One of the biggest challenges that affiliate marketers and website owners face is the over-supply of English language content available online. For the most lucrative affiliate markets – business software, financial products, and travel – every available keyword is saturated with superb content from brand-name websites. Consequently, these markets are becoming no-go areas for bootstrapped media companies and smaller publishers.
One way around this problem, which some innovative publishers are taking, is to start building websites in languages other than English. While the balance of supply and demand for content may lean in your favor if you decide to expand your portfolio of websites beyond English-speaking markets, building a website from scratch in a language unfamiliar to your own can present new challenges for experienced marketers.
These challenges lie in every step of the journey of creating a website – from market research to content creation and link building. Let’s go through the key steps in building a website in an unfamiliar language and take a look at how to overcome the problems that may arise when doing this.
Multi-market websites: Preliminary research
The market research stage for building a website in an unfamiliar language is a two-step process. First, you have the higher-level decision of which language and countries you want to target, and then you have the more familiar challenge of finding a profitable niche that you can break into with a newer website.
When thinking about what markets you want to target with your website, and therefore what language you want to build your content in, there are three key factors that you should consider:
- The level of interest in your niche within the region and culture that you are writing for
- Content competition in your chosen language
- The spending power of your potential traffic
Assessing market demand: Keyword traffic deep dive
If you are trying to market to a new global audience whose culture you are potentially unfamiliar with, then you may be limited to data from keyword research tools to inform you about the demand for certain products and topics. We all know that keyword research tools, even those supplied by Google themselves, are inaccurate.
Although keyword tools are inaccurate in the data that they provide, they are uniform in the way that they measure keyword volume across languages and regions. This means that you can judge a new market’s keyword volume by comparing the figures in your target countries to those in the countries that you are more familiar with. If you know that there is sufficient demand in a familiar country, and search volume in your new target country is similar (or at least similar when you take into account the population of internet users of the different countries), then you are likely to have sufficient demand for your market niche.
Gauging global competition: Multilingual keywords
The process of gauging content competition is universal across languages. For each new keyword that you want to target, no matter what language, you have to look at the authoritativeness of pages listed on the first page of Google. If three or more of the top ten ranking pages are from low authority websites, then you have a chance of competing for that keyword with a relatively new website.
In an ideal world, you also want to be checking the quality and relevance of content ranking for new market keywords, with lower quality competition making success more likely. However, if your linguistic understanding of your new target language is not strong enough to do this, then a marketing translation assessment based purely on the authoritativeness of competitor websites can suffice.
For a lot of new global market terms, the size of the competition will be lower for languages other than English. According to Statista 2020 research, this should broadly correlate with the volume of content published in each additional market’s language (shown below):
“meilleur logiciel de comptabilité” vs “best accounting software”
We can cash out these differences with an international SEO example comparing the competition for a typical competitive keyword in English and French. The keywords being compared here are “best accounting software” and “meilleur logiciel de comptabilité.”
The relevant data point here is DR (standing for Domain Rating). As we can see, the French language results are populated with much lower DR sites than the English results. Where the English results have an average DR of 81, the French results only have an average domain of 41.
This means that a skilled marketer could potentially rank an independently run site for the French keyword. To rank for the keyword in English you would need to become a go-to resource in the business software space. There are countless opportunities like this in languages other than English.
Global market spending power indications: CPC data
The best way of assessing the spending power of a new global market you are targeting is by looking at the relative CPC, cost per click, for your chosen keyword. The CPC’s of traffic from various countries tends to correlate with their spending power and proclivity to make purchases online. You can see a map, as provided by leading PPC tool Wordstream, of countries with their average CPC below:
Comparing CPC across countries not only gives you insight into the overall spending power of their digital population but can also provide hints on the differences between commercial intent between keywords.