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Europe on the Cheap

Advice on getting listed in Europe without spending a Euro.

     
12:07 am on Jul 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi:
My First Post. Just spent days reading as much as I could on this jewell of a site. I would like to get advice, direction, information, on how to get listed as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible in several languages in Europe.

My situation: I am starting a hotel in a peace-loving Central American country. I've spent my pension just getting in and I am living on rice and beans (true but no tears please). 30% of my potential customers will be coming from Europe. My competition has no presence in Europe, most of their websites are not even translated into the local language. This is my edge.

I cannot afford 6 different yahoo listings, a large ppc campaign, or domains in 6 different countries, or for that matter professional translations.

Anybody been in a similar situation? Any advice?

I know about optimization, meta tags, google is king,odp etc.

I look forward to one day being able to give back.
Thanks

12:21 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Fawlty, welcome to WebmasterWorld!

It has to be said: translations are the single most important thing to reach out to european customers.
If you can't afford a good professional translation though - rather don't have any translation.

You have to rely then on the wide spread ability in Europe to read english.
You could try and address european customers in your copy - explaining you don't have a page in their languages right now. Like doing some pages with titles like:
Bienvenu l'hotel (your location)
Welcome to all people from France - unfortunately...blabla...

Make them feel welcome, and rely on the traffic coming from searches done without restrictions to languages other than english.

In other words: get top rankings in Google, ATW, INK.

6:47 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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professional translations

Well, you need a native-language translator, but certainly not necessarily a professional one. If you have a friend or satisfied client that is a native French or whatever speaker, ask them to translate the site!
8:18 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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True Louponne, but it should be good. My point is a bad translation is worse than none.
8:38 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I suppose for a hotel, you don't have to know much specific jargon, so any native speaker should be able to do a good translation. Just don't do it yourself with some online tool (e.g. babelfish).
8:43 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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..rice and beans...you were lucky. Baleadas?

Are you in Honduras or Guatemala perchance?

Try getting listed in directories that cover those areas, links on travel sites etc... Otherwise, optimise for Google, since that's where you going to get the traffic anyway. The word hotel is of course very hard, but try "guesthouse" instead. Optimise for the country name, and the town or city, and people will find you.

12:07 pm on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Ah, just checked your profile. Gallo Pinto then?
12:43 pm on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just went to that site your email address seems to suggest. Now if this site has already been communicated somehow to potential clients, GET RID OF THE FLAGS! At least as long as they lead to a 404 error page. There is nothing as annoying and unprofessional looking as 404.

And just from a usability POV, you might separate the links at the bottom (home/rates/directions), I thought it was a single page until I klicked them.

1:05 pm on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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ON THE CHEAP.
HAVE A ROW OF FLAGS,OPPS caps off. on index.
and point them to whichever language webpage you want them to go to.ask them to click.
send the french to some french site.anyway,
set the page titles etc in there language. goggle should do the rest...hey presto...i think.not many search by country anyway.

[edited by: heini at 1:18 pm (utc) on July 17, 2003]

1:14 pm on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Okay, since we don't do sitereviews lets keep this general so that this discussion is helpful to all readers.
jackobar, as you may have noticed there are no translated pages so flags don't make much sense.
Also it's not about searching by country but about searching and using a site which is not in the native language for the majority of the customers the site is shooting for.

Take Google: as shown above your site will be displayed on all unrestricted searches, regardless if Google .fr, Google.de or whatever.
A large part of the european population uses unrestricted searches.
The next thing however is this: Will those users klick on your listing, and if so, will they book?

Hence my suggestion: If you don't do translations, and you really should, then at least you should go the extra mile to make foreign language users feel welcome. Build trust. Make it easy and transparent to use the site.

2:21 pm on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thank You All for your responses.
Translation is key. Even with my limited Spanish and French I can see that Machine Translations are useless. There have been alot of threads regarding translation, and members have mentioned students, people in India etc. But no mention of where to find them. I plan to bug my friends for translations so this is not my main concern right now. Going forward, the site will expand and I will need real help. I thought about offering free rooms for guests if they will translate the site.

My main concern is getting listed. As you all know the saying "Build it and they will come" is not true. So specifically:

Besides dmoz add urls for each country which can take forever to show. Does adding the url for each language page to their respective countries with google make any difference?

Are there any free submission services for Europe?

Does paying the $39 to inktomi get your site spidered and the language pages listed?

As far as ppc goes, anyone else besides google, ov and espotting? Does anything like findwhat, at a penny a click, exist?

Danke,
Gracias,
Graci,
Thanks

2:30 pm on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I thought about offering free rooms for guests if they will translate the site.

VERY good idea. Give what you have and can afford. Barter deals baby! ;)

>Does paying the $39 to inktomi get your site spidered and the language pages listed?

NO. Paying, only gets the specific url in - and only that one. You have to pay for each url.