Are you marketing in just one language? If so, you are missing out on 64.8% of your marketing potential. This is because 64.8% of the world is surfing the internet in a language other than English. By becoming a multilingual marketer, you immediately open up a stream of new markets. Google alone crawls web pages in 35 different languages.
One of the best ways to attract worldwide traffic is to translate your site and register it with both English and foreign-language search engines and directories. Not to mention, the competition in foreign search engines is much less competitive than the search engines of the United States.
Foreign language markets online are currently growing at a much faster rate than English speaking markets. You have the opportunity to tap into this market while it is in an exponential growth phase.
Below is a complete plan to getting your web site translated and into the foreign search engines and directories.
First, you must make a list of all of your keywords in English. These are the phrases that people use to find you in the search engines. You can extract these keywords by going to your web site’s statistics program.
To optimize your web site for foreign search engines, you must identify equivalent and related terms in that language. Many of the English keywords may have multiple translations in another language. For example, if you are optimizing your web page around the keyword “socks”. You will most likely end up with twice as many search terms in French because there are two common words for socks in the French language: “bas” and “chaussettes”.
After you create a list of targeted keywords, you will need to find out which of these search terms are worth pursuing. You can do this by doing some research with Overture and Miva. Both of these pay-per-click search engines offer search suggestion tools in a variety of languages.
Finally, you will need to group the search terms together into similar terms and assign each group to a specific page on your web site.
Step two is to place these translated keywords on your site. There are two ways of doing this.
You can translate each page into a specific language. Once you have all of these pages translated, you will then need to link them all together from your home page. Each of these pages will need to be optimized for your targeted keywords. You do this the same way that you would for an English site. Place your keywords in the title tag, meta keywords tag, and the meta description tag. You’ll also want to plug these translated phrases into the body of the text and headlines of your pages, especially the first 200 words.
However, the best way to translate your site is by creating a completely new site for each translation.
Doing this offers a variety of benefit, one of these being the ability to register a country-specific domain for each of your web site translations.
For example, if you currently own www.companyname.com and you are translating into French, it would be appropriate to use www.companyname.fr. This country-specific domain lets the search engines know that you are a French web site.
By setting up a new web site for each language, you will also be entitled to additional directory listings in the country specific Yahoo! Directory, DMOZ, and other high–profile web site directories in that language.
Creating multiple sites is also beneficial for your linking campaign. People will be more likely to link to you if your web site is entirely in their language. Because link popularity is such a crucial ranking factor, creating separate web sites would be best for your business.
Step three in our multilingual strategy is to submit your newly translated site to the foreign search engines. Many of the major search engines have regional versions of their web site so that they appeal to visitors in various countries of the world. They include AOL Search, Alta Vista, Excite, FAST Search, Go/Infoseek, Google, HotBot, Lycos, MSN Search, Northern Light, Open Directory, Snap, WebCrawler, and Yahoo.
You can find a complete list of the top foreign language search engines at http://www.allsearchengines.com/foreign.html
Another opportunity that has been opened up by multilingual markets is that of pay-per click search engines.
Using pay-per-click search engines is one of the fastest ways to start funneling targeted traffic to your website. While most of the pay-per-click engines in the United States have been flooded with competition, many of the foreign pay-per-click search engines have untapped opportunities.
English language search terms can often be five-times the cost of Spanish language bids. For example, the keyword phrase “internet marketing” cost $2.09 for the number one position in the English version of Overture. However, if you place an ad in the Spanish version, it would only cost you 50 cents for the very same position.
Keep in mind that when you translate your web site into a different language, you must be able to offer customer support in that language. If you are not fluent in the language yourself, this will be something you need to outsource.
Many web surfers located in countries other than the United States and Canada do not trust web sites as much as Americans and Canadians do. This is largely because the internet was first introduced in English.
Because of this, visitors from other countries will want your online business to have a personal touch. You can do this by providing local contact information and an address in the footer of each of your pages. Your visitors need to know that you are a real person that can be trusted.
If you decide to translate your web site, do not take this task lightly. There are many considerations that must be taken into account. It is important to steer clear from automated tools to translate your site. Instead, use local translators who fully understand how business works in their country and make sure you have local sales staff to support each of your customers.
Your online presence is just as important as that of an offline business. You need a customer support staff that will be available to your customers at all times. You are not just translating your business, you are establishing an online business in that language and a local presence in the country you are targeting.