Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Multilingual Search Engine Optimisation - The Real Issue Exposed

by Anton Stoutjesdijk

Statistics indicate that of more than 1.4 billion individuals worldwide who use the internet, no more than 440 million internet users speak or read English. Is it any wonder that multilingual search engine optimization is becoming the new trick of the trade to pull new customers? After all, by not reaching out to the non-English speaking populace, you aren't selling your products to a world of people who might well be willing to buy them.

Of the global internet user population, more than 500 million are located in Asia - that's more than any other continent in the world. In China itself, the online community has soared at a rate of 755% since 2000. It has already started changing the playing field on the financial markets and the internet is about to follow.

Levelling the Playing Field

One has to consider the Internet in its entirety - a vast, almost endless, network of computers, of people and of information. It has had a globalizing effect in which the borders of the real world have ceased to exist; well, most of them except perhaps the language barrier.

In fact it would be prudent to consider the state of our current online English market where evolving Internet technologies have become more freely available to everybody. This in itself has levelled the playing field by providing smaller companies with limited advertising budgets with the same marketing opportunities as well-funded conglomerates with their immense marketing budgets. In addition, it wouldn't be wrong to suspect that our online English cyber-sphere has become saturated with marketing ploys and tactics.

Multilingual Search Engine Optimisation

So what can we hope to gleam from all of this? Well, for one thing, multilingual search engine optimization will be the new 'sliced bread'. It will mean an expansion of the playing field and an evolution of the economic possibilities on the Internet. New markets will open up with exciting and refreshing marketing possibilities. It will even change our current target audiences and expose them to new and exciting ideas, technologies and products. These are things that are on the verge of happening. In a couple of years, it will be in full swing.

Of course, many will wonder about the associated cost with regard to multilingual search engine optimization. Will it be an expensive affair? Many seem to think so. But consider this: although the English-speaking online community only represents about 30% of the global online population, English is in fact a second language to many and a lingua franca, even if only on a basic level, to many more.

In the end multilingual search engine optimization may perhaps only be needed to catch those Mandarin and Spanish native speakers as they perform their searches on the internet. The real issue, however, will be to identify the keywords from the perspective of the Chinese, Indian or Spanish internet user. Will their geography play a role? What about politics and culture? Looking at all these questions, the real issue is not whether to implement multilingual search engine optimization as that is almost a given; the real issue is to be able to find the English SEO service provider with an intimate knowledge of the minds and language of the international audience.

About the Author

Anton Stoutjesdijk is a professional SEO copywriter, University MBA lecturer and the director at New Frontier ltd, a professional multilingual SEO copywriting agency, assisting businesses generate more leads through articulate and quality focused content. For more information and a free consultation, visit http://nfrontier.co.uk