The One Where We Discuss Multilingual SEO With Isaline Muelhauser
In this week's episode, Isaline, content strategist and self-confessed SEO nerd, discusses all things multilingual SEO. We also find out what inspires Isaline and what empowers her to be the brilliant women she is today.
Massive shout out to MediaSesh for supporting the WTSPodcast and sponsoring this episode.
MediaSesh is an SEO consulting and training firm located in Denver, Colorado. They help businesses to be found by their customers on search engines. Their newest initiative is to help bridge the gaps between SEO and accessibility.
Where to find MediaSesh:
Christina Brodzky (Founder) Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbrodzky
Episode 2 - Isaline M
Sarah: Hello and a very warm welcome to the Women in Tech SEO podcast, where your hosts are myself, Sarah McDowell, SEO content executive at Holland and Barrett and the wonderful Areej AbuAli, SEO consultant and founder of the Women in Tech SEO community.
This week, we are joined by the wonderfully amazing Isaline Muelhauser who is a SEO nerd and content strategist, and also host of community SEO Nerd Switzerland and Content Strategy Lausanne. And she's a lover of cats and the outdoors. Hello!
Isaline: Hello. Hello Sarah. Hello Areej.
Sarah: This episode is sponsored by MediaSesh. Medaisesh is an SEO consulting and training firm located in Denver, Colorado. They help businesses to be found by their customers on search engines. Their newest initiative is to help bridge the gaps between SEO and accessibility. Their founder most recently conducted a webinar where she spoke with three brilliant women in the accessibility space to discuss how there's a discrepancy between how SEO is optimize images using the alt text field and how they should. You can learn more about that on their Twitter handle, which is @mediasesh or their website mediasesh.com. You can also follow their founder, Christina Brodsky on Twitter @cbrodzky
How are we both doing?
Areej: Really good over here. Super excited to have Isaline on with us. She is one of my favorite people in the community. And I know, I probably say that about a lot of people, but I mean it.
Sarah: You can have multiple favourites, that's okay.
Areej: Tell us more about you Isaline. I'm so excited that we've got you here and you do so much with your meetups. You have a lot of different things that you host locally as well. So we'd love to learn a little bit more about you.
Isaline: Yes, thank you for welcoming me today I'm really happy to nearly meet you in person, at least get to talk to you instead of writing. And so usually on Saturday mornings, I would be at my rowing training on the Lake. So I'm not unhappy to be here inside because the weather is not that good. So. It was a beautiful excuse not to go and sleep a little longer. So, so I'm really happy to join you this morning. And yes, I, I co-host two communities, one of them with my, one of my best friends, it's SEO, nerd Switzerlands and we just felt that it was really important to bring some knowledge about SEO to the Swiss people and also crate the contents that we find interesting. And the articles that we find worth reading and good sources. Because very often when people look for information and internet, it can be overwhelming with all of the articles. And when one is the beginner, it's difficult to know. What article is a good article and can be trusted. And what is a good source? Yup.
Areej: Yup. I love your meetup and I love that you continued doing it during the lockdown world we're in right now, which meant that you managed to get a lot of awesome people that you normally wouldn't have managed to get to if you were based locally. I know that you recently had one with Ruth on accessibility, which was absolutely brilliant. So yeah, I love that. You've continued doing that even in the current lockdown world we're in.
Isaline: I suppose this is one of the good thing of the COVID situation. If, I mean, if we can say it's, it's , uh, there are good things in the situation. It's a geography. Doesn't not matter anymore when you do things online. So indeed it was really. A huge privilege for Sarah and I to get to, to invite and welcome people that we look up to. And we've been stalking and on Twitter and reading every articles. So it was a wonderful feeling for, for Sarah and me too, to welcome them and get the chance to sort of share. Share the speaker with the community, you know?
Areej: Yeah. And for those who don't know, it's Sarah Moccand and she's absolutely brilliant. She recently spoke at Brighton SEO and just kicked us with her talk. So, yeah. Thanks so much for mentioning her and she's definitely a valued member of the community. Awesome. And can you just tell us a little bit more about how you set up your own business?
