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|Is good SEO practise enough in Europe?|
Or does one have to go all the way?
Having read everything in the European forum more than once, I have begun to form the conclusion that just good SEO practise, and nothing else, is enough for success in Europe.
If I am right, we are talking about multilingual sites split into one for each language, good domain names with one or two keywords in the local language; good page titles - different for each page; good page descriptions - also differing from each other; maybe a dozen or so well chosen meta keywords; properly structured page content with header, text, subheaders, text etc; ALT attribute set for all pictures, and perhaps one or two more things such as lots of text and links in the noframes area of framed sites.
If this is true, doorways optimized on a per engine basis, selective IP-delivery and other more advanced methods would not be needed. But a keyword database is worth its weight in gold. Get the simple basics right and make it to the top!
BUT: my own experience is limited to low to medium competitive themes. I have no idea what the world looks like for European adult webmasters, gambling sites and other highly competive areas.
SO: Is the basic rule right? If so, what are the exceptions to it? If not, what goes?
the exception is UK and the English language...our site is aimed at a very competitive keyword...in English we don't do tremendously well even on supposedly purely UK SEs and directories...we do superbly in all our other European languages (except Finnish and Hungarian which I've barely started publicising)
I've done pretty good in most north european countries. Specially Scandinavia and German speaking parts.
I would also say that a prober constructed site with good (unique) quality content and spider friendly design would make you float to the top on most phrases. The beauty is low competion with often non-optimized sites.
Of course the market rules - more market more players, but in general good SEO is cost-effective.
Another perk is the relative low volume of local sites and registrations to directories. There is in most cases a much shorter review and waiting period. The smaller local directories are actually glad you're submitting relevant content :)
Local domains and prober translation is part of the recipe too.
IMO it all depends on the SE you are targeting. With Fast based SEs and the local googles itīs all about content and links. Since competition is not that hard, cloaking, lots of doorways, spamming is not needed. Good ODP and Yahoo listings coming from good content and a good KW strategy do the trick.
On the other hand there are SEs that use inferior algos like the german altavista or Fireball. Those SEs get spammed extensively in highly competitive areas, which makes it hard to get top positions just by good clean SEO work.
With Google and Fast setting the pace for SEs worldwide hopefully "good SEO practise" should become the thing to do for success rather than "dirty" tricks.
Yes, generally, right now at least, good SEO practice is all it takes in most European countries (with the exception of the UK or other sites in English).
Lets take Germany as an Example. It has a large online population, in fact huge by any standards except those in Canada and the US. :) More importantly, the number of pages written in German is actually LESS than the total number of pages hosted on a .de TLD!
For a German keyword campaign, you are only competing against some 40 million pages in the same language world wide. Compare that with the poor British web promoters who are competing with around 2.2 Billion other pages in English.
Italy is also in a good position having a relatively large online population but still facing competition for keywords in Italian from only its own TLD in the main. For an Italian language page there are only some 30 million rival pages in the entire world.
France finds things only slightly tougher, since it does face a little more competition from Canada and the States as well as sites in its own TLD. However, its still less competition in total than German language pages face.
Spainish pages face the most external competition, since for every page written in Spanish, only around 1/3 are actually from Spain - the rest are from Latin America and the US. Still less than 20 million other pages in the world though, I believe.
Non-english language keywords are less than 1% as competitively fough for as they would be in English. That will change as time passes and more Europeans get online but for the next couple of years at least, the British weep at how easy you all have it. :)
|the British weep at how easy you all have it |
just a little consolidation to the poor British: take Slovenia, small competition, right? but how many people can you possibly reach? British sites have their own directories, where they are protected from the US sites, but they can per language reach the US market and rather the whole world. So would you prefer being Slovenias No 1 or having a good ranking english site? Whale in an aquarium or tuna in the open sea?
Absolutely right, heini. A number one position for a good english keyword gives us a slice of maybe 300 million users, while many other languages might struggle to find an online population of 1 million that search in their language.
But then again remember the top 30 rule - that only 7% of searchers go beyond the third page of results, so if you aren't in the top 30 you may as well not be listed [from Search Engine Watch]. Many pages in English fall in to the 'may as well not be listed at all' catchment area - so is it beter to be a big fish in your small pond, or the minnow that got eaten in the ocean weeks ago? :)
I thorougly agree that being #1 for a Klingdon KW is good, easier to achieve, and always better than being #999 for the same translated KW in English, but I guess we are looking at things too much from a language only perspective.
For languages where the online population is small and there is a small number of sites available, the same online [language] population sports a different behavior if compared to English surfers, who tend to search *only* in their native language.
Even if the site target market doesn't exceed the geographical boundaries of a particular [language] area, you can bet that the smaller is the number of sites available in that language, the more even native [language] users will search for an English KW, at least in addition to the [language] one and just to make a comparison. When they will find an English site offering a [language] version they will then be pleased to click on the latter.
