Often in SEO, people confuse translation and localization—and ignore the latter as a result. This is risky in the field of SEO, where high-quality content is key to success. Content that local users can read naturally and find appealing is imperative to quality.
Therefore, localization cannot be overlooked or underestimated when planning and implementing global SEO strategies.
Here are 4 tips for SEO localization in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
1. SEO Localization in Hong Kong and Taiwan: Optimize for the true keywords that locals use
Keyword optimization is the foundation of any SEO strategy. When localizing for SEO across languages and markets, we are not just translating content, we are optimizing content to match the true keywords that locals use to search.
What do we mean by true keywords? Let’s use the word “motorcycle” as an example.
In Hong Kong, there are several terms used to search for motorcycle, but some are more popular than others. We can spot their differences in popularity by examining their search volumes (search volume refers to how many times a term has been searched in a given period):
Looking at search volume, we can see that “電單車” is the most popular search term for motorcycle (more so than “摩托車”). Therefore, optimizing for “電單車” matches Hong Konger’s true search keywords.
But it’s a different story when we’re optimizing for Taiwan:
In this case, “機車” is the most popular keyword for motorcycle (more so than “摩托車”). Therefore, optimizing for “機車” is imperative to targeting true Taiwanese search terms.
As you can see, it doesn’t make sense to simply translate motorcycle and use the same translated term for both markets. SEO localization requires strong knowledge of the local language to optimize content in a way that is not only coherent for locals but also matches their true search terms and intent.
2. SEO Localization in Hong Kong and Taiwan: Ensure that content reads well for locals
Content readability is a key factor that Google uses to determine a website’s ranking, as user experience is a top priority for Google, and no one likes to read content that is confusing and unappealing, right?
And that is why SEO localization is so important: To appeal to your audience, you must speak in their terms so that you appear familiar to them and they can start to trust you.
But when we visit the Chinese websites of global companies, it is not uncommon to find that some have ignored localization altogether. Word choice is unnatural to the local language and/or filled with translationese, making the content unappealing and even annoying to read for locals.
Therefore, it’s helpful to use native-language writers (like us!) to optimize your website content in a way that locals will find fluent, easy-to-read, and engaging. And improving readability improves ranking.
3. SEO Localization in Hong Kong and Taiwan: Create content that locals can relate to
It is always easier to capture readers’ attention with examples that they are familiar with. Therefore, creating content that locals find relatable is also an important task for SEO localization.
Let’s say an international company is going to publish an article about family reunions. If the article is written by a US marketing team, it will likely be written about Thanksgiving or Christmas as examples of holidays that are celebrated with family.
However, to localize this article for Hong Kong and Taiwan, Thanksgiving and Christmas should be replaced with local holidays like Mid-Autumn Festival or Chinese New Year, so that the target audience can feel considered and will be more likely to respond in-kind.
4. SEO Localization in Hong Kong and Taiwan: Understand the difference between Hong Kong and Taiwan in terms of word usage
Traditional Chinese is widely used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. So technically, if a website is written in traditional Chinese, people from both locales will be able to understand it.
But this doesn’t mean that you don’t need SEO localization specific to Hong Kong and separate from Taiwan and vice versa.
Using the translations of “motorcycle” as examples, we can see that there are differences in word usage between Hong Kong and Taiwanese people. As such, different keywords should be targeted specific to each market.
SEO localization in traditional Chinese is especially tricky, as there are many cultural differences behind the word choices of Hong Kong people and Taiwanese people. A good understanding of both Hong Kong and Taiwanese culture is required to succeed in either market (or both!).