Isaline: I started my own business about a little bit over a year ago, I was working in a wonderful , um, web development agency with very inspiring people, but I felt that it was time for me to step on my own and be able to provide that. Type of service , um, to maybe smaller clients that I couldn't work with in a big agency. So there was a very important and very interesting step. So I don't regret it in minutes.
Sarah: I would now like to do a sort of like quick, fun, quick fire, round questions if you're up for that. So just stupid questions. And I just want you to answer with the first thing that comes into your head.
Isaline: Let's do this.
Sarah: Okay. Question number one. Why are frogs so good at jumping?
Isaline: They have long legs.
Sarah: Yes. That would help wouldn't it. With their being able to jump at favorite color
Sarah: Ah, I like the theme frogs to green. What'd you say you are good at DIY?
Isaline: Depends. What kind of DIY, if it includes a machine that makes noises, I get scared. So I can't, I can't like make a hole in my wall to suspend my posters, for example.
Sarah: Okay. So you're more with manual tools and the power tools. Exactly. You were at a restaurant or you owed, I mean, yeah, pre COVID or after COVID, you're sat at a restaurant. Are you having a starter or dessert?
Isaline: It depends. On what time you eat the cheese? Um, some people eat it sort of as a dessert after the meal or at the Apple before the meal. So I suppose both, if it's cheese
Sarah: Okay, cool. And your last quick fire question, what is the last thing that you made bread? Anything like food wise or creative wise or anything last thing that you made?
Isaline: I think it was bread
Sarah: What kind?
Isaline: A gluten-free bread. I have to make my own because I'm celiac. So, and I have a, boat's a Dutch oven, so it makes everything different.
Sarah: Ah, wonderful, wonderful. I mean, I've never made bread, so maybe, maybe I can get some tips
Areej: you. Yeah, I've never made bread either. And I think people should have both starters on desserts. Like there's no room to only have one of them. You should definitely have both every time.
Isaline: Yes, indeed.
Areej: Awesome. Well, I think before we kind of kick into our main topic and talk all things multilingual , um, I really want to learn a little bit more about, you know, what empowers you as a woman in our industry. And what, what do you feel has been one of the things that empowered you the most , um, to reach where you are right now?
Isaline: It is watching all the women that I admire. I only very recently understood what role model is as when I was younger, I used to stay, Oh, no role model. What is it? I don't need that. I don't care. But today I'm a little older and I realized that it's very inspiring to see how. All the women behave. And for example, in the webinar , um, SEO nerd Switzerland's it's, it was very interesting to see , uh, how Roxanna answered people's questions even when they were tricky and just, you know, generally speaking res see how other people behave and have sort of a new.
New standards of what is good and what is, okay. It's reassuring to do something when I've seen someone doing it.
Areej: Yup. I absolutely love that. And for those who don't know that strokes out a Stinko and absolutely brilliant technical SEO. Um, and yeah, I completely agree. And I think that's why representation matters, right?
Because , uh, if we, if we don't see ourselves represented on stage, or if we don't see ourselves represented in the workplace, then we're going to struggle to, to get inspired them, to get empowered.
Isaline: Yes. And I think this is one of the wonderful thing that this community provides. I mean, women in tech, SEO community is that it provides a whole range of representations.
And I believe that I can find someone I can relate to, but someone also very different from me can find someone else. And so this. Wide range of different people. This is that's truly amazing.
Areej: Yeah, I got off that and isn't it. So for women who are just starting off in the industry, let's say they're in their first year of what advice would you give them?
Isaline: If you want to be a business, behave like a business. And when I say that's, I mean, one of the things that's helped me is getting , uh, someone who, who does my bookkeeping getting a lawyer to help me write contracts in terms of agreements. So it means if you want to be a business, just be as reliable as someone you would like to start a business with.
I think it sets healthy work relationships for any clients that meets you.
