Tag Archives: Internationalization

Bing – features and SEO recommendations, one month on

At the end of May Microsoft announced its new search engine, Bing. Microsoft justified many of Bing’s new features by noting that 50% of search queries are either abandoned or refined – users aren’t getting the right answer on the first try, citing studies by Jakob Nielsen, Enquiro and internal testing. Microsoft also said that searchers are becoming more focused more on tasks and decisions – consequently search engine sessions are becoming longer as users work their way through their decision making process.

As data from Bing’s first full month becomes available, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at what the Bing rollout means for search marketers and, in a separate article, current search engine market shares.


So many aspiring SEOs! – the SEO Quiz results are in

15 questions, 5 weeks and 5 books: almost 700 people took the 2008 SEO quiz challenge.

Note to the reader: this article was originally posted on our Italian blog on December 2nd. The quiz targeted an Italian audience; we’ve published this translation in order to allow a wider audience to follow search marketing developments in Italy.

Why a SEO quiz

The idea of the quiz came from reflections on the state of SEO knowledge and usage in Italy, observed from the perspective of a SEO practitioner.

Search engines, with Google in particular (question 1), are the gate keepers between us and the net. We use search engines not only to search for information that we imagine is out there somewhere, but also to navigate to a specific site, such as Fiat, or to perform a task, such as buy a ticket for a Tiziano Ferro concert (question 15).

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Search marketing is different: how to gain a competitive advantage by insuring a successful SEO project

In a related article, I consider how Internet search marketing remains a niche focus for a few early adopters despite laser-like targeting and measurement abilities. As a relatively new media, search engine mechanics and user interaction with search engines remains a bit of a black box for many marketing professionals. In the following discussion, I aim to outline the process of a typical search marketing project.

The first consideration for a company is to identify an internal resource who will be responsible for search marketing initiatives. This person has a solid understanding of the company’s business goals and marketing strategies. They also tend embrace technology as a business enabler and ideally are already involved with the company’s web presence.

Selection of an external search marketing partner usually follows, unless the organization decides to recruit resources to manage search marketing in-house. The usual vendor selection criteria come in to play: reputation, experience, value for money, etc.

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Search engine optimization for websites in multiple languages

A common issue facing companies and organizations with an international presence is how to deploy multilingual sites across one or more Internet domain(s). In other words, should one put all the sites on a .com or .org domain, perhaps taking advantage of directories on the web server to separate each language? Is this the best solution for existing and potential customers? Will there be problems with search engine indexing and visibility?

After having tackled the issue in various SEO projects, I decided to share some of the issues that should be considered when choosing the right path for your company or organization.

Start with the search engines – but think of your visitors

Websites exist to communicate with a diverse audience – customers, potential customers, employees, investors, suppliers, etc. In the web planning and design phase, it is essential not to lose sight of the site’s target audience. But it is also highly critical to keep in mind how web sites are found on the net, starting with Google.

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Top level domains, subdomains or directories for Search Engine Optimization of multilingual websites?

Companies targeting multiple linguistic markets on the web have a lot to think about when planning their Internet strategy and execution. Ideally, search engine optimization should be part of their strategy considerations. In this article, we look at a technical marketing issue of website localization: how should a company distribute content targeted at different markets on the web? Do search engines, such as Google, care if a company uses a separate domain for every country, separate folders on a generic top level domain (TLD), such as a .com, or perhaps subdomains? Do users care?

Four common ways to organize website language variants

Perhaps the best way to understand the range of possible solutions is to look at some examples.

Top level domains (TLDs), i.e. by domain suffixwww.antezeta.com
www.antezeta.co.uk www.antezeta.de
Subdomains, i.e. by domain prefix.it.antezeta.com
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Internationalization of Web Sites at ZenaCamp, Genoa (Genova)

At yesterday’s ZenaCamp in Genova, I gave a presentation on the main issues that are frequently encountered when creating sites for an international audience:

A particular focus was made on user issues, such as providing a page in the right language to a site visitor while allowing them to override the choice – and remembering their choice upon successive site visits.

Search engine optimization was also discussed as there are several techniques which can be used to help search engines correctly identify a web page’s language.

If you’d like a copy of the presentation, please contact me.

Gianfranco Chicco captured several happy campers right after lunch!

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Accented Characters, Symbols and Special Characters in HTML Documents: Considerations for Search Engine Optimization, Usability and XML Feeds.

One issue many international Webmasters face is how to properly manage documents written in languages containing accented and other special, non-English, characters. Does it matter how the special characters are written? Do HTML documents need to contain both accented and non-accented words to be found in search engines?

Continuing our series on website internationalization for search engine visibility, we’ll take a look at how special characters can be specified in a document and how these characters are managed by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Ask and Microsoft’s MSN.

In the early days of computing, engineers mapped each of the letters of the latin alphabet used by the English language to a specific numeric code. This mapping became known as the ASCII character set. Unfortunately, no provision was made for accented and other special characters found in the many languages which share the roman alphabet.


How to Specify an HTML Web Document Language for good SEO

So you just wrote a stunning essay on James Joyce’s Ulysses – in Irish Gaelic. Will Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft and Ask recognize it as Gaelic, hosted as it is on your co.uk domain? Maybe. But you can given them a hint!

The trick is to use all of the HTTP and HTML language code settings available to your advantage to ensure your documents aren’t falsely identified. This article considers HTTP and HTML aspects of website internationalization for search engine optimization.

Why is Language Recognition a Problem?

Search engines try to match a web searcher’s language (based on ip geo location recognition or user specified preferences) to web documents when determining the best matches for a search query. In some cases, a user may specify that results be limited to a specific language. Left to their own devices, search engines have a few clues to determine the human language of a document:

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UK and US English Dialect Considerations for Site Internationalization

Search Engines and Site Localization

While there are few differences between the UK and US English dialects which might lead to miscomprehension, Noah Webster‘s spelling reform does lead to interesting issues which need to be considered when designing sites for international audiences.

Note Update: This document was written in 2006 and no longer represents the current state of search affairs. It has been left here as a historical reference. Search engines continually refine their algorithms and that is reflected in how they currently handle regional linguistic differences.

Is it “my favorite color” or “my favourite colour”?

While it may seem like an arcane academic question, how you spell your English language content can determine your site’s visibility in search engines and how your site is perceived by your visitors.

With about two-thirds of native English speakers in the US, American spelling predominates the web. Not surprisingly, a non-scientific survey of search expressions using both US and UK spellings yields more matches for the US variant:


Howto – AWStats Enhancements and Extensions

AWStats Logo This area focuses on resources to enhance the functionality of the web analytics tool AWStats.

These resources have been developed based on our client needs. As a contribution, we offer them here. Some may even make it into a future version AWStats!

WarningThe information here is provided on a „worked for us” as-is basis for your testing, verification and potential adoption.

ExtraSection Samples

AWStats has an excellent custom report syntax called ExtraSection which enables an organization to both extend standard AWStats and add organization specific reports. Below we offer ExtraSection samples useful for sites involved in search engine optimization web marketing and / or monitoring of traffic from external sites.

WarningWeb server log analysis can be memory and CPU resource intensive. AWStats documentation notes that each ExtraSection reduces AWStats speed by about 8%. Proceed with caution.