Understand what people are actually looking for
  2. Think about how you can address the main issues in the first half of your content
  3. If you’re sharing a manual for a complicated product then either have long articles for complex topics (related to your products) or short ones for quick questions. The key is to be helpful. Yes, being helpful is also a step in the right direction for that CMO job!
  4. Don’t publish just the translated text. Include videos. Include images. For God’s sake, make it so it’s not boring!
  5. Start with long-trail keyphrases for your products (‘how to make car brakes last long’ VS ‘car brakes’).
  6. Tailor your content depending on who your target audience is: customers, employees, business partners, or potential customers?

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Links & Mentions

Yes, ladies and gentlemen,  having links back to your content from quality websites matter! It’s not about popularity. It’s about relevance. Though popularity might not hurt your reach for the CMO chair.

Name the top 5 publications (digital or ancient) in your industry in the target country. Talk to them. Showcase your products to them. Convince them to link back to your content because it’s in their readers’ benefit. That’s what search engine optimization (SEO) of your translated content is all about..ability to reach your target audience.

And now…go ahead and apply for that CMO job! 🙂

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