Sarah: So we invited you today to chat about multilingual SCA. Um, so yes, I'm very excited about this topic , um, because it's something that I don't know that much about. Um, so I want to start off with the basics here. Um, so can you explain to. Our audience, what multi-lingual SEO is, and maybe give some examples.
Isaline: So multilingual as you is when you create and try to improve a website that is in more than one languages. So namely you are trying to attract traffic for more than one. One speaking languages. And you have to imagine that in Switzerland, we speak three, nearly four languages, and this is only the national languages, but, and we have every household projects in several languages.
But imagine someone who's even , um, like who has another mother tongue, like. Comes from Albania, for instance, and you have to make your websites in the national language, but also available to someone who has a different level of language than yours. So one of the things that I would like people to remember is that multilingual languages, as it's not only for the people who have this mother tongue, but also for the people who live in the country and I have another mother talk.
Sarah: Mm, I for languages in Switzerland, that that must be, I mean, yeah, that, that must be quite into what, what are the languages?
Isaline: So we have eight, about 80% is Swiss German about , um, think 12 to 15% is French like me. Um, another. I suppose another small percentage is a to Chino Italian, like Salmaco and then we have a few people talking romance, but this is a really, really small market share.
Areej: Wow. That's and everyone is, or the majority of people are fluent in English as well, right?
Isaline: Uh, yes, I say, I think that. I would say that English is second language more than another national language. Yeah.
Areej: Yeah. That's I, I think, I think that's amazing. And that explains so much about why a lot of Swiss people are extremely smart people.
Um, because from the very young age, they're trained on having a lot of languages that they, that they speak. Um, I wanted to touch in a little bit about if someone is talking about internationalization and internationalization CEO, Versus multi-lingual SEO, but what is one way that we can differentiate between those two?
Isaline: Um, that's a really good question. What are you. What would be internationalization SEO if it's not multilingual,
Areej: right? Yeah. I find it extremely interesting because I think there are a lot of, there are some websites, at least that, for example, if they tackle , um, let's say the U S and the UK market. Um, and in both cases, it's English.
So it's not specifically a different language. Oh,
Isaline: yes. Yeah. So that would be, yes. I understand. That would be like Swiss, German and German. Yes. Something I can relate to. Um, so I think this is where SEO , um, comes, closes to branding , um, because you can write a website that's how's that sounds, if I go back to what I know that sounds German of a website, that sounds which Swiss German, for instance, I had a client in the rental , um, fields and we were disgusting.
So. I was doing the keyword search and clustering things in, in French. And of course the markets being 80% Swiss German, one needs to translate, which means that I was looking for alternatives for project page ends, project names. That's where German. Right. And so I translated my keyword search, but the thing is.
The kind of words, aheads that the dictionary could give me were not the words that were actually used by the people. So in this case scenario, it means that using the dictionary words will make the website not sounds Swiss. Yup. And we'll change the level of trust that people would have in the service or products.
And so in such a scenario, I just talked to someone whose first language is Swiss German, who is living in the Swiss German part of Switzerland, because it could send me for instance. Oh, yes. For , which is rental guarantee, I suppose. Um, I was like, Oh, well I found mid-county and Mitson in scanty. And it was like, no, nobody uses that everybody uses
So it's the type of things when cannot know if. If one, doesn't talk with someone who's local. Yeah.
Areej: Yeah. We have that all the time with Arabic. So I'm, I'm fluent in Arabic, but I'm, I'm Egyptian. So that's subjection Arabic. And even though we have a lot of the same words, the Arabic that we speak in Egypt versus the one they speak in Jordan or Lebanon or Saudi Arabia or so forth, there's a lot of difference in the actual context of the words and meanings and people who are local would notice that right away.
If they go into a website and they read. You know, a specific article or, or so on. So w would you say that's definitely one of the challenges of multi-lingual SEO and if so, what other challenges are there?
Isaline: Hmm, I think another. Challenge is. So the challenge is, is choosing the right words in terms of SEO and in terms of branding, because it, as I say, it, it would have a different, it gives words, gives a different impression to people like on the sort of emotional level.
