There are a lot of niches in the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets that have little competition and are just waiting to be taken advantage of. To maximize your ability to dominate these niches, you need to be well-versed in search engine optimization, specifically in the context of capturing the attention of Hispanics on the Internet. While the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets have some overlap in terms of the type of demographics involved, they refer to two fairly distinct markets.
To reach these markets, you can use a combination of local SEO and more regional SEO. However, you need to be able to spot the key differences in the English and Spanish SEO needs for these markets as well. Here we’re going to take a look at each of these important topics to help you form a complete Hispanic SEO strategy.
1. Differences between Hispanics who reside in U.S. and Latin America
If you think about the Hispanic demographic that exists only within the United States, you’ll start to realize some key differences that exist that separate them from the Hispanics that reside in Latin America. Because the economies and general cultures are different in each of these places, your general strategy for targeting each group will have some key differences. One is that most of the Hispanics in the United States are either immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants, and while they retain some part of the culture of where they came from, they have become Americanized to some degree.
This means, for example, that ad copy involving self-improvement, the need for privacy and choice in education may be more likely to be successful. On the other hand, when targeting Hispanics who live in Latin America, your ad copy will have to adjust for the less individualistic and more family-oriented culture that exists there.
2. Regional and Local Aspects of Reaching Hispanics Online
Along similar lines, you also have to consider the regional and local aspects of reaching Hispanics online. A local SEO campaign would focus on reaching Hispanics inside of a specific town or city, like Houston, Texas. A regional SEO campaign would target a larger area, like the West Coast of the United States.
Thinking about SEO in this way allows you to cherry-pick your Hispanic SEO strategy for each individual area of both the United States and Latin America, giving you a greater degree of control and a higher level of success across the board.
3. The Role of Spanish Versus the Role of English
The last major area of consideration for Hispanic SEO is the role of language, especially when it comes to website content and ad copy.
According to the Geoscape 2010 Census Report, there are over 50 million Hispanic steady-residents of the U.S., 60% of whom are bi-Lingual to some degree and 40% of whom are dependent on either English or Spanish (breakdown shown in graphic, below).
Excerpt from presentation by César M. Melgoza, founder and CEO, Geoscape, at Versailles Breakfast Club on Oct. 08, 2010: “Will the 2010 Census Results Change the Way Businesses Market to America?”
A combination of content in both languages might sound like a good idea when trying to reach this segment, and in many cases it is. But in many other cases it may not be necessary at all. It depends entirely on the specific Hispanics online you’re trying to target.
Generally speaking, if you are targeting an English-dominant group such as the younger Hispanic audience from the United States, you should target it mainly with English-based ads and website content, since they will be more likely to speak English and relatively less likely to speak Spanish. On the other hand, if you are targeting Spanish dominant U.S. Hispanics or first residents of Latin America, you should almost always use Spanish.
Between those two ends of the continuum are the bilinguals, whether English-preferred, English & Spanish or Spanish-preferred. When trying to connect with these sub-segments, you may want to use a combination of English and Spanish content to capture the entire spectrum.
To sum up, these are three of the distinctions every marketer should take into account when targeting the Hispanic market. How granular you want to be in your marketing efforts will depend on how much time you have to understand your audience and how big your marketing dollars are to allocate to these efforts.
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