London, UK (PRWEB UK) 8 August 2014
Localising and translating your content is essential for establishing a successful online presence in your target countries, it is also important to understand how local consumers search for content. Just as language and design preferences vary from country to country, consumers in each country have their own Internet search habits. You can ensure that consumers in your target countries will find your content more quickly and easily by accounting for these local practices in your international search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
The following are some key points that can serve as a starting point for localising your SEO efforts.
Search Engine Preferences by Country
As a first step, keep in mind that Google may not be the leading search engine in your target countries. In China, for example, local search engine Baidu has the majority of the market share. Google.cn is in a distant second place. In Russia, Google.ru is second to Yandex, the Russian-language search engine. In South Korea, users prefer local search engine Naver because it includes a great deal of user-generated content in its results, which users tend to trust more than standard websites.1 SEO best practices that apply to Google may also be helpful when optimising your web pages for these local favorites, but you will also likely to find fundamental differences in sites are ranked and displayed in search results.
No matter which search engine you create an SEO strategy for, choose keywords that consumers in your target country are actually using. In some cases, the keywords will be direct translations of the terms English-speaking consumers use, but those translations may be entered as search terms less frequently entered than local slang terms. For example, German consumers searching for information about mobile phones use the keyword mobiltelefon (German for mobile phone) much less often than the German slang word Handy.2 When localising keywords, you may also need to bear in mind that various regions in a country use different names for the same item or concept. In Russia, for example, speakers in Moscow have ways of referring to things that distinguish them from St. Petersburg speakers, who sometimes use words not commonplace in other regions, and so on.3
How Consumers Categorise Information
After youve identified the dominant search engines in your target markets and the specific terms used by local consumers to refer to products and services similar to yours, consider researching how these consumers categorise information. For example, you will find differences between Eastern and Western cultures in the way that people talk about and search for items. Western cultures tend to emphasise an items function when categorising it, whilst people in Eastern cultures are more inclined to group items by theme. Studies have found that Americans are more comfortable shopping in stores where items are grouped by their purpose (e.g., furniture, cleaning supplies), but Chinese consumers have an easier time finding items when they are grouped in a more holistic or relational way (e.g., kitchen, bedroom).4 To help your site appear in search results for a broader range of consumers, determine the categories into which consumers place your products and services, and then use those categories as additional keywords in your SEO efforts.
Although this article provides only a brief overview of how Internet search habits differ around the world, it illustrates how important it is to understand local practices as a key part of your online localisation strategy. It also underscores the necessity of going beyond translation and truly customising your content to reflect local ways in which international users find and categorise information online. You can make your local SEO efforts more effective and improve your page rankings by working with a translation service provider that has native speakers who have experience using the Internet in your target countries.
1 Anne Kennedy and Kristj