And the other thing it's , um, Confusing translating and copywriting. So lots of people are like, Oh yes, I'm going to translate the websites. And most of the time, I'm like, no, you don't need someone to translate. You need some right to copyright because you wants to have the same feeling that you're giving.
And so one of the. The mistake would be to just translate on a very, just in a very descriptive way. Whereas you need to transfer your brands.
Sarah: That's a very interesting point because I'm guessing some people, when they think about , um, different languages in multi-lingual SCA, they probably think, cool, surely this is just like air translating, but you have to make sure that , um, the words and not just the words that you're picking, but they're how you're putting words together is in fits in with your brand.
And that's very key. Isn't it. And do you think that's. That's sometimes what people sort of forget about and they just think are we just need to translate it word for word, and they sort of forget about what they're feeling or the characterization of the business.
Isaline: Yes. I think someone who, who might not have experienced this multilingual specifics, because when one learns a language, you know, sometimes you say words and you don't know the sort of seconds meaning, and it turns out what you said is a joke.
And you don't know, and you don't know why is it a joke, but you've just made a joke. And I think if you've never been in that situation, it would be difficult to understand this sort of second meaning and. I thought that one of the last BASCA, but CA podcasts , uh, sorry, SEO, SCSU recorded with the GMF montane.
She also pointed out with the example of Spanish that you have to think about the cultural reality of the people and the time of the year, like the season might be different from one continent to another, even if it's the same language. So. And I thought that was another very interesting point to , um, to say this is something I don't experience because Swiss German, the have winter at the same time that we have winter.
Um, but with the example of Spanish, so that's , uh, Very interesting. I mean,
Sarah: a lot at stake, right? Barely isn't there. So yeah, not only have you got to think about using the right words and making sure that they're right for your brand, but you've also got to think, okay. Seasonality and what also what's happening in that country that you're writing for as well.
Um, so. So, what are the sort of , um, are there any lights or tips that you can give us about how to like successfully tackle this?
Isaline: Yes. I think the first tip , um, as manage the client's expected expectation. If you do a keyword search in my case, in French, and I'll say, okay, I'll just translate it. To German to see if there's no nothing that goes completely against my finding.
However, if you wants to have the real targeting and attract the traffic, you need someone who has this mother tongue to actually do the keyword search. So really managing expectation about if you don't hire the people who speak the language to do the keyword search, you are not going to have the same types of results in terms of traffic.
So. That would be one thing. And also the best is to hire a copywriter that comes from the place that are local. Because if you have a copy writer from France, writing something for Swiss people, even though it's in French, it's going to sound. French and which is not necessarily what you want, if you markets is the Swiss markets.
So I think again, it's about client's expectation. You have to precise that one language has to be priorized over the others because the original language, what I call the original language is. The number one language in which the website is validated and then it's translated in secondary language. So the client has to choose the original language is going to be the best.
Areej: Yeah. I love that. Even other than putting content as you aside, I know this is something that's very popular for digital PR as well, and is extremely important. So having worked with quite closely with some digital PR teams, when I was agency site, we had a lot of the same thing on stake here where.
If someone is going to be doing the outreach for a specific country or region, then it's definitely better than they are from that country and region that they are familiar with. Um, you know, how to interact with journalists and what topics are. So I think everything you're saying definitely applies to that as well.
Is this something that you've you've had experience with or , um, or you can give some advice on , uh, For, you know, agencies and companies who , um, maybe are trying to go with the shortcut rather than actually hire people who, who are familiar with the language and with the local area.
Isaline: Um, I think the shortcuts in the end it's would be.
An investment that was not really worth that because it's not going to work at the moment. Sorry. I work with a client who is very, who is providing service in the marketing area and they have a very good , uh, blog, lots of very interesting articles, brilliantly written by people who live in France. And so they are attracted to third more of traffic that are French and.
