Optimizing for International Search Engines: Part 2

  |  July 18, 2001   |  Comments

In response to part 1, Paul received so much feedback -- some people sent updates, others requested more information -- that Paul put together a smorgasbord of international options and search ideas for your enjoyment.

I wrote on international search engines a few weeks ago and received an amazing amount of feedback. Some people sent updates, others requested more information on Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese sites. So here's a smorgasbord of international options and ideas.

European Search Engines, Directories and Lists is an excellent resource maintained by industry enthusiasts. It claims to be the leading directory of European search engines and directories on the Internet; it is updated regularly and lists search resources that allow free registration.

French Search Engines

Readers agreed that Voila and Yahoo France were top picks. But there are a few more: Nomade.fr, Lycos France, and LookSmart France (a directory) are popular, and you should be listed on those. If you're looking for a business-to-business (B2B) directory, go to INDEXA, which lists all the Web sites of companies doing business in France (foreign and domestic). Several people wrote about the new French search engine KartOO, which sports an interesting design and just enough English so you can get by.

I'm told by Sebastien Levaillant that the most up-to-date information on French search engines and directories is available on Abondance. Click here for French directories and here for French search engines.

German Search Engines

We were right on with FIREBALL (a big search engine that indexes pages in one-seven days) and WEB.DE, which is really huge. But according to Christian Vollmert of luna-park GmbH, Aladin no longer exists and searchers are being redirected to Abacho. Also very important in Germany are allesklar.de, DINO-Online, and Infoseek.de. Google Deutsch is growing fast and becoming very popular.

Currently, you don't have to pay for a submission on Yahoo Deutschland, but some say it would be better to pay because it's impossible to get listed. You can get listed on LookSmart as a directory service from AltaVista.de at a cost of about 159 euros. Excite Deutschland closed on June 30, referring users to www.excite.com and www.excite.co.uk. (Note: The same thing happened to Excite France.)

In Germany, pay-per-click campaigns are growing fast. In fact, I heard from a representative of a new pay-per-click German search engine, QualiGO. With over 13 million German pages gathered in the index since launching earlier this year, it covers German, Swiss, and Austrian sites. Its keyword auction is open to other domains, such as .com, .net, and .org, as long as the site provides relevant content in the German language. It plans to include international domains and foreign-language content in the future.

Spanish and Portuguese Search Sites

Mexico
One major search site to get listed on is Mexico Web, a search engine portal and directory of over 9,000 Mexican Web sites, available in Spanish and English. Mexicochannel.net, a directory of Mexican sites in English, searches a number of databases and offers a host of portal services and search categories. Meta search engine inter.net searches AltaVista, Excite, GoTo, Infoseek, Lycos, Metacrawler, Webcrawler, and Yahoo Popular Mexican portal YupiMSN serves Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Spain, and the U.S., besides offering Hotmail, YupiMail, and chat. MEXMASTER is a directory of Latin American Web sites covering Spanish-speaking countries worldwide; it's organized by the usual subject categories and offers portal services. MexSearch is the Mexican yellow pages in English and Spanish.

Spain
You'll want to get listed on Yahoo Spain, if you can. Terra is also big in Spain, an excellent search portal to be listed on. Another popular directory of Spanish sites with all the usual categories is elmndice. TUSPAIN is a Spanish directory in the English language. Last but not least is UGABULA, a Spanish directory that also offers free Internet access in Spain.

Puerto Rico
All U.S. search engines list Puerto Rican sites. Additionally, WEPA! is a large popular directory with portal services that cover the Caribbean, Central America, and South America and is available both in English and in Spanish.

Brazil
Busca is a popular directory and part of the StarMedia network. The following Portuguese-language search engines and directories of the Brazilian Web also offer email, chat, and portal services, making them advantageous listings for businesses in Brazil: Cadj?, AONDE, VIA NET.WORKS, GuiaWEB.com, brujula.net, and ondeir.com.br.

Chinese Search Engines and Directories

China
Beijing was just awarded the 2008 Olympics and is becoming increasingly more wired. You'll need to install software that allows processing of Chinese characters, which will be in either Big5 (traditional Chinese) or GB (simplified Chinese) code.

Yahoo China is a good place to start; you can query in traditional Chinese or English. SINA.com is also very popular. Although not a pure search engine, this site targets different Chinese groups worldwide and is popular for daily news and searching. Chinese Databases, from which you can search Chinese or international databases, is in English. Scroll down for a link to list your site or to advertise. ChinaBIG is the Chinese searchable yellow pages, a well-organized site in English. Greater China Web is a directory with searchable Chinese databases on news, statistics, law, business, and so on. The Nihao Directory provides an English and Chinese version of a Yahoo-style subject directory in GB code with links to English search engines Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite, and so on. Chinascape is a subject directory related to Chinese culture. It supports English and Chinese GB code. Excite China seems to be working. It provides keyword searches in traditional and simplified characters, searching Web sites in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Taiwan
Yam.com is a searchable database of Taiwanese Web sites in Big5. Taiwan Infoseek offers, in Big5, much the same content as its U.S. parent.

Site Translations

To be listed on any foreign search engine, you must have a foreign translation of your site and a foreign domain name. Translate at least five to six pages deep, because one or two pages are not enough to be picked up by foreign crawlers.

I had a reader ask me if any of the online translators, such as SYSTRAN, are any good. BabelFish (powered by SYSTRAN) is not bad for a literal translation. But this won't result in the kind of marketing copy that sells. Not only that, but literal translations can be unintentionally laughable or insulting. And there's lots to know; for instance, I'm told it's important not to translate all the Internet-specific words, such as "browser," "page," "impression," and "visit," because these often remain in English. The best translations are done through local, nonautomated translation services.

TUSPAIN, a Spanish directory (in English), offers a translator's guide of Spanish-language professionals who can provide "linguistic, communicative, technical and marketing skills to assist business in developing appropriate material for the Spanish and Latin American markets."

Going Beyond the Language

Site owners also need to think about the marketing demand for their product or service and the prevailing culture, customs, and economic climate of the individual countries in which they want to sell. This is country specific, and proper research will result in trust as people realize you understand their country intimately, beyond a simple page translation.

Just how much market research clients will need to make search engine optimization (SEO) decisions boils down to the type of product or service and the type of site (B2B, business-to-consumer [B2C], publishing). Obviously, B2C sites depend more on local conditions than language alone, whereas B2B sites can rely on clear communications to make it work.

Call for International SEO Expertise

There is a need for SEO experts who can optimize for international search engines in five or more languages. Please contact me (paul2@web-ignite.com) if you offer these services, and I'll make the information available to the readership.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul J. Bruemmer

Paul J. Bruemmer is CEO of Web-Ignite Corporation, a search engine optimization (SEO) and positioning provider. Founded in 1995, Web-Ignite has helped promote over 15,000 Web sites and was recognized by ICONOCAST as one of the top 10 most reputable SEO firms. Services include optimization, submission, registration, positioning, monitoring, maintenance, paid-inclusion, and paid-placement management for fixed monthly fees. Recent client testimonials report search engine traffic increased from 150 to 500 percent.

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