With 136 million speakers, Spanisch already ranks on the third place of active Internet user´s languages, directly following Chinese (383 million speakers) and English (478 million). According to Google, there are about 680 million Spanish-using websites.
A study by the Association of Spanish Language Academies showed that by 2050, approximately 10% of the worldwide population will speak Spanish and supposed that the United States will develop into the world´s main Spanish-speaking area. Texas and California, amongst others, already use Spanish as generally accepted language (even though it´s not an official language yet).
How much value Spanish language is being attached, is confirmed by an investigation of Humberto López Morales, general secretary of the Association of Spanish Language Academies: according to it, there are statistically 2.5 hispanics emigrating into the US per minute which makes a total number of 3 700 per day.
These people won´t learn English overnight! A hispanic community grows rapidly whose members most often speak broken English and search for interesting things on the Internet using Spanish keywords and -phrases.
You won´t easily find arguments doubting that optimizing your website for Spanish search engines such as Google Mexico, Google Argentia or Google Columbia is senseful. It is profitable for smaller companies, too, and will pay off.
Depending on your individual strategy, there are different things you can possibly aim at: firstly, you can add Spanish components to English-speaking websites (Spanish sections). Secondly, you can make your website bilingual (which can be effective both if you use an English or a Spanish domain such as .es, .mx or .dr). If you decide to use a Spanish domain, you should take into consideration to rank with that site on the corresponding search engine (e.g. on Google Mexico if you chose .mx as domain).
In any case, don´t neglect to keep an eye on your competitors! Instead of using automatic translators, carry out a reliable keyword research first of all. Spanish language includes a remarkable number of dialects which partly differentiate significantly from Standard Spanish – and Spanish people will rather use words from their dialect when searching for something interesting.
As an example, “pastel” means “cake” in Mexican Spanish. If you order the same in the Dominican Republic, you will receive a complete different dish. The same with “falda” and “pollera”: both means “skirt”, but depending on the area you are in (Uruguay or Argentina, in that case) it can also mean “woman selling chicken”. Take care on traps like these ones!
In case you don´t know the corresponding idiomatic keywords to your standard Spanish keywords, you are not able to optimize for these keywords. And if your automatic translator only provides standard Spanish words, optimization will fail.
Therefore, be careful. Analyse and monitor idiomatic keywords used in the area of interest, optimize for these keywords and invest the necessary amounts of time and money to create professional translations. It´s essential to follow both the strict rules of a standard Spanish dictionary and be highly affine for cultural characteristics. Besides, you need a profound knowledge of Spanish language and way of life as all these factors qualify a good translator.
It´s not necessary to create an independent Spanish-speaking website with corresponding domain. Most often, Spanish subpages are perfectly enough. You can create an English landingpage with the opportunity to change the language or use subdomains. Using this method, your English pages will profit from the increasing traffic which is generated by your Spanish keywords, too.
It is clear that, if you once have created Spanish pages, they have to be optimized. Optimization does not mean that you should try to rank on Google Mexico at any price. There are more than enough Spanish-speaking users within your previous target group which just haven´t recognized you up to now according to a missing Spanish language section. When deciding on if it makes sense for you to rank on foreign search engines, consider your target group, it´s distribution and your budget.
Besides, you are not supposed to rank on, or optimize for, every Spanish-using search engine. Carry out a target group analysis to define on which areas you should concentrate. These can also be independent from country frontiers (e.g. Catalonia). Group them geographically. That´s how you make it easier for yourself to find out the most popular idiomatic keywords.
As the Kingdom of Spain is one of the most important economic powers in Europe, it definitely makes sense for national and international companies to rank on Google.es. Here are some effective strategies: