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WebmasterWorlds 3rd quarterly European SEO strategy primer. Part 2.
Summing it all up for your convenience and pleasure.

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 12:59 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

This is part 2 of WebmasterWorld's 3rd quarterly summary on European search engines and directories. For part 1, click here [webmasterworld.com].

WebmasterWorld's European SEO strategy primer #3, part 2

Europe, region by region.

Alpine region - Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
15,4 million live in these three alpine countries and 5,4 million of them are online. None of them require local presence for domain registration and so provide a convenient backdoor to German search engines and directories, if you want a European domain name. Austria and the German speaking parts of Switzerland appear to be using localized versions of major German engines. Switzerland is officially quattro-lingual (German, French, Italian and Rätoromansch) and there are several engines supporting the first three, including Search.ch and Altavista.ch. Basic data can be found in the discussions for Switzerland [webmasterworld.com] and Austria [webmasterworld.com]

Balkans - Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Turkey.
107 million live here but only 5,8 million are online so far. These countries have numerous directories and a few local search engines. There is huge number of directories in Greece, where "Robby" is the leading search engine with In.gr as the leading directory. Slovenia is a front runner for membership in the European Union and does have a credible search engine (Slovista) and several directories. Basic facts can be found in the country discussions for Slovenia [webmasterworld.com], Turkey [webmasterworld.com], Greece [webmasterworld.com], Bosnia & Herzegovina [webmasterworld.com], Croatia [webmasterworld.com] and Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro) [webmasterworld.com]

Baltic area - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
These three countries are small - just 7,4 million inhabitants put together - but the online population of 0,84 million is growing rapidly and so are their economies. There are several directories in each of these countries and at least one major engine with a spidered index - KTU at the Kaunas Technical University in Lithuiania. Basic facts can be found in the discussions for Estonia [webmasterworld.com],Latvia [webmasterworld.com] and Lithuania [webmasterworld.com].

Benelux - Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg
The Benelux has 26,4 million inhabitants and 10,1 million of them are online - 38%. Ilse.nl is the leading Dutch engine. Belgium is tri-lingual with only 58% of the population speaking Dutch. The rest speak either French (32%) or German (10%). So Dutch language will cover 4.5 million Dutch online and 1.2 million of the Belgians. The two biggest local engines are Advalvas and Skynet. Belgium does not require local presence for domain registration and dot-be sites seem to be accepted by Dutch engines, which also index dot-coms in Dutch. Facts on these countries are found here: Belgium [webmasterworld.com], Netherlands [webmasterworld.com], Luxembourg [webmasterworld.com]

British Isles - United Kingdom and Ireland
61 million live in the British Isles and the online population is 21 million - 34%. Neither country requires legal presence for a domain registration. The search engine scene is so lively here that UK & Ireland have their own forum [webmasterworld.com] here at WebmasterWorld.

Central Europe - Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
There is rapid growth of the Internet in all of the central European countries, which have major local search engines based on state of the art technology such as Google and Fast. The total online population is 4.6 million out of the 55 million who live here. Lots of data have been added in the ongoing WebmasterWorld discussions about these countries. Onet has 60% of the Polish market, Vizsla is the leading search engine in Hungary and Seznam is #1 in the Chech Republic. For more, see the discussions on Czech Republic [webmasterworld.com], Hungary [webmasterworld.com], Poland [webmasterworld.com] and Slovakia [webmasterworld.com]

Eastern Europe - Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
The Internet is growing by 100-300 percent per year here, but from a very low level. Of eastern Europe's 240 million inhabitants only 10.2 million are online so far - 9.2 million in Russia alone. The leading search engine is Russia's Yandex with Rambler as number two, but Google.ru is gaining rapidly. In Romania, Edison is the leader, in Belarus All.by and in Bulgaria Eurosoft. Facts on the numerous search engines and directories can be found here:
Belarus [webmasterworld.com], Bulgaria [webmasterworld.com], Romania [webmasterworld.com], Russia [webmasterworld.com] and Ukraine [webmasterworld.com].

A good strategy for France will have to involve not just the leading engine - Voilà, but also Free.fr, Multimania, MSN France and Yahoo France. Sites have to be in French, there is no way you can make it with English here. There are 9 million online, but that is only 15% of the 59,3 million population, so France is somewhat behind the rest of western Europe. France has rigid rules about local presence, but Switzerland and Belgium provide back-doors for local presence. I addition, 36% of all pages in French are in dot-coms and French engines usually offer "Web francophone" (the French speaking web) as the default search option, so dot-coms in French will work well. More here [webmasterworld.com].

Germany has 26 million of its 82,8 million population online. That is 40% of the adult population. To make it in Germany, you need Infoseek.de, Fireball.de, Google, Lycos.de and Altavista.de as a minimum. A dot-com is OK as long as it is in German. There are also numerous directories, the most important of which is Alles Klar. Neither Austria nor Switzerland require legal presence for their domains and that is the back-door to those German-language directories that require local domains. More here on German search engines [webmasterworld.com] and directories [webmasterworld.com].

