"Spanish" speakers in the US are predominantly Latino - from Mexico (great majority), Puerto Rico, Columia, etc. A ccTLD from Spain like .es is not really in the picture as far as I know. Google.com is an international domain name and handles non-English searches just fine.
I'd focus on google.com (or google.com.mx as a secondary) and use a .com domain name of your own. And do some intense market research first. The Spanish language as spoken by US Latinos/Hispanics has many variants, and the cultural differences also need your attention. Second generation US Latinos will have different search habits than their parents. And the entire market is more mobile oriented than the US market in general.
BTW, I just recently saw research that Google claims 93% of US-Latino search market.
[edited by: tedster at 3:23 am (utc) on Jul 15, 2011]
We've done what you want to do and created a website to reach the Spanish-speaking Americans.
We use a .org domain.
The site is now about 8 months old, and our data shows that about 75% of search engine traffic comes from Google. About 10% comes from Google.es
However, our traffic numbers remain low -- despite the amount of press coverage we got, various cable news guestings, ad spend in Facebook/Adwords/banner ads/print ads, social media marketing, plus the fact that the editor of the site is a regular guest in a Spanish TV show.
I'm questioning how Spanish-speaking Americans are actually searching on the Web. All our title tags currently are in Spanish. I'm thinking of experimenting and changing the title tags to English but put in parenthesis that the content is Spanish.
I'll let you know how it works
Someone in our agency was just at a conference this week about reaching the Hispanic market. Here are some bullet points he collected from a recent survey. There is quite a difference between the preference of US Hispanics and those in Latin America. These results come from a survey about what websites people enjoyed or found authoritative.
|US Hispanics: |
71% said that they prefer Web sites in English
19% said both languages about the same
8% said language makes no difference.
Only 3% said they prefer Web sites in Spanish only.
56% said they prefer Web sites in Spanish.
29 %said both languages about the same.
12% said language makes no difference – I enjoy any Web site.
Only 4% said they prefer Web sites in English only
With such a strong leaning in the US toward English language websites, there may be a natural lid on how much Spanish language traffic you can expect from a US audience.
This is excellent Tedster!
Had we known about this, I doubt if we would spend resources creating a Spanish language site for the US Hispanic market.
Our numbers seem to correlate with your observation that there may be a "natural lid" on how much Spanish language traffic we can expect from a US audience. We certainly gave this site a huge push putting our marketing and communications machineries into overdrive to promote the site, yet traffic is not on par with other microsites we've launched with the same amount of effort.
It was an eye-opener for me, too. This thread couldn't have been timed better. Yesterday I wouldn't have had any data like this. Most of what I was seeing online was 3-4 years old and extremely vague.
I'm also toying with the idea...
Do you think that a new B2C site targeted at both the US Hispanic market and South America would benefit from having bilingual Es/En content? Maybe focus on US first, considering discretionary income and cultural diversity of the two markets?
From Spain we search in Google.es (99%), but Latino users uses .mx.com .cl etc.
I don't know US Hispanics users :(
If your users are US and South America I think that .com is better.
I have many sites .com (US Ip). South America traffic is good, all content is in spanish.
Ted ... can you share the name of the conference? I'll try to get more info
The conference was related to Google's "Think Insights" program. Some other online information is available here: Connecting to US Hispanic Customers [google.com]
Thank you all for this information. The site will basically be a duplicate of our English site but translated. We are in real estate and are going to use auto translation. Obviously it is error prone and we would make that very known. Do you think this would anger the market in general or will people understand that this is really the only way to do this.
What are your thoughts on just adding the spanish pages to the english domain as an option as opposed to a separate site.
If you've got a .com, I think adding other languages as a subdomain or subdirectory is usually the best way to go. However, raw machine translation is a terrible way to go. If you want to cultivate and audience, you need to truly serve them.