In my previous post Does Google Translate Provide You with Additional SEO Juice? I highlighted that the response is a plain NO, because the page is translated on-the-fly, only exists in the visitor’s browser and can therefore never be indexed. Even worse, if you look at the source code of the “translated” page, you will see it is still in the original language!

In the event that somebody has not realized what this means, since the translated pages do not exist in reality, foreign users will not find your page either when they search for your keywords in their own language. They will find your page ONLY when they search for your keywords in YOUR language. So, if your web pages are in German, do not expect lots of English, French or Spanish visitors – those usually do not search in German. If you want those, translate the pages for real!

However, should one of these foreign visitors arrive somehow to your page (following a link, or perhaps because you have pages in English, that many people understand), it is a good idea to have Google Translate on your site – it may not provide you additional SEO juice, but the people that would otherwise leave quickly a page in a language that they do not understand will be tempted to find out what it’s all about using the Google translate box – and that means that potentially lost customers could also convert. OK, so it will not be the best translation in the world. But it leads to additional sales, why should you care? And, as I pointed out in my previous post, Google Translate is currently not a ranking factor.. but certainly Google will not frown on you using it, as it enhances user experience.

After the previous post, I received a few mails on this subject. The first one was was simply asking about how to include Google translate onto a web page. Well, to have your page translated is as simple as including the code that Google provides at the Google translate Tools page. Simply follow the four simple steps, and you have your web page accessible to your foreign visitors.

I also received a furious mail from some idiot who, following my recommendation, had tried to implement Google Translate, and got only nonsense as the translation. So I went and checked his page. The bloody fool had his page in Russian, yet apparently had ignored the very simple instructions that Google provides, and in step 2 had forgotten to indicate that the source text was in Russian. I tried the five languages I speak, and the results were quite weird. No idea whether it even looks similar to the original Russian text, as I do not speak that language, but I bet that the translation was not exactly good. So the first rule to implement Google Translate is to follow the steps that Google indicates, including indicating the source language! It really is not THAT complicated!

Another question I received was why visitors could not see the translated pages, even though they had “implemented” Google Translate! A quick check showed that in this case the webmaster in question had indeed included correctly the Google snippet of code into his home page. Unfortunately, that was the ONLY place where this was included!

Now, this mistake is more common than people realize (I received two other mails on other questions, and both had committed the same mistake). Google Translate works only on the page where the Google code snippet is included, NOT on the whole web site! If you want to make your web site accessible to foreign visitors, you should include the Google code in every single page that you want visitors to see in their own language.

Now, this is not so evident when you read the information at the Google translate tools page, and even less evident when you look into the Inside Google translate page. There is a Google Translate discussion group, but I found it outright disappointing, and the -otherwise quite interesting- Google Translate Blog does not provide any hints either.

So, if you want to use Google Translate, follow these two tips:

– Follow step-by-step the instructions in the Google Translate page, paying special attention to step 2.

– Make sure that you add the code snippet to EVERY page of your site!

Still, it is better to have a real translation, but that is another story…
And to my foreign readers, please select your language to see Google Translate in action:

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