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Last week, Christian Arno at SEOMoz Blog wrote a fascinating post about optimizing web content for an international audience.

Here are 5 highlights from Christian’s article that may surprise you:

Most people online don’t speak English

Fewer than 27% of online users are English speakers. More than half of Google searches are in non-English languages.

…and this is the trend

Betweeen 2000 and 2011, the number of Arabic users grew 2501.2%, Chinese users 1,478.7% but English users increased only 301.4%.

Direct translations often fail

When Italians want to find cheap airfare, they combine Italian and English in their search query. Instead of searching for voli a basso costo (low cost flights), the majority of Italians search for the hybrid term, “voli low cost”.

Domain Name location matters

Many international search engines favor domain names that are local to their country. Baidu, China’s Google search equivalent, strongly favors sites registered with China’s .cn domain.

Not everybody uses Google

Yahoo! is the most used-search engine in Japan. Other countires favor local search engines, such as Naver in South Korea and Yandex in Russia. Their popularity stems from better handling of the intricacies of the language and tailoring to local search preferences.

Read Chistian’s full article, Secrets of SEO Success in Other Languages at the SEOMoz Blog.