Foreign Traffic Part 1: Understanding & Attracting International Surfers

Hello, bonjour, hallo, ciao, hola! How often do you consider that many potential customers for your website may live outside North America and most of them do not speak English. Are you aware that your website might only be reaching less than 50% of your potential target audience? It’s true! Many webmasters, especially those just starting out in the business tend to overlook the fact that there is a whole world out there outside of English speaking North America. We tend to think that we are the only technologically savvy nation and that everyone else is living in the dark ages. However, recent studies have proven our way of thinking to be very wrong. The whole world is connected to the Internet AND they have money to spend. According to the latest data put out by Nua Online, the world Internet population stands at approximately 581 million people. Of this total, only 183 million or 31% of these people are from North America. Sure, many people outside of North America speak English and they do surf the Internet in English, but what is the total number of people that are surfing the Internet in their native language? Global Reach recently published a study of the Internet and their findings were that 60% of Internet users are non-English and that they use their first language to surf the Net. So, who are these people, what languages do they speak and how can you reach them?

Let’s take a look at the breakdown of the 60% of the world that is surfing the Net in a language other than English. The majority of non-English Internet users are Asian. Out of the total number of worldwide Internet users, 9.8% are Chinese, 9.2% are Japanese, and 4.4% are Korean. Research shows that the number of Asian Internet users is growing at a phenomenal rate and that by 2007 the dominant language on the Net will be Chinese. As well, Chinese laws are changing and becoming more liberal and online porn is becoming more accepted. The second largest language spoken by non-English surfers is Spanish and this demographic total 7.2% of total Internet users. With 30 million Spanish-speaking people in the United States alone, this is also a very important demographic for adult webmasters to consider. The third largest group of non-English Internet users are Germans. They make up 6.8% of the total Internet population. What is extremely important to note about this demographic is that the German market is very wealthy and high-tech; and while they do mostly search the Internet in German, the majority of German Internet users are fairly bilingual and are able to read English sites. Rounding out the non-English Internet users are French 3.9% and Italian with 3.6%. 

Now that you know who is surfing the net and the languages that they speak, what are you going to do to get them to your site? Since these people do not surf the web in English, the chances are that they are going to search engines that are in their own language. Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista, and other search engines provide multiple versions of their sites for each country. As well, each country has their own search engines that are tailored to the lifestyles of the people that live there. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most popular search engines in every country. Once you have a good list of the various search engines in all the different languages, you must submit your site to each one individually. While this may be a time consuming task, in the long run it will be worth the effort. For each search engine, you must carefully read their submission requirements and then you must enter the information for your site in the language of the search engine. The best way to do this is to have someone that speaks the language to help you with it. If you cannot find someone to assist you or you do not have the resources to hire a translator, then you could use one of the many free translation tools that are widely available on the net. Both Google and Alta Vista provide free translation tools on their sites that will translate words, blocks of texts or even whole websites. These translators really should only be used for reference, as their translations are pretty basic and not very accurate. Make sure that when you are submitting your site to the various foreign search engines that the key words that you enter match the keywords that someone that speaks that language would use. While people in North America may enter terms such as “porn” and “pussy”, someone from another country may have their own sex related slang words. Try to get a handle on some of the words people from different countries use to search for porn sites. You could easily obtain this information by posting questions on international newsgroups or message boards. Also, remember to add these keywords as meta-tags to your site. 

Submitting to foreign search engines is really only the key to attracting high quality international traffic. Once you get the foreign interest, you must try to get them to buy! Stay tuned for my upcoming article, Foreign Traffic 2: Turning Foreign Surfers into Buyers where I will reveal more tips and secrets on how to capitalize on international traffic.

Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Winter says:
Gosh, I wish I would have had that ifnoramiton earlier!
December 10th, 2011
at 8:11pm EST
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star


Post Your Comments

WARNING: Any comments you post are solely your responsibility. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever in connection with or arising from such content. Defamatory, derogatory, or other comments that we feel should be removed will, at our own discretion and ours alone.