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Multilingual Marketing

Andreas Voniatis | November 26, 2012

International SEO visualised

In today’s global digital age, one thing’s for sure: Wherever you are, people across the globe are using search engines to gather content and information. From the United States to Russia, China, the United Kingdom and beyond, people are using Google, Baidu, Yandex, Bing, and other search engines (and social media) in their quest for information. It’s no wonder that optimising your site for more areas and languages is a MUST. Here, we take a look at international search reputation management techniques for multilingual searches.

Multilingual Marketing

Optimising sites on a multilingual platform to broaden search capabilities can be a complex endeavor. For websites expanding into new geographical areas, there are 3 essential steps for successful campaigning:

  • Speak their language. Use the correct language, including proper intricacies unique to the manner of speaking in the area where you’re expanding.
  • Use local Top-Level Domains (TLDs). Your site may ultimately rank better using local TLDs as opposed to the typical “.com.” For example, “” may be perceived as more trusted to native Australian researchers than a standard “.com” address.
  • Host the domain on localised IP addresses. A domain hosted on a localised IP address (such as “.au” on an Australian web server IP address, for example) will assure all users and search engines that your site is indeed from that specific region.

While those are necessary facets of international search optimisation, other options include:

  • Understanding local audiences, cultures and buzz topics of interest
  • Creating and publishing content that builds local readership and earns links
  • Media relations in the localised markets to earn coverage

Main Social Networks

In Vincenzo Cosenza’s June 2012 World Map of Social Networks, Facebook was at the top of the list for 126 of the 137 countries analyzed by Alexa and Google Trends. In most other countries, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Badoo are in constant contention for the number 2 slot.

Facebook alone has:

  • 232 million European users.
  • 222 million North American users.
  • and 219 million Asian users.

Although Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are networking powerhouses in many areas worldwide, local social sites are leaving their mark. Qzone in China, for instance, has more than 560 million users, and Odnoklassnik is the top Russian social hub.

Point blank: No matter where you are in the world, local site links and social links still matter. If you’re targeting your site to different countries around the world, it’s best to actively earn links via localized content on the main social networks in those areas.

Serious Searching

Searching around the globe is about as one-sided as social media usage, with most people using Google as their primary search engine. However, it is also, not open shut.

There are some exceptions to the rule keep Google from total domination:

  • Australia - 86% of the 17 million English-speaking Internet users Down Under use Google, but the rest divide their search needs among Bing, Yahoo!, and
  • Brazil – More than 90% of the nearly 76 million Portuguese-speaking Internet searchers prefer Google, leaving Bing and Yahoo! to pick up the remaining scraps.
  • China - On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Google only accounts for 26% of all Chinese searches. Local search engine Baidu reigns supreme with 71% of the market share. Other locals, such as Sogou and Soso, make up the remaining percentages.
  • France - Google again dominates more than 90% of the French market with Bing trailing in a distant second, and Yahoo!, Orange, and SFR even farther behind.
  • Germany – While Google again is on top here, the interesting aspect is that local search engine t-online trumps Yahoo! by a scant margin.
  • Russia - For the 59.7 million Russians online, Yandex towers over Google (at 26%) with a whopping 62% market share. Also, locals and Rambler appear on the list, as opposed to the more common second- and third-place searchers Bing and Yahoo!
  • Spain - The largest foreign market share on the list at 96%, Spain’s more than 29 million Internet users trust Google most for their search needs. Bing and Yahoo!, eat your hearts out.

As seen here, Google is the most used search engine in most areas, but a few countries such as Russia and China have their own, more preferred, local search engines.

What In the World Are You Searching For?

Furthermore, Alexa data shows the time spent online amongst Internet users is mostly spent on social media Google, and user-friendly video content giant, YouTube.

While Google, YouTube, and Facebook are commonly found in the top 5 most visited sites in each country, there are certain exceptions. Russia and China both prefer their own local search engines and social media, while Brazil’s top includes Universo Online, a large Brazilian online service provider (Portuguese language).

Optimising for multiple countries and languages broadens your site’s reach when approached correctly. Most users search with Google and use Facebook, however that is not completely universal. Russia has Yandex, and China has Baidu for searching, while each has its own social media services. Adjusting to other countries’ main social and search platforms will help you achieve your goals much more quickly.


  1. Vincenzo Cosenza - June 2012 World Map of Social Networks
  2. Alexa: Top Sites by Country
  3. Alchemy Viral - Audience Outreach
  4. Alchemy Viral - What is best practice from a web search point of view for rolling out new territory websites?
Andreas qualified as a management accountant (ACMA) after graduating in Economics with honours from Leeds University. In 2003, pursued a career in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and has since held various Head of Search roles for award winning agencies including Infectious Media and prestigious startups. In 2010, Andreas became an independent consultant to international agencies and brands worldwide providing SEO consultancy services and online PR, including Exxon Mobil, Tesco, HSBC, Zurich, Quorn as well as startups including Discount Vouchers. His work has been featured in the Telegraph and Search Engine Watch particularly for reverse engineering the Google Penguin algorithm to a 98% statistical confidence level in 2013.