Global search optimization goes beyond translation

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Question: What is the best way to optimize search marketing for international markets?

Answer: As the evolution of the Internet continues, b-to-b marketers are reaching a crossroads in determining what tactics have worked in the past to attract traffic to their sites versus what approaches will work in the future. According to Internet World Stats, two-thirds of global Internet users are non-English speakers. This growing volume of search activity means that marketing opportunities will continue to evolve on both regional and global levels.

So how can b-to-b marketers capitalize on this trend? Is the answer as simple as translating all Web pages to the targeted country's language?

Translation is one component of optimizing for international markets, but it's in no way the end-all answer. A word-for-word translation of a Web site is ambiguous. Instead, Web sites should be translated according to concepts. A simple translation does not take into account cultures, customs and preferences specific to various countries. Additionally, a simple translation loses targeted keywords.

For instance, you wouldn't think there would be any disparity between a U.S. and U.K. Web page because both countries speak English. However, consider the differences between dialects. In the U.S., speakers use the word taxi, while in the U.K., it's car hire—both meaning the same thing and both completely different keywords.

Any translation, whether it's keyword ads

or site content, must be relevant to the specified culture. Additionally, human translators will greatly influence the success of your Web page. While automatic translations are easy to use, they have the tendency to kill the keywords that you implement as part of your optimizing campaign.

The registration of a domain name is another crucial aspect to consider because there are different domain extensions for every country. After identifying what country you are targeting, buy a country-specific domain and host the site on a server in the specified country.

Finding success in the international market space means understanding the cultural and preference differences between countries and implementing them into your Web site design and optimization strategies.

Matt Naeger is VP-general counsel at search engine marketing agency Impaqt (

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