I’ve been asked so many times about translating keywords to reach the US Hispanic market that I decided to write this article.

Does it make sense to just translate keywords for the US Hispanic market? The quick answer is YES! A company wouldn’t change its offering and value prop to serve people located in the same area where the only difference is the fact that they speak a different language.
The problem comes when selecting a translation for a specific keyword. One preconception of marketing teams is that everyone speaks the same Spanish, but the truth is far from that. Let’s see the following scenarios.

Scenarios 1: US Hispanic generational gaps.

In here we have first, the second and third generation of Hispanics. The first generation means that parents and children are foreign-born, to be considered the second generation, you need to have a US-born parent, and the third generation the whole family is US native, but from Hispanic descent.
In this scenario, it is easy to see how each generation will have different levels of acculturation and maybe using different amounts of English in their communication.

Scenario 2: Immigration background.

Diversity for this market starts with the multiple origin nationalities followed by different educational backgrounds and the reasons to move to the US.
Immigration to the US had different times, and periods, for instance, the Dominican that immigrated to NY in the 70s is very different from the Venezuelan that moved to Miami in 2010s. There’s a big possibility that the first came looking for a better life, while the latter may be looking to safeguard their savings and become an entrepreneur. Once again, same market, different segment, and different level of home country nostalgia.

Scenario 3: Cross-cultural societies.

As expected, use of Spanglish grows with acculturation into the general market. Conversations with English terms in Spanish sentences are quite often, or moving from Spanish to English without noticing.

Here’s a fun experiment to do, use voice search in Spanish when your browser and device are set to English. This use case is more common than you think, and the results are quite horrible.

How to do a US Hispanic keyword research then?

The good news is that you already have a starting point with your general market website, the bad news is that you’re going to have difficulty understanding your Hispanic audience basically, how your business is affected by the three scenarios above.

3 Tips when performing keywords research for the US Hispanic market

Tip 1 – Use people to translate.

There’s an itch of using solutions like Google Translate as a way to translate keywords, after all, machine translation is evolving quickly, and quality is improving. The missing piece is that context is critical to perform proper keyword research, and simple words are not enough to provide information to have a translation with meaning.

Tip 2 – Ask translators to be everyday consumers and not a linguist.

Most translators and linguist will have a problem with this – I feel the same pain of a broken language – but you’re trying to reach your target audience, and you want to use their terminology.
What I’ve noticed is that when asking translators to provide ideas on how people could refer to a specific topic, product, or service, I get good keyword ideas that most tools wouldn’t offer.

Tip 3 – Don’t pay too much attention to tools.

It’s normal to open your favorite keyword research tool, namely and look for usage, cost, difficulty, etc. What I’ve noticed, at least with SEMrush, is that they’re continually growing their Spanish US database, but isn’t near to the point of providing reliable data. I believe there are not enough good websites targeting the US Hispanic market.

It’s a little different if you have access to other sites in Spanish as you can learn from your website analytics, Google search console, and interactions of users with the business.

Bonus tip

Keywords matter, but we’re in the AI era of search engines, so pay more attention to how covering topics and make sure to have proper internal linking between topics. I don’t have proof of this, but AI should be able to get the idea of the topic and rank websites if their content solves the needs of the user.

This video is more than a decade old but will help understand the difficulties of keyword research in Spanish.