Can you rank translated content?

Can you rank translated content?

How we grew one of the biggest Crypto Sites in Germany with translated content.

Disclaimer: Translating content infringes copyright. This post doesn’t encourage the translation of other people’s content. The sole purpose of this case study is to show that it is possible to rank translated content very well on Google.

I am excited to share this case study with you, because this has been a fun one. We wanted to find out, if it is possible to rank translated content on Google.

Is Google smart enough to detect translated content?

How does Google determine the quality of content?

The results are shocking…

Monthly earnings right now: ~465€ per month

  1. Sponsored Posts: ~300€ per month (we get 3–4 requests per month but reject most inquiries)

2. Affiliate Earnings: ~145€ per month

3. Advertising: ~20€ per month

(I believe that the earnings are still extremely low if you recognize the potential that this website has. It is very well possible that we will do 2–3k a month with this website soon. I will regularly update this post as our earnings increase.)

Results so far:

13.500 Organic traffic per month

#5 for “Binance” (40.000 Search Volume)

#2 for “Bitmex” (12.000 Search Volume)

#29 for “Bitcoin News” (44.000 Search Volume)

Now I will explain to you step-by-step how we grew this project to 13.500 organic traffic per month.

Translating the Content

The first step was to find a good website we could translate the content from. Most importantly we had to make sure that the Keywords we were trying to rank for also had a high search volume in Germany.

After a little bit of research we found our “victim”. It was an English crypto guide (not news publication) with roughly 200 articles uploaded at the time. Their main focus were articles about:

  1. Coin X guides
  2. How to buy coin X
  3. Exchange X guide
  4. Crypto tools
  5. Crypto Wallet X guide
  6. Trading guides

The site had around 50.000 Organic Traffic per month according to Ahrefs.

We scraped all articles through the “Top Pages” feature inside Ahrefs and then exported the list.

We sorted all articles by “most traffic” and decided that we only wanted to translate the top 80 articles. All other articles didn’t have enough search volume in Germany.

We used a tool called DeepL to translate the content.

“DeepL is a deep learning company that develops AI systems for languages. The company, based in Cologne, Germany, was founded in 2009.”

The awesome thing about DeepL is that they allow translation of PDFs and DOCX files. To speed up the process, we hired a VA to paste all articles into .docx files.

Then we bought the PRO version of DeepL for one month, to translate all articles.

Voila. After a couple of minutes we had 80, insertion ready, german articles.

(Quick side-note: While DeepL is an awesome tool, that it is extremely good at accurately translating articles, I must admit that the articles were not perfect and we had to proofread them before publishing. A lot of technical terms were translated literally: “Cold storage” for example became “Kühllager”.)

Now looking back, it is incredible how easy this process was. We created content out of thin air.

I was curious to see, how the user signals of this project were going to be. Would readers be able to figure out that the articles were translated?

Creating the Website

The only thing we cared about when creating the website was that it had to look like a legit crypto publication. We didn’t want to use a common WordPress Theme.

We struggled to find a suitable WordPress theme. Most themes didn’t have this “magazine feeling” to them. They all looked common and boring.

At the time we just found out about this new CMS called Webflow.

As we viewed this project as a “test” either way, and saw that there were some pretty cool magazine templates on Webflow, we decided that we would go with the “Inc.” Template on Webflow.

Creating the website was a breeze, since all articles were already formatted. All we had to do was insert the articles into Webflow and then make some minor adjustments to the template.

Inc Webflow Template

(Side-note: Webflow has some major SEO implications: Customizing the permalink structure is a pain in the ass. You can’t do any image optimization such as using the .webp format. You can’t use AMP. If we had to start over again, I would probably use WordPress for this particular project. But hey, at least the website looks great now.)

SEO

Search Engine Optimization: My second love. Obviously we would generate traffic through SEO. It’s what I love, it’s what I can do best. Let me show you how we ranked the website.

  1. On-Page Optimization

Meta Information: We used simple templates that we could apply to all articles:

Meta information for https://bitcoin-news.one/exchanges/binance

Schema: We used the Organization, Breadcrumb, Article, Review & FAQPage Schema:

Structured data on our articles

Our SERPs Snippets look like this:

SERP Snippet of https://bitcoin-news.one/exchanges/binance

E-A-T: For our fake personas we have an author box and an author page:

Author Box for Callie Machalat
Author Page https://bitcoin-news.one/authors/callie-machalat

We also used the organization schema and created some Social Profiles:

Organization Schema

Internal Links & Siloing: We internally linked articles when possible:

Internal Links

Basically we followed all fundamental On-Page Optimization rules. There was no magic involved here, just pragmatically perfecting the basics.

