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Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Aug 6, 2014: The Internet Search Habits of Global Users: Tips for an Effective Multilingual SEO Strategy

NEW YORK, Aug. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Localizing and translating your content are 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 optimization (SEO) strategy.

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The following are some key points that can serve as a starting point for localizing 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 optimizing 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.

Local Keywords

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 localizing 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 Categorize Information

After you've 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 categorize 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 emphasize an item's function when categorizing it, while 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 localization strategy. It also underscores the necessity of going beyond translation and truly customizing your content to reflect local ways in which international users find and categorize 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 Kristján Már Hauksson, Global Search Engine Marketing: Fine-Tuning Your International Search Engine Results, Indianapolis: Que Publishing, 2012.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Pei-Luen Patrick Rau, Tom Plocher, and Yee-Yin Choong, Cross-Cultural Design for IT Products and Services, New York: CRC Press, 2013, pg. 14.

Full article: http://www.merrillbrink.com/what-you-need-to-know-when-forming-your-SEO-strategy-across-countries-08042014.htm 

About Merrill Brink International

Merrill Brink International (www.merrillbrink.com) is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localization, desktop publishing and globalization services.

Merrill Brink is recognized in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and compliant to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007.Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation. 

Media Contact: Vanessa Lontoc, Merrill Brink International, 212-229-6532, [email protected]

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