Greenlight’s annual Search and Social Survey indicates that a large majority of people polled search in at least two different languages. Out of 500 people surveyed - some lawyers, some unemployed - 76 percent revealed that they do not limit their web searches to content that is in their native tongue. Additionally, an international searcher will bypass translation tools and read content as is appears. Marketers are the most likely professionals to engage in multilingual searches; so multilingual ad strategies might be the direction of online marketing in the near future.
Some of the information gathered from this survey is not surprising. For example, natives of Belgium - a country with three different languages – were more prone to engage in multilingual Web browsing than other nationalities. However, Bloomsberg believes that the fact that participants of Italy and Spain claim to search in different languages, is surprising. Respondents of Italy and Spain were among the most avid multilingual searchers, as indicated by the staggering statistic that nearly 100 percent claim to do so.
According to Internet World Stats, English is the most prevalent language on the Web followed by Chinese, then Spanish. Because the overwhelming majority of Web content is in English, it makes sense that natives of Spain would search in both Spanish and English. Italian did not make the top 10 list.
In addition to surveying participants, the analytic staff of Greenlight also monitored domains to gather language information based on geographical relevance. Adam Bunn, Greenlight’s SEO director states that, “The point here is that proper research, beyond just gathering a few keywords from the Google (News - Alert) AdWords Keyword Tool, really does help to inform SEO strategy. The first step to deciding whether to progress an opportunity is to define the size of that opportunity. This data does give some food for thought."
Edited by Brooke Neuman