A little bit of traffic that is Swiss when their market is Swiss, because they are located in Switzerland. So now they are in this situation where they have to, to rethink the whole content and leverage, you know, do the keyword search and the clustering and leverage the articles to target the actual markets they want to target.
So in the end, the investments is higher than. If you do that from first, you know? Yep.
Areej: Yeah. I love that. You're completely right. Right. So it's about investments long term. And even if we feel like we're spending a little bit more, initially, it's going to be worth it on the, on the long run. Awesome. So, I mean, just to wrap up, do you have any favorite resources that you would recommend for people who are getting into multi-lingual SEO?
Isaline: Hmm, very good question. I. I need to think about it and get back to you about that and answer question afterwards, if anyone reads to me on Twitter, because I've been living in the situation for so long that this is not a subject that I research, it's just a subject that is parts of how I work.
Areej: And I think that's applies to a lot of things in SEO, right? It's like learning by doing and learning by actually being added in the situation and having to kind of sort it out.
Isaline: Yes, but definitely listening to SEOs with Jima. I think she gave lots of very interesting inputs there.
Sarah: Wonderful. Well , um, what we will do is , um, at the end of the podcast , um, we'll sort of say where people can get in touch with you.
You say, if they've got any questions or they want to carry on picking your brain, they can do.
Um, awesome. My, I very much enjoyed this conversation. I feel like I've learned a lot in a short space of time, so thank you very much. Um, are you ready for a bit of a fun feature?
Isaline: Yes, I am.
Sarah: Yay. Okay. Right. So it has got a 10 year, it was linked to what we had been talking about today. Cause obviously you've been talking about multi-lingual SCA and this week's feature is , um, I'm going to quiz you on your capital.
You're repeating city knowledge.
Isaline: Oh, geography is hard,
Sarah: multiple choice. So making it a little bit easier for you. Um, my geography is rubbish. Just if that makes you feel any better. Uh that's okay. Let's and I'll probably pronounce some of the country's wrong, which is probably horrendous as well. Okay.
First, what is the capital city of Porgual?
Sarah: Oh, you did even need them.
Areej: I was just saying we should make it more difficult. No, multiple choice options.
Sarah: Vienna is the capital city of which country?
Sarah: Oslo is the capital city of which country?
Sarah: You're you're flying at this.
Areej: Yeah, I feel I'm pretty good as well. I know all the answers so far.
Sarah: I feel like I need to look at a map every night before bed, because my geography is so, so bad. Warsaw. Where, what capital city is that for? Which country.
Areej: Who's answering? I know the answer.
Isaline: I know the answer
Areej: Should we three, two, one?
Sarah: I love the combined effort here. Awesome. And then the last one, and , um, if you get this right, then you've got five out of five. Stockholm, where's that? What capital city is that?
Areej: I think initially she was worried. She thought we were going to ask hard questions.
Sarah: Well, I like to be kind with my features. Do you know what I mean? Like you want to feel like you're winning at something then? Yeah.
Areej: Is there a prize?
Sarah: That brings us to the end of this week's Women in Tech SEO podcast time.
Sarah: Yeah. If people want to carry on the sort of learning or carry on the conversation with you, how, how best can they do that? Where, where, where are you? Where can you be found?
Isaline: So I can be found on the Slack channel, if you are part of the community. Otherwise Twitter is good and LinkedIn, you know, the usual channels.
Sarah: Areej, how can people get in touch with this and the women in tech SEO podcast?
Areej: Yeah. So we're on womenintechseo.com You'll find the podcast up there on the nav or forward slash podcast. Definitely get in touch. If you want to speak, you can fill a form.
If you want to sponsor us, you can also fill a form. Um, and yeah, I just hope everyone gets to be part of the community and we get to have a lot of, for also conversations like we've just had with isn't it.
Sarah: Wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful. Well , apart from that, the only thing that I would say is if you're enjoying our podcast and you're not yet a subscriber, then please do subscribe to wherever you listen to your podcasts, because then you get notifications of when wonderful episodes go live.