My advice to you: Don’t overcomplicate On-Page Optimization. Make sure that your meta information includes your main keyword. Use Schema so your Snippets look great. Follow E-A-T guidelines. Last, make sure to properly internally link your articles. That’s it.

2. Off-Page Optimization

This is where the fun started. Our Off-Page Optimization methods are the main reason why this website ranks so well.

This project is another example that Linkbuilding still works well in 2020.

301 Redirects: We found some extremely “potent” expired domains: satoshistudios.io, mttr.app and freedman.club.

Backlink profile of satoshistudios.io and mttr.app

As you can see, these expired domains have some of the best links you could imagine. Bitcoin-news.one now has backlinks from domains such as:

forbes.com

bitcointalk.org

bitcoin.com

bitcoincash.org

We immediately redirected satosistudios.io and mttr.app to bitcoin-news.one. Freedman.club we are still waiting to redirect.

We bought Satoshistudios.io from Kalin’s Expired Domains platform https://seo.domains/ for 150$.

Mttr.app and freedman.club we actually scraped. Quite insane, that it is still possible to scrape such good domains.

Note, that these domains are 100% topically relevant however in a different language (EN). This shows, that redirecting international domains actually works.

PBNs: Ohh yeah, we used PBNs. While the sentiment on PBNs slowly starts to become more “negative”, in Germany PBNs are still extremely effective.

We published around 100 PBN links in a time span of 12 months.

Nothing fancy here, just passing link juice with good old PBNs.

Forum Links: This is a specialty in Germany. While most forums are spammed in the US, forum links are still an extremely good link type, to buffer your other Links.

We published around 150 forum links in a period of 12 months.

You can view most of the links we built on Ahrefs. Except for the PBN links of course 😉

Bitcoin-news.one backlink profile

As you can see, our main focus with Off-Page Optimization was to get as much link power onto bitcoin-news.one as possible.

The methods we used definitely were aggressive, but all links we built were topically relevant (even the links from 301 redirects).

My advice to you: Use 301 redirects. In my opinion it’s currently the most underrated strategy to build some high quality backlinks. PBNs and forum links are awesome, but the main reason that bitcoin-news.one ranks well is because of the 301 redirects.

Monetization

We monetize the website with three methods: Affiliate marketing, sponsored posts and display advertising.

Setting up the affiliate links was quite easy, since most of the original articles were already promoting either Binance, Coinbase or an alternative CFD-Broker.

Besides exchanges and brokers we also sent traffic to hardware wallets such as Ledger and Trezor.

All we had to do was to replace the original affiliate links with our own. Again a simple process.

Setting up sponsored posts and display advertising was also pretty straightforward:

We have a contact page for people that want to publish a sponsored post. We would answer the inquiries by sending out our media kit.

We used Google Adsense for display advertising and just used the automatic placement feature.

Monetization was done. Again just simple things. Our earnings solely depend on the amount of traffic we generate. And the website was about to grow quite fast.

Results:

Bitcoin-news.one Traffic

We started the project in February 2019. The website steadily gained traffic and in August of 2019 the website exploded to 10.000+ traffic per month.

Also to my surprise the User signals actually weren’t that horrible:

User Signals of Bitcoin-news.one

The website has an average of 2.44 pages per session and an average dwell time of 1:16 minutes. That’s pretty good for translated content.

Main Takeaways:

Even after the huge announcement of the BERT update from Google, the algorithm (at least in Germany) is still not able to rate the “quality of content”.

Google isn’t even smart enough to detect translated content from the original source.

All articles on bitcoin-news.one are not written well. It’s a pain in the ass to read those articles.

It’s fascinating to see that you can still trick the algorithm with poor content. Ranking websites on Google is like telling a story to a 5-year old: They will believe anything from you, as long as you tell a plausible story.

So the main takeaways are:

  1. Google can’t detect translated content.
  2. Google is really bad at rating the “quality of content”. Google probably uses User Signals to determine the quality of content.
  3. Fake author profiles also still work.
  4. Linkbuilding is the main reason why bitcoin-news.one ranks so well. Linkbuilding still works in 2020.

The future of bitcoin-news.one

We started this project as a joke. We never thought that this case study would turn out so well.

Now after roughly a year of turning shit into gold we decided that we will make a legit crypto publication out of bitcoin-news.one.

We will replace the translated content with “real content” from contributors. It will be exciting to see, if this content replacement will have effects on the rankings. (We will pretend that all articles have been “updated” since they were “out of date”)

We are recruiting talented writers to work on the news section of bitcoin-news.one.

Also we are about to start producing Social Media content (a YT channel, Podcast & FB community).

Let’s see if we can turn bitcoin-news.one into a legit media company now.

Written by
Richard Hopp
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