Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004
How do you quickly double your online income? Well, that's easy. Get found by the 50 of the world that currently cannot possibly find you. I can almost hear you say, "Did you just say that 50 of the world cannot possibly find me?" Yes, and that is the saddest thing but the greatest, simple to execute opportunity for many online businesses
Let us start by seeing why half the world is in no position to find you. After that, we will see how we can change that. Some quick statistics and facts are in order here. These are the numbers and facts that we will be using to formulate our strategy and win in these foreign markets:
- According to some accounts, half the world's Internet users either do not speak English, or they do speak it but prefer to search the web in their own language. In either case, when they go to a search engine, they type in their search terms in their language and not in English. That is why they cannot find your web site - because the keywords you use are not translated into their language. But remember, they can read English or use translation software to translate English sites. The only problem here is that they cannot find your site. But if they did, they would be able to use it somehow. We will look deeper into that later.
- They tend to use localized search engines that are able to index words in their language.
- They use translation tools that are able to translate English web pages to their language as they browse.
- Although the world has thousands of languages and dialects, 97 of the world speaks just 24 languages! A quick visit to Oracle.com will show you what these languages are. Oracle has a drop-down language selector that covers them all. You can make your own simple instant translator free at (http://www.rohitab.com/cgiscripts/translingo.html). Modifying it a little would enable you to have a single drop down instant translator that covers 30 languages. See (http://www.FatSMS.com) for an example of how this has been done. If you wish to have one of these on your site, see (http://www.positionweaver.com/transguide/) for more information.
- Because very few English site owners submit to non-English search engines, and do so using appropriate content as we shall soon see, you will be tapping into a very ripe, large and untapped market with much less competition.
- Foreign language markets online are growing at a much faster rate than English speaking ones as the Internet penetrates these countries.
On a country-by-country level, here are some quick statistics and facts to go by:
- In the Latin world, Brazil is the largest single market, speaking Portuguese. Also keep in mind that roughly 1 out of every 9 people in the USA are Spanish speakers. That is a huge market.
- The German market is very large, wealthy, and high-tech. It also has a large proportion of bilingual users who primarily search and browse in German but they are able to read English sites when they do find them, without the use of any translation software.
- The French-speaking world is probably even larger than the German one, with about 150 million people spread around the world in many francophone countries.
- The Asian speaking market is phenomenal. Some researchers estimate that by 2007, the dominant language on the Internet will be Chinese. Even today, Asian users make up a big chunk of all online users. Japan, the second largest economy in the world, is non-English speaking.
To ignore these markets is simply crazy, yet most people do. But that is understandable, given the fact that most people think it is very difficult to penetrate them. I would like to show you how easy it really is, something that I myself just learnt a couple of days ago quite by accident.
Our goal is simple, and it is to get people to find our web site when they search using words in their language that describe our site. For example, say you had a web site that sold travel reservations. Let us assume that most people find your site using the search term 'cheap air tickets'. If your site were entirely in English, then you would only get people searching using the term 'cheap air tickets'. You would never be found by Germans searching for 'preiswerte Flugscheine', the German translation of that. Remember, these Germans would have been able to read your site in English or use their translation-capable browsers to read it, and then order from you. The same goes for Italians searching for 'biglietti di aria poco costosi' or Spaniards that type in 'billetes de avión baratos' into the search engine. But you could have sold to any one of them, they were definitely looking for you and they would have understood you.
Now that we have seen what the 'foreign terrain' looks like and how accessible and exciting it really is, let us look at how to take our web site abroad easily. This is a three-step process.
Step one is to get together all our keywords in English. Make a list of all the words and phrases that people mostly use to find you on search engines. Once you have this list, go to some free online translation sites and translate your list into all the necessary languages. You can translate them free using machine translation services, although for better accuracy you would want to pay for human translation. The site mentioned above has a free tool that brings about 30 languages together. To start with, translate into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. There are free machine translators on the web for all these languages.
Step two is to have these translated keywords on your site. There are three ways of doing that:
The easiest and cheapest way is free. It is not as effective, but it is far better than doing nothing. All you do is insert these translated keywords into your site pages title tag (very important) and Meta keywords and description tags, plus in the body text and headlines of your pages. That alone is far better than having a 100 English site.
The other thing that you can do is still more effective. This is making pages for each language. The cheapest way to do that is to use these free machine translators online to translate each of your web pages. That translation will not be too accurate but it is good enough. Better accuracy is achievable through human translation services. Once you have all your pages translated, be sure to link them together from your home page. By the way, the instant translators described above are great for giving speakers of a wide variety of languages instant local language translations of your site, but because these translate on the fly, they do not help in your foreign search engine efforts. Only static built pages are indexed.
The best effectiveness is obviously achieved if you can make a page optimized for each keyword and for each language. These are optimized doorways in each language and keyword - and their effectiveness is just as great as the effectiveness of English doorways. The easiest way to attack such a task is to use a combination of the free translation services we have talked about and doorway generation software such as the one at (www.PositionWeaver.com). What you would then need to do is to make up a long paragraph text in English, translate that along with your keywords, then plug them into PositionWeaver or similar software and in minutes you have optimized pages in any language of your choice!
Step three in our strategy is to submit our new multilingual site to not only the usual English search engines, but also to the foreign search engines. Many of the big English engines have localized editions and if they don't they still index foreign language pages. The foreign engines also exist, although you may never have heard of them. Do not assume that all Germans or Japanese, for example, use Google, AltaVista and Hotbot like you do. They may never even have heard of these, preferring to use their own engines. Do some research into this to find out what each country or peoples use. You can submit to these engines but of course because the users primarily search in their language, a purely English site would be totally lost in them. But luckily, now you know how not to be purely English.
Well, then, my great explorer friend! Go out and conquer foreign lands for your financial gain. I wish you great enjoyment in your adventures! Adios!
About the Author
David Gikandi, CEO SearchPositioning.com (a search engine optimization software developer) and co-CEO FatSMS.com, a new, globally targeted SMS text messaging and mobile phone services company. If you wish to have an instant translator on your site, see (http://www.positionweaver.com/transguide/).