Did you know that 42% of Internet users are in Asia?  Or that the use of Arabic on the web has increase 2500% in the past 10 years?  These are just several examples of the increasing need for businesses to increase the use of foreign languages on their websites in order to meet the demands of the legitimate “World Wide” Web.  English is definitely losing Internet market share by the day.  Let’s discuss two major ways you can optimize your site by employing foreign languages.

1—Moving to a Local Level

Not everyone in the world speaks English.  Although many foreigners do, they would prefer to shop and browse in their own language.  For example, a recent statistic shows that 85% of people require information on the web to be in their native language before they will make a purchase online.  The best way to meet the consumers’ requirements in

foreign language optimization

Foreign Language Optimization can take place in many different areas.

this area is to participate in search engine optimized localization—what a global translation firm calls “a hybrid somewhere between what an Internet marketing company and a translation service provider might offer.”

This might include translation services followed by search engine optimization, or translation services followed by local listings, or a combination of both.  Regardless of the methods, the actual localization factor includes addressing your target countries’ cultural and linguistic factors.

2—Social Media and Searches

Because search rankings from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Digg are continuously improving Google search rankings, foreign language optimization is just another great option for companies.  This is a great way to connect with customers and consumers around the globe and improve your ranking simultaneously.  Large companies are already jumping on board; Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Cisco currently provides Twitter accounts in ten languages, while Sony already provides 20.

Keep in mind also that just because Twitter and Facebook are the most prominent social media outlets in North America, they may not be the most prominent in your target market.  For example, the number one social media platform in Russia in “Yandex” while the number one platform in Brazil is “Orkut.”  Remember, your likelihood of succeeding in the social media sector (regardless of where you are) depends on the prominence of your online presence in that particular language.

While optimizing your site for foreign languages can be quite the task, the results far outweigh the costs to get there.  A Localization statistic reported that for ever $1 invested in localization efforts, there was a $25 ROI.  With e-commerce and the Internet overall still growing rapidly, a utilization of these techniques can only result in a positive return on your investment.

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director