I always have customers asking me to rank well for both Italian KWs *and* their English corresponding ones, even if their site is targeted at or sells in Italy only. They often don't have a clue about SEO/demographics/marketing/etc., but they just know they are istinctively used to search with English KWs where they can find more extensive results, and suppose their potential customers will do so as well.
SEO for non-English sites is therefore sometimes more difficult than working on English-only ones, since it implies getting good rankings both for English and non-English KWs (and often convincing customers that yes, they do need an English version of their site or at least content-rich English doorways): sort of trying to be the easy whale in the small aquarium but also a well-swimming tuna in the open sea.
So, is it worth written the website three times over in non english languages, as the figures presented by Black_night suggest that it is not.
However, I remember when rencke posted the info on european search engines, which also contained information about languages. Which to me inspired the worthiness of the site being written in Spanish, French and German, with English , as this would represent alot of people, whether their native language or not.
Generally, I'd say that
a) if the site targets only English-speaking markets, it is worth having only an English version, optimized for English KWs;
b) if the site targets non-English speaking markets, a [language] version for each [language] market is needed, optimized for the proper KWs and submitted to local SE (sometimes local domains are needed, too), but always together with an English one.
There are of course a few exceptions for Countries/market areas where English is less common as a second language, and where a [second (most used) language] optimized version is needed as well.
Versions for different languages targeting different european markets surely are a must for shopping sites. But what about informational sites? Take for example this site: Wouldnīt be possible to do it for different langs. And then try to imagine such a site in Slovenia: How big could it be? There is an attempt at doing something similar to our beloved webmasterworld in my lang, german, which happens to be the 3rd most used lang online: how many of you could and would participate there? English is the lingua franca.
I agree with you that informational sites and all "dynamical ones" (like Forums, Ad sites, News sites, etc.) don't need other full language versions. But even if you don't have anything to "sell" or you just cannot offer a fully translated version in other languages than the original one, you may want to be found by those surfers looking for different [language] KWs even though they can understand/speak the original one. In this case content-rich doorways are the needed solution.
>>English is the lingua franca
Sure it is. And that's why a Slovenian (or Italian, German, Polish, etc.) site targeting non-English speaking markets (or even restricting to the local market only), will benefit from a [language] doorway/version for each [language] market, and/or at least an English one.
This has been an extremely interesting discussion with lots of useful thoughts. Let me summarize what we have so far and add some postulations of my own.
- Good SEO-practise is enough, unless the language is English.
- Good SEO-practise is not widely known in Europe, except in the UK.
- Therefore competition will be much lighter in non-English speaking countries.
- BUT: The smaller the language, the more likely that those (few) who can, will try to search also in English
- Therefore, sites should be translated into and optimized also for English, unless content is local only.
- When this is required, more than good SEO-practise will be needed to attain high ranking (doorways optimized for individual search engines, IP-delivery, high PPC bids, etc).
So,for mainland European sites that target a local audience only, the following should be enough:
- Good keyword(s) in url
- Good keyword(s) in title
- Different title for all pages
- Good keyword(s) in description
- About 10 or so well selected keywords in meta keywords.
- Pages properly structured with <H1> <P> <H2> <P> <P> <H2> <P> <P> etc.
- Good keywords in IMG ALT attribute
- Lots of structured text and a complete set of links in NOFRAMES if site is framed. At least 10Kb.
- If more than one language, then one site and url for each.
- All pages and sites thoroughly cross-linked, not just at top level. Keywords in link text.
- Inbound links from sites with the same theme wherever possible.
- Outbound links to sites with same or higher page rank.
ODP. Yahoo. Regional directories. For most european countries you got to do well in Fast (Lycos!) and Google. Google and to a lesser degree Fast rely on ODP and Yahoo listings.
If it is possible try to get in local versions of ODP and Yahoo.
Of course! Forgot. ODP and regional directories are most certainly part of good SEO practise. Yahoo and Looksmart too, for those who can afford it.
In Denmark, where I'm from, the largest and most important SE is actually a directory, therefore I would certainly agree that local directories are very important for sites with local (danish) language. On the other hand, ODP is not that important "search-wise". Nobody in DK use ODP for danish keyword searches - but important for quality inbound links though.
I wouldn't even go the "english doorway" route here - customers finding a site though an english keyword search and only being able to use the site in local language aren't any good. They get dissapointed and won't do you any good.
The local domain name is a confidence factor as well - IMO people prefer using sites with local domain names/extensions.
I would absolutely agree that dealing with a site in a language with a small online population you should not overlook that people often use english keywords to find local products - simply because they do not think that anybody offers the kind of products etc. in their country. If you can provide them with exactely what they're looking for when they DO search their native language - you're one step ahead of your competion.
