Over time, you’ve probably had an increasing stream of visitors to your website. You’ve also probably generated a growing number of leads and sales. That’s good. But, if you’re like most business people, you probably are not aware that much of this success is attributable to the “optimization” of your website.

To get the biggest possible bang from search engines, it is essential to carefully select and strategically place keywords, as well as provide rich, quality content, authoritative incoming links, and properly coded pages. But that’s not all.

Optimize Your Website for International Traffic

Currently, most American companies use their website to generate U.S. business. They have not considered using it to generate international leads and sales. But today, with increasing numbers of foreign consumers going on line daily, it makes sense to reach out.

When you first put your website up on the internet, chances are you registered with all the major search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, Alta Vista, etc. This propelled your site into the indexes of English language-based engines in the UK, Australia and Canada. But much more could be done.

Reaching the World

Reaching global web users may be easier than you think. First, register your website with search engines in target foreign markets.

To do this, simply go to one of the global search engine directories, such as www.searchenginecolossus.com. Next, scroll down, click on Spain, for example, and view a listing of available search engines and directories. Investigate which ones may be best suited to your business.

As you are aware, websites from other countries have a countryspecific designation in the URL, such as “de” for Germany and “fr” for France. If you register with a foreign search engine, you also should use the country designation in your domain name. The good news: you won’t need to purchase another domain name. All you need to do is have a subdirectory (Yourcompany name.com/france) or a subdomain (france.yourcompany name.com), with content written in the designated language.

To be effective, it’s essential to translate at least three to five pages of your site in the designated country language. It’s also important to avoid automatic translation programs. Instead, use the services of a reputable translation firm or individual. Or, better yet, hire someone familiar with the country who can advise you on country marketing nuances. A common way to handle different languages is to add hyperlinks on your site so visitors can select the alternate language(s).

Think Global

The key to this vast cyber world is to not just think “global,” but to think “global communications.” Millions of consumers worldwide are surfing the net. It’s essential that you make your products and services available to them.

Mary Anne Donovan is CEO of Donovan-Wright Associates, a firm that specializes in search engine optimization, copywriting, consulting and training ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). This article appeared in Impact Analysis, November-December 2006.

Mary Anne Donovan
About The Author Mary Anne Donovan
Mary Anne Donovan is CEO of Donovan-Wright Associates, a firm that specializes in search engine optimization, copywriting, consulting and training.

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