Iberian peninsula - Spain and Portugal
50 million live on the Iberian peninsula. There are 8 million online in Spain (13,7%) and 2,2 million i Portugal (22%). The users tend to use engines geared towards each language, which also cover Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in Latin America, another reason for targeting these languages. This also means that one can get by with a dot-com in the language. More: Spain [webmasterworld.com], Portugal [webmasterworld.com].

Arianna, MSN Italia and Lycos Italia are the most important search engines and Virgilio the leading directory. Local language is mandatory. Italy has 13,4 million people on line, which is 23% of the 58 million total population. One Italian page out of five is found in a dot-com, so a dot-it domain registration is not necessary. More on Italy. [webmasterworld.com].

Nordic area - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The 24 million Scandinavians and other nordic people are the only ones that beat the US in surfing. 12,4 million, just over half of the total populations, are online. Iceland leads with 60%. These people all speak different languages and have different search engines. Altavista has a strong standing in Sweden with Fast-based Evreka.com and MSN.se as major competitors. In Norway Kvasir.no (Fast) is the unquestioned leader, in Finland its sister engine Evreka.fi but in Denmark it is a local directory - Jubii - that controls the market, with Kvasir.dk as the only serious competitor. English is widely understood here and dot-coms hugely popular even for local sites, so the only reason for translations would be to create a sense of local presence. More here: Sweden [webmasterworld.com], Norway [webmasterworld.com], Denmark [webmasterworld.com], Finland [webmasterworld.com], Iceland [webmasterworld.com].

Any objections, errors discovered, additions needed or comments you'd like to make? Post below.
See bottom of page for printer friendly format.

(edited by: rencke at 2:55 pm (gmt) on Aug. 23, 2001)



WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:09 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

This is true Gold!

You have outdone yourself again, good work Rencke :)

Phew! Better print this baby and make some new fresh coffee and then go through it all again - it takes a while before it's consumed.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member agerhart us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:26 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Rencke.......phenomenal! Great work ;)


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:36 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Absolute quality. This kind of information is priceless.

There's so many facts and figures flying around, this report packs it all in nicely.

Well done Rencke


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:56 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Read it over,

not one mistake - your a jewel in the rough rencke.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 2:05 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

simply the best starting point for entering the European market to be found on the net. And it´s for free!
Great job, Rencke!


WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 2:33 pm on Aug 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Wow! I am breathless!


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 11:26 am on Aug 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Priceless, Rencke! Thank you !

click watcher

Msg#: 276 posted 12:47 pm on Aug 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

great rencke

this is amazing info, and just as i'm about to dip my toe into euroland,

thanks !!!


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:42 pm on Aug 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Jag ar mycket imponerad....:)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:49 pm on Aug 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Astounding Rencke!

Very very good work here!

Gregg Stephenson

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 2:01 pm on Aug 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

You just made my day!!!



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 9:48 pm on Aug 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

It's perfect!

As usual :-)


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 1:15 pm on Aug 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Jan! Great read


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 4:15 pm on Sep 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

Fantastic, Rencke. As always, precise information gathered into a great format. Thanks again.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 6:39 pm on Sep 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

Excellent - thanks Jan.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 6:04 pm on Sep 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

you did a great job as usual.

I'm back in Seo business, and trying to gain back my knowladge...:D I will work for a company in the italian field. So i'll reading everything here..:)



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 7:24 pm on Jan 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Bumping part 2 to the top along with part 1. In this section, there might be a few changes since the piece was originally written, so it might be wise to click the country overviews for details.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 6:22 pm on Jan 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi there
I think that your Germany summary is somewhat out of date.

Infoseek.de for example is no more.
I would also replace Fireball with T-online (FAST). Fireball is a spammers paradise but not many search there.

Of the directories, Web.de and Dino are imo more popular / important than Alles Klar.
Yahoo.de is also up there.

BTW, Germans are turning to Google in their droves. Altavista is losing ground rapidly. Espotting has made a debut in the PPC area with Overture Germany hot on their heels. This is likely to change the face of SEO in Germany in a few months (On the proviso that espotting and co. pull their marketing finger out).

Sorry to put a spanner in what is an excellent summary.

Alan Webb


WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 8:11 pm on Jan 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello Alan, thanks for bumping this fantastic thread back up.
While some details in the above summary are outdated the basics all still hod true.

It is due to the functionality of a discussion board and to the ever changing nature of what we are dealing with that all posts discussing details get somwhat outdated rather fast.

The current situation in Germany is dealt with in the discussion on German search engines [webmasterworld.com] as well as in numerous threads in the European forum.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 276 posted 10:12 pm on Jan 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

not 100% accurate, but i know it was forty-something percent of the British Isles is online. In 2000 it was about 25%.

there was a news item on TV about broadband and the crap that BT have done, and it related the above figures about the online population.

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