1. Only 25% of world wide internet searches are in English
Living on a diet of Hollywood movies and British pop songs it’s easy to assume that the world speaks English. This simply isn’t true. English is an international language but it is far from a universal one. In fact only 25% of internet searches are made in English.
Achieving good search engine optimisation is critical to have successful international websites. This requires a good understanding of the language and culture, understanding the needs of your customers and the keywords they will use to search for your product.
2. Google is not the only search engine
Here in the UK Google takes the lion’s share (90%) of the internet search market. This is not true in all markets. In some countries, such as China, Google is a distant competitor and the local search engine Baidu has more than 70% of the market.
It is important that you know which search engines are the most popular in the market you are targeting. Each search engine categorises key words differently. Having good international search engine optimisation and coordinating effective pay per click campaigns requires a detailed understanding of the search engines that are used locally.
3. Translation is about impact as well as meaning
You only have to paste a piece of translated text back into a free online translation engine to see how random some translation software can be. It is also important to realise that just because a word has a literal translation that word may have completely the wrong cultural associations in the language it is written.
We recently worked on an English Language website for Chinese motorcycle company, Zongshen. A literal translation of some of their promotional material described their bikes as being Dextourous and Firm. Whilst technically correct this means very little to the British market. UK bikers are looking for ‘Awesome Performance’ and ‘Superior Engineering’; the copy was changed accordingly.
4. Keep it local
One result of potential customers using local search engines is that the results they obtain are weighted towards the country they are in. Websites with ‘.co.uk’ achieve higher prominence when searched via Google.co.uk, and Chinese sites are displayed higher on Baidu.
An additional bias is given in favour of sites that are hosted locally. This means that a Chinese domain website that is hosted in the UK will not reach as higher search engine position as an identical site hosted in China. To achieve the best results you need to have a locally hosted website with a local domain.
5. Design is cultural
In the same way as people from different cultures enjoy different food and fashions they have different likes and dislikes when it comes to international websites design. A good site is easy to navigate and understand. Doing this requires a web design that is sensitive to the aesthetic expectations of different cultures.
Chinese websites for example tend to be image rich. They feature significantly more content than is appreciated by European consumers. Chinese web users prefer to see all the information they require on one page rather than navigating through lots of links and subpages.
In summary good international online marketing rewards companies who take the time to produce websites sensitive to local needs, that understand the language and culture of its consumers and use local hosts and domains.
Here at Clements Marketing we have built a highly skilled international websites team who have experience and understanding of delivering online marketing campaigns that successfully reach international audiences.
To learn more about how we can help you with your international websites, please give us a call on +44 (0)115 8232772 or email us now at email@example.com