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Tips for Multilingual Video SEO

It’s a much quoted internet ‘fact’ that YouTube is the second most popular search engine. But using the standard definition of a search engine as a system that can crawl every murky corner of the world wide web to find the information you need, this isn’t strictly true. YouTube’s integrated search function only searches YouTube. The very fact that only Google’s search box receives more queries emphasizes how important a channel like YouTube can be.

Here are a few vital stats. YouTube has more than 1 billion unique user visits each month. Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month and 70% of traffic comes from outside the US, making YouTube a truly global phenomenon. Individual videos can reach vast numbers of people. Gangnam Style by South Korean musician Psy was the first YouTube video to receive a billion views, but the platform can be used to promote more than just novelty pop songs and hilarious cat videos.

Why Do I Need Video Marketing?

Videos offer a more vibrant way to communicate with existing and potential new customers. Not everyone reads blogs or is willing to wade through content on corporate websites. Video is the next best thing to face-to-face contact. It allows you to present your brand message in a way that can be entertaining, funny, emotive or otherwise engaging on a basic human level. YouTube videos can play a part in any integrated campaign. They can be easily embedded on websites and blogs and to distribute to other social networks. Online video is the most consumed content format online and affords you a great opportunity to get your message across.

Set Up Different Channels

Create different channels for different markets. Global brands like Vodafone have separate channels for viewers in different countries and it’s not just about speaking a different language. The majority of customers in the US, UK and New Zealand might share a common language,  but there are still cultural differences. Setting up different channels gives you the opportunity to tailor your message to suit the audience. This also helps with optimization, which we’ll come to next, as you can build in foreign-language SEO and location-specific keywords. Finally, don’t forget that some country names are different in their own native language. Don’t set up a channel name for Germany, use Deutschland instead.

Optimize Your Content

When dealing with videos you generally have less to play with when it comes to optimization, but the same rules apply as with any other kind of content. Keywords are still important and you shouldn’t rely on straight ‘dictionary’ translations of your English language keywords if you are shooting for an international audience. What works in one language might not work as well in another, as alternatives could be far more effective. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw out all your carefully researched English keywords. Use them as a starting point but run translations through keyword tools to see what still works and what doesn’t. Brainstorm alternatives with a native speaking translator to find the most effective.

Once you have your keywords, optimize everything you can. Your video title, description, your channel bio, and tags can all house keywords. You can even translate and optimize any comments you make.

Mind Language & Cultural Differences

All the written content surrounding your video needs to be translated, as does the content of the video itself. Don’t rely on automatic translation programs as these are prone to errors. Working with native speaking translators will help you get the best results and can also help you strike the right tone, making relevant cultural references and avoiding cultural faux pas.

Effective localization can really help you connect with your audience. Take a look at Pepsi’s YouTube page and you’ll see that they have localized channels for different markets such as Egypt, Spain, and Vietnam. Each channel hosts videos tailored for a particular audience, with the Egyptian channel featuring the Pepsi Ramadan campaign and a series of humorous ads based around the Egyptian national soccer team.

Consider Other Platforms

While it is the single most important video hosting platform, YouTube isn’t the only one out there. In China, for example, where YouTube is famously banned, sites like Youku and Tudou fill the gap. A Comscore study of online video viewing in Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines showed that, while Google sites including YouTube had by far the biggest single market share, they accounted for less than half of total video viewing.

With a little research and forward planning it’s possible to tap into whole new markets via video marketing. And making multilingual video SEO part of your overall strategy can really help maximise your results.

Image created by author.

Category SEO
Christian Arno CEO at Lingo24

Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a global translation company. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 200 employees ...

Tips for Multilingual Video SEO

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