How to Research PPC Keywords in a Foreign Language

ppc keywords

If you sell products and services to other countries, creating a foreign-language PPC campaign can be a great way of reaching out to brand new customers. According to Harvard Business Review, 72% of customers are more likely to buy with information in their own language.

If you do this, keyword research is critical. Not only are you researching keywords in a language that you may not speak, but you need to be aware of any potential issues that could result in negative publicity for your business.

With this in mind, here are some ways to carry out high-quality PPC keyword research.

Use native speakers

As tempting as it is to research your keywords in English and then run them through Google Translate, this is a bad idea. Automatic translation tools do not take slang and alternative regional terms into account.

For example, let's say you want to translate 'discussion' into Spanish. If you use Google Translate, this may translate into 'discusión'. This means to have an argument, which may change the tone of your content completely.

By using native speakers of the language, they will be aware of which words are the most appropriate.

If you use native speakers in other countries, be mindful of their time zones. They may be in bed when you are in the office!

The most common word might not be the best to use

When researching keywords in the English language, you are always looking out for the keywords that will give you the best results. The same applies to keywords in a foreign language.

For example, a typical Spanish term for car insurance is 'seguro de auto'. However, 'seguro de carros' is more frequently used by search engine users.

Take culture into account

When doing your research, be aware of any cultural issues that may cause problems with your advertising. Specific colors, words and iconography may be problematic.

For example, Friday the 13th is seen as unlucky in the English-speaking world but in Spain, Tuesday the 13th is the unlucky date.

Do your research before you pull together your keyword list and ad copy. Alternatively, ask a native language speaker for advice.

Start small

As tempting as it is to set up all your ad groups and keywords and launch them straight away, it's best to launch one ad group on its own to start. That way, you can test your keywords and make sure they work.

If your impressions, click-through rate and conversions are lower than average, you can troubleshoot the issue before you launch for real.

As an example, someone we know launched a Google Ads campaign for people in Spain. It turned out that click-through rates were low to the point of being non-existent. Upon further investigation, it turned out they had forgotten to change the location targeting to Spain!

So, when you are planning your foreign language PPC campaign, the best advice we can give you is to hire a native speaker or translation agency to do the keyword research on your behalf.

If they have experience of PPC… all the better!
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