I sometimes search for the term “SEO Translation”, just to check how this blog is positioned in Google (right now it is #2, without attempting any kind of search engine positioning, as I am too busy to launch a real SEO campaign). And I found a funny entry from Quintessential offering a (free) “SEO keyword translation tool”
I must admit I was intrigued, as multilingual keyword research is not for the faint-hearted, and requires some significant language and SEO skills. Could it be possible that this translation company had automated multilingual keyword research? After all, these guys have a PR 6, so they must know something about SEO (or at least hire knowledgeable experts). But before we continue, I must make a disclaimer: I never had any kind of contact with this company, so I do not know about how good or bad they might be. Similarly, since I never worked for them, nor hired their services, I cannot be biased in my judgment.
The interface seemed simple enough: Enter a keyword, select the target languages and then click on the “Submit” button”. There is a fair warning that states “At present the keyword tool only produces decent results in limited languages. Kindly also bear in mind that this offers suggestions only – further research should be undertaken before applying these results to website content, metatags, titles, H-tags, etc”. OK, I can understand that for a lot of languages (after all, there are around 6000 languages in the world). Using as a baseline my post on “Into Which Language Should I Translate My Website?“, I decided to try the second most spoken language in the world, which is Spanish. Unfortunately, I do not speak Chinese, which is the first one.
My first test was the word “translation”, which is translated into Spanish as “traducción”. Now, this should be simple enough, as we are talking about a translation company, which even offers website translation services. Did it provide any valuable advice? Well, the results were as follows:
Sorry, but I am not impressed. The first result “traducción francés” (French translation) is meaningful. So is the third one, which is the direct translation of the term I tried out. So is the seventh term, “traducción de palabras” (word translation), but the rest is pure rubbish for SEO purposes, as those words refer to translation of certain words or title songs into Spanish.
Now, what are “real” useful SEO words for the translation of “translation” (sorry for the redundancy)? If we enter in Google keyword search the translated term “”traducción”, we find that this word has 27,100 monthly searches worldwide (sorry, gentlemen from Quintessential, not 7 but rather four thousand times more). After filtering out the keywords that do not make direct sense, we have the following terms and associated monthly searches::
- traducción (translation): 27,100
- traductor (translator): 45,500,000
- traducir (translate): 201,000
- traductores (translators): 105,00
- traduccion (misspelled “translator”, should have an accent): 14,800
And, by the way, two of the “useful” terms that appeared in this tool (including the top one!) have a lousy search volume according to Google:
- traducción francés: 70
- traducción de palabras: 170
I performed a few more tests, using words related to the translator’s profession (after all, these guys are a translation company), but no luck. However, the results were not as bad as in the first test. For example, when I tried the word “translator” (“traductor” in Spanish), I got for this word the following results:
- traductor: 214,090 (instead of 45,000.000 indicated by Google)
- traductor google (Google translator): 76,407 (instead of 3,300,000 reported by Google)
- traductor de google (also Google translator): 21,502 (instead of 6,120.000 as per Google).
- traductor espa (meaningless term, probably should be a shorthand for “traductor español”, which means “spanish translator”): 2,747 (Google: 320)
Therefore, this tool unfortunately significantly underestimates the search volume of the different terms, apart from the fact that the keywords it provides are more than questionable from the SEO point of view.
Probably these guys have tried a combination of machine translation and keyword research, A nice idea, but it’s pretty obvious that the results are far from desirable. Is it ahead of it’s time? Probably. Is it ready for prime time? Certainly not. A nice toy, but I would not trust my multilingual SEO to a tool like this.
In case anybody wants to check out the results, I used for the validation the Google Adwords keyword planner, using a global search and the Spanish language. Perhaps these guys are performing the search in the wrong language, or on a restricted (and probably incorrect) market, and that is the reason they get these crazy results. If that is the case, and they correct it, they could give me a whistle and I’ll be more than willing to have another look. In the meantime… hire a human SEO translator.