How You Can Benefit From Multilingual Video SEO

It’s official – the world loves online video.

Take YouTube, for example, which has over a billion viewers each month, 70 percent of them located outside the U.S. In the last quarter of 2012, YouTube was attracting 5.55 percent of all search clicks, according to Experian. That put it second only to Facebook as the world’s most popular search engine.

It’s no surprise that Asia leads the way in global video statistics. ComScore’s report on online video penetration across Asia Pacific revealed that the average video fan in Japan watched 242.5 videos a month. Hong Kong viewers, at 180.7 views per month, also exceeded the worldwide average of 159.4 views. In India, online video views have doubled from 2011 figures.

Use Multilingual SEO to Increase Views

Clearly video can be a powerful medium for generating interest. However, with YouTube alone seeing 100 hours of video uploaded per minute, you need to be sure your video will be found by your target audience.

Use multilingual SEO to increase the ranking of your videos in search results. As with all online content, focus on not just being found but on attracting relevant traffic. Ultimately, a significant percentage of your viewers need to be converted into customers, if your video campaign is to have measurable benefits for your business.

It makes sense to use Google’s Keyword Planner or a similar keyword research tool. Aim to create a shortlist of the most popular search terms for your niche in each target language. As with the earlier keywords tool, which it replaces, Keyword Planner lets you filter results by language and by location.

Use Multiple Channels for Multiple Languages

Optimizing your video content with keywords can seem tricky at first, with less text to play with than you would have in written content. Make the most of what you do have by weaving keywords naturally into each text section. These include the video title, tags, and the description field. On most video sites you can also add text to a profile area.

Follow the lead of global brands such as Vodafone by creating separate channels for different languages and regions. This makes it possible to include audio tracks and text descriptions in your viewers’ own language. It also helps with optimization, since you can include foreign-language SEO and location-specific keywords.

Accurate translations are all important when it comes to making a good impression and gaining your viewers’ trust. In the world’s largest markets, there can also be marked regional differences in language use. Where alternatives exist, your word choices should reflect those used by viewers in your target country or region.


The world’s a large target, with a rich variety of cultures as well as languages. Localization is a key part of creating video content that has local appeal.

Take a look at Pepsi’s page and you’ll see how the brand has a country selector to allow a user to see videos and other visual content directly relevant to her own country. For instance, Pepsi Vietnam includes a Pepsi With Food video showing local people enjoying Vietnamese cuisine. On the Egypt channel users can enjoy viewing the Pepsi Ramadan 2011 video campaigns.

Localizing in this way is a smart move. Firstly, your video content can be made relevant to both the language and culture of your audience, as Pepsi has done. Viewers are more likely to relate to a brand that reflects their own lifestyle, with people who look like them and speak their language. It also lets you appeal to the things they most care about, whether it’s music, fashion, or social activities.

Secondly, it becomes easier to avoid those faux pas that can be fatal to any visual campaign in global markets. Videos can be adapted to fit cultural sensitivities – for example, drinking alcohol or wearing revealing clothing are considered inappropriate in some countries. Similarly, there will be no need to worry about hand gestures that can have different meanings, or whether a joke that’s hilarious in one part of the world is offensive in another.

Beyond YouTube

While YouTube has almost global coverage, be prepared to branch out to other popular video search engines in your markets. In Asia in particular, there are a number of alternatives. A closer look at comScore’s analysis of top video destinations in four Asian markets includes Facebook, VEVO, and sites in the Yahoo Group. When it comes to China, where YouTube is banned, you’ll need to make sure your content reaches the millions of daily video viewers using Youku Tudou and Baidu.

In a world that loves to be entertained, video has become an essential part of getting your brand noticed. However, keep in mind that its global appeal is often dependent on content being localized for each language and market. Combine culturally relevant videos with smart, multilingual SEO and you can harness its power in the global marketplace.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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