Google is the best, there is no doubt, the single biggest & by extension it’s the most important search engine worldwide. The main focused google.com is the single most visited site, but various other international Google sites also figure highly. For example Google.co.uk is the most visited site within the UK.
Many of these international sites are at the top 100 of most visited sites and no SEM or SEO campaign could overlook the importance of Google. In certain markets, local competitors rule the roost, like Yahoo Japan is the most used search engine within Japan and, while that brand are well known to Western Internet users, other names are not so familiar among them.
In China, for example, Baidu is the most popular, and a report says 75.5 market share are done using Baidu during the fourth quarter of 2010. Likewise, Naver is the market leader within South Korea and Yandex and Seznam are the market leaders in Russia and the Czech Republic respectively.
If local competitors lead the way in your target markets, it makes sense to focus at least a proportion of your efforts there. Many aspects of SEO remain the same whichever search engine you’re targeting. Phrases like ‘the keyword is king’ still apply but only, of course, when an appropriate density and accompanied by quality content it works out!
Benefits of Foreign Internet Marketing
It would seem obvious to point out the greatest benefit of foreign language internet marketing, but it is the opportunity to reach new markets or to penetrate further into markets that may already be partially catered for with English alone.
Even though English remains as the single & most widely used language online but it still represents only just over a quarter of total usage. Also the fact is, that studies have shown that multilingual users place more trust in sites in their own native language, especially when it comes to making purchases, and the benefits of foreign language marketing in general are clear. However these are potential advantages.
Precisely because English is the most common language online, it follows that there is less content in any other individual language and, therefore, less competition for keywords and rankings. This is also a reason to apply Google’s international foreign language sites.
Let’s see about some frequently used foreign search engines
While it’s generally recognized that investing in a country code top-level domain such as .co.uk for the UK or .ru for Russia can be good for your local rankings and will certainly do them no harm. Google has geotargeting tools that associate your sites with a particular geographic area.
But Baidu doesn’t do this it is a site which should have both a Chinese domain name (com.cn or .cn) and be hosted on a server physically located within the country.
Another difference is that Baidu values the sort of Meta data which includes Meta keywords and Meta tags which Google largely ignores. It’s also worth “noting” that content is censored on Baidu in keeping with state regulations, which may have a bearing on your keywords and other content.
As with Google, Baidu counts incoming links when determining a site’s relevance, but it doesn’t weight them according to the perceived authority of the linking site. This means no more obsessive checking of your linking sites currently sitting on Alexa.
As with of Yahoo sites elsewhere in the world, Yahoo Japan sets great store by keyword-optimized content, preferring a keyword density of up to 7 or 8 percent. This is far higher than Google’s preferred 2 percent density because Google’s use of keyword density is disputed in the industry.
Getting listed in the Yahoo Directory can confer a tremendous advantage. Like Baidu, Yahoo Japan places a value on each page’s Meta tags. It also favors newly updated content. Google does too of course but Yahoo Places even more emphasis on updates, increasing the value of keyword-rich blogs for example.
Like Google, Yandex also has its own geotargeting tools. This means a Russian domain isn’t as crucial as a Chinese one, but investing in ccTLDs can have other benefit, such as instilling trust by giving your localized site a more genuinely ‘local’ feel to the visitor.
The search algorithms employed by Yandex share a lot of similarities with Google’s so established with SEM and SEO.
Yandex’s Thematic Citation Index does differ, however, from Google’s PageRank in a couple of significant details. Firstly it counts both outbound and inbound links to authoritative sites, whereas Google concentrates on inbound links. This gives Yandex an opportunity to boost rankings by increasing outbound linking to relevant sites.
Conversely, Yandex doesn’t count any links to or from un-moderated directories, web forums and other “uncontrolled” sites.
The differences can be small, but they can also be crucial when it comes to adapting your strategies to make full use of Google’s local competitors.