Tag Archives: SEO

Freelance translators: Should you blog?

This is the 20th post on my 10-month-old blog of my 19-month-old translation business in my 38th year of Life on Earth.

If I can start a blog and keep it up, you can too.

Launch your own blog if this means you!

  • You will write posts regularly.
  • You write fairly well and—more importantly—you want to get better.
  • You believe blogs are useful.
  • You want to build your web presence.

No, do not blog if you fit this description:

  • You cannot commit to posting on a regular basis.
  • You think blogs are pointless.
  • You market your services in a non-blogging manner. (Or you’re so busy with well-paid work that you don’t need to market yourself at all.)

Setting up a blog is the easy part. The care and feeding is hard.

What are the benefits of blogging?

Fabio Said on Fidus Interpres sees blogs as a business asset:

Blogging makes people aware of your work as a translator and brings new prospects, blogging makes people aware of the translating profession, blogging generates additional income…

I agree.

How has Catherine Translates paid off for me?

  • Clients see my blog and feel assured that I’m a serious professional.
  • Colleagues read my blog and refer clients or subcontract work to me.
  • I’m more articulate. I write with more confidence.
  • More people visit my website.

Now you may be wondering…

Should you write short and snappy posts?

Many readers like to see concise 300-word posts once or twice a week. I do too.

Or should you write long posts and publish less frequently?

I personally vote for in-depth articles.

In my experience, comprehensive posts are shared more easily by readers via social media. For example,

These posts were promoted by other people. Not by me. That’s the beauty of social media.

You can of course vary your types of blog posts. You can mix up long copy, short copy, podcasts, how-tos, interviews and so forth. For some inspiration, see these two blogrolls: the ATA Blog Trekker and ProZ translation blogs.

Read these resources for beginner bloggers

If you’re almost convinced you should start blogging, read Sarah Dillon’s 21 tips for timid bloggers. Then consult Riccardo Schiaffino’s Blogging 101 lesson and get your blog off the ground.

You’re not quite ready to start your own blog?

If you’ve got something to say but don’t want to do your own thing, feel free to submit a guest post to Catherine Translates.

I’d appreciate your contribution. See guidelines on my Guests Posts page if you’re interested.

Are you convinced of the merits of blogging? If you already have a blog, what’s in it for you? Leave your URLs in the comments.

(If you liked this post, leave a comment and share it on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Thanks!)

Brian Clark’s SEO Copywriting presentation on International Freelancers Day 2010

I floated in and out of several presentations on International Freelancers Day and entirely reserved myself for SEO Copywriting Made Simple for Freelance Writers.

THE presentation I was waiting for.

I’d like to produce website translations which are attractive to both people and search engines. Some basic SEO training is in order.

Part I Keywords

This is my interpretation of Brian Clark’s advice about creating effective SEO copy:

  • Find your keywords by thinking of the searcher’s question. What actual language would they use?
  • Put keywords in your title to obtain a higher search ranking.
  • Put keywords in your meta-description to obtain the click.

My keyword research experiment: Let’s say the title in French is about “personnes agées.” Should I refer to the elderly, seniors, senior citizens, or retirees, in terms of SEO?

I used Google Adwords to find the number of worldwide monthly searches for each term.

  1. elderly -> 1 220 000 (but searchers may largely use this as an adjective)
  2. seniors -> 1 000 000
  3. senior citizens -> 165 000 (that’s it?)
  4. retirees -> 74 000

Now let’s see what a translation of “maison de retraite” would lead to:

  1. nursing home -> 1 500 000
  2. old folks home -> 1 500 000 (people still use this term?)
  3. assisted living -> 673 000
  4. retirement home -> 110 000
  5. home for the elderly -> 60 500

Conclusion: I’d consider using “seniors” and “nursing home” as keywords to get a higher ranking in search results.

(This keyword research took twenty minutes. Researching the keywords and coming up with the headline and meta-description could take me a whole morning.)

Part II Content

Brian continues his talk by insisting on value:

  • C R E A T E   A   G R A N D   P I E C E .
  • Develop cornerstone content. Be useful and relevant. Your work should answer your searcher’s question comprehensively.
  • Consider creating a content landing page if you’ve made a multi-part resource. This page acts as a table of contents and may get bookmarked for later reading.
  • No keyword stuffing!
  • Link out to external sites (around once every 120 words) and cross-link throughout your own.
  • Put keywords in your anchor text.

Since the English content must engage the English-speaking reader, I’ll have to do more than just translate. I’d have to weed out anything useless, maybe add something which needs more attention, and make sure the videos and images are appropriate.

When it comes to linking out to a related site in French, my client and I would have to decide if that’s useful or not. Or we may have to come up with a relevant site in English.

Part III Links

Brian Clark moves from creating the text to promoting it. He advises viewers on how to encourage others to link to your work:

  • Guest writing. Contribute relevant posts on other blogs.
  • Participating in social networking.
  • Tweeting out your work because Google likely recognizes retweeted links (probably after three retweets).

This gives me some food for thought about possibly offering additional social media services…

To conclude his presentation, Brian Clark mentioned two free documents which are available from Copyblogger:

a) 5-Part Guide to Keyword Research

He takes one subject—mixed martial arts—and shows how the keywords “MMA” would attract fighters and “UFC” would attract fans of the sport.

b) SEO Copywriting Made Simple

28 pages of copious SEO writing advice.

Brian Clark sums up this report like this:

“A good copywriter needs to have a flair for writing content that’s inviting to share and to link to. She needs to have top-notch skills to optimize the page, so search engines know what it’s about and who might want to read it. And she needs to know how to write copy that converts readers to buyers.”

Replays of all the International Freelancers Day presentations

You can now see this video for yourself! I found out three hours ago that the replays of all the talks are now online.

Catch a few other sessions as well. Let me know what you think.

Thanks to Ed Gandia, Steve Slaunwhite and Pete Savage, from The Wealthy Freelancer, for organizing such an inspiring event.