by Sebastian Aroca
Traditional wisdom regarding Spanish SEO campaigns would have you believe that, despite the fact that Spanish is among the most widely spoken languages on the planet, SEO campaigns in Español just do not work. They don’t work because most Spanish-speaking countries are still rather behind in connecting their citizens on the Internet, so there is not a whole lot of Spanish content on the web in comparison to English, Japanese, or other languages. It is a wonderful idea in theory but, in the real world, Spanish SEO just is not worth it.
At one point, this may have been true. Over the last 10 years, however, the Hispanic market has changed. More and more Spanish-speaking people all across Latin America are becoming connected and, as this has happened, the amount of Spanish content on the net has increased dramatically. The other, and more relevant, effect worth mentioning is that more and more Spanish speakers are performing searches. The last decade, where Spanish SEO campaigns experienced little to no success, is not at all indicative of the future.
So, just how much of an increase has the Internet seen of Spanish content in the last few years?
Well, consider this: in the early- to mid-’90s the search engines were in English. Anyone conducting a Web search had to do it in English; there was no other option. As technology caught up around the world, the Web has become a multilingual platform and foreign Web growth has been astonishing. While in 1996, 75% of all Web searches were conducted in English, today, according to InternetWordsStats.com, English searches account for only 25%. Search engines and directories understood the importance of this non-English segment and today it is becoming easier and easier to find content in your mother tongue.
Spanish searches are representative of that growth. As of two years ago, by number of users, the Spanish-speaking community was the third-largest language community on the Internet, being outnumbered only by English and Mandarin speakers. One recent statistic showed that the number of Spanish-speaking Internet users is increasing at a rate of 619.3%, far outpacing the growth seen in users speaking other languages. A significant portion of that growth is seen in Hispanic consumers in the United States being able to afford having their homes connected to high-speed Internet.
Eduardo Crespo, CEO at Hispanic Market Solutions, shared with me recently a report by Nielsen titled, “A Snapshot of Hispanic Media Usage in the U.S.” The report indicates that almost 40% of mostly-English speakers report using some Spanish-language Internet daily. The Nielsen report also shows that computer ownership continues to grow among Hispanics and half of Spanish-only speakers now have Internet.
SOURCE: MediaPost Engage: Hispanics