Spin a Global Web
The potential in the global marketplace is huge. By 2007, 1 billion people will have access to the Internet; 70 percent of these people will speak a language other than English. In fact, there currently are 128 million Chinese-speaking Internet users alone. This number is predicted to double within the next five years.
Studies show these Internet users are just like the rest of us: They heavily rely on Web sites in their native language to perform most tasks. What does this mean for marketers trying to reach these markets via the Web? Something many companies are not paying enough attention to: localization.
To reach non-English speaking markets, marketers need to have Web sites that speak to their target audience in their language. But speaking to customers in their own language is only the beginning. There are more than 80 million Web sites on the Internet, so marketers need to understand precisely what it takes for customers to find them in this bustling marketplace.
“Launching a new Web site is like opening a store in the North Pole,” says content management guru Gerry McGovern.
Indeed, unless you are actively promoting your Web site, very few people are going to find it. This problem particularly rings true with Web sites translated from English into foreign languages.
Search engines generate close to 90 percent of a Web site’s traffic. Most searchers don’t look past the first three pages. If your Web site doesn’t rank within those pages, you have very little chance of being found.
So, how does a multilingual Web site achieve higher rankings on search engines?
There are numerous factors that can affect search engine rankings. The first is to realize how important it is to hire a translator who is not only adept at translation, but who is savvy at search engine marketing. Why? Much of the search work can be undone by translators who have very little knowledge of how search engine marketing works.