Good SEO practise *will* get you a long way.
Good thread and essential euro knowledge - shouldn't we be keeping it to ourselves? ;)
Rumbas "In Denmark, where I'm from, the largest and most important SE is actually a directory, therefore I would certainly agree that local directories are very important for sites with local (danish) language."
this is very true...most of the traffic to our Danish site comes from Jubii...likewise with Dutch and Ilse...getting listed with each made a massive difference to traffic
>>>I would absolutely agree that dealing with a site in a language with a small online population you should not overlook that people often use english keywords to find local products -
If I could get the same rankings for english terms in the US and UK for what I get across Europe I would be a very rich man. I wish more people would search in english over there, however.
>>>shouldn't we be keeping it to ourselves?
You have already revealed too much ;)
As a UK resident trying to promote mainly UK sites into the UK market the US penetration is a constant nightmare.
The only good results I get are for keywords are for those UK words which are incorrectly spelt by the Americans.
So if there is anyone out there who needs a multicoloured theatre centre promoting - I'm your man. :)
funny you should say that Ian...that's actually my other career :)
Only 47,5% of web users speak English as primary language. The best way to start local you should do to DMOZ, there are all kinds of non-American directories. Besides teh world users on Google are: 64% English, 9% German, 8% Japanese, 5% Spanish, 4% French, 2% Italian, 1% Dutch, 1% Portuguese, 1% Chinese trad, 4% other. My site have several translation pages linked to the main and partically the Dutch than Portuguese and than Spanish. But you should have all your meta tags in that local language. Dont come with cloacking etc. My succes is based on strong "Theme content" and "link popularity".
many local engines such as the Dutch, wants that you are based in Holland, well they already showing you the local direction. So, just choose a place and submit, they dont care.
[is so unethical that it has been removed by the moderator. This is nothing we condone here at WebmasterWorld]
(edited by: rencke at 12:48 pm (gmt) on Aug. 8, 2001)
[Removed the quote at the same time I removed the original above. Thank you for reacting rumbas.]
Well, IMO it's a waste of time doing [sorry censored]. [And again]. You could spend your time optimizing your own content and blow him away fair and square.
.. and then there's the ethical element.
(edited by: rencke at 12:57 pm (gmt) on Aug. 8, 2001)
[Removed the quote at the same time I removed the original above. Thank you for reacting heini.]
Out of job, underemployed, nothing else to do?
(edited by: rencke at 12:54 pm (gmt) on Aug. 8, 2001)
This has been the second time in my 11 months as moderator that I have felt compelled to edit a posting made by a member and I apologize to the other members for not doing it sooner. I would also like to thank Rumbas and Heini for seeing this and reacting as quickly as they did.
WebmasterWorld is a forum frequented mainly by professional and semi-professional webmasters and search engine optimizers. Running a business requires at the very least a basic understanding of good business ethics. The method suggested by jwb above is so totally unethical as to defy imagination. Destructive practises is not something that is going to advance this business, quite the opposite. It will ruin it in short time, leaving the people who live from it without customers. That is why I have removed the traces of jwb's post.
Can I ask, is it essential to have a site hosted in the country it is targeting eg. a site in French, targeting a French marketing, hosted in France? It would be my intention to have a 'french language.com' domain for the site.
I ask as, after finally finding an extremely reliable, helpful hosting company in the UK, I am extremely worried about starting and sourcing a new relationship overseas.
Please accept my advance apologies if this query has been dealt with multiple times in other threads.
A dot-com in French will do just fine. Even better if the url is in French too, e.g. quelquechose.com. And it is impossible to get into the .fr domain anyway, unless you have a company registered there.
At the risk of showing my inexperience again!...
I have decided to try a SE campaign translating a English language site into French and then German, using much of the really helpful advice I have been given in the Euro SE threads.
I intend to register a 'French'.com for this campaign, but it occurs to me that I have not seen many (or any) domains that use accented characters. Obviously, this would be a no-no in English, as an accents would be viewed as 'special characters', but I wondered if there was a sensible alternative when using a word in domain that would usually require an accent to be correct?
I have had a quick search through fr.AV and couldn't find a single domain that used accents. What is the rule - literally 'ignore' any accented characters for domains?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Mark, to my knowledge domain names only work when restricted to ASCII. There has been movement lately, but as far as I know itīs still unclear if and when domain names with special characters will be usable on the web.
There are nonetheless registrars trying to sell such domains, but for now I guess you should be going for a name without accent.
I thought that this was 'common sense', but wanted to ask the question anyway.
The last thing I would want is a web site which provides useful content to an EU audience, only to fall at the first fence and appear ignorant with a domain that completely ignores the national language!
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