Spain is far from being the land of opportunity that it used to be; in fact it is clearly one of the more competitive markets from an SEO perspective, which is many affiliates’ bread and butter in terms of traffic. But, that is not to say that you shouldn’t really be looking at Spain as a legitimate area to expand your business.
The Market is Softer than the English Market
Based on internet world’s estimates, around 8% of the internet’s users speak Spanish as a 1st language, but according to w3 only 4% of web content is in Spanish. This ratio is essentially reversed for the English web, with 27% of users speaking English and 54% of web content being in English. Now of course, the benefit of English is that it is the global second language, but when it comes to logically targeting any market you will clearly have an advantage if you use the native tongue.
Whilst the percentage of sites in Spanish is growing it should also be stated that the South American market is also seeing large growth in terms of internet usage, seeing a 15% growth between 2010 and 2011 and a predicted growth of a further 10% by the end of 2012
There is a place for Bingo Affiliates
If you’re a bingo affiliate then Spain is certainly the logical market for you to enter if you’re looking outside of the English speaking sphere. Due to the recent legislation the smart move is probably to promote those bingo halls that already have their .es domains and Spanish licences, as you don’t want to be left with someone exiting the market and you losing out on future revenue. Spain has, for a long time, been widely considered the 2nd largest legal bingo market after the UK, with an estimated worth of $255million in gross gambling yields in 2009 . This is hugely important if Bingo is your product of choice, as focusing on this niche does limit the number of markets worth entering.
What Do I need to know about Spanish SEO?
The fact is that things aren’t much different than anywhere else in Europe; the basic principles of SEO are the same as the dominant search engine is still, after all, Google. Links still matter, good content is still important and social signals are still the way forward. Which brings me to my next point, if you want to SEO for Spain make sure you promote your social content like a Spaniard. Of course the global giants are still in play and it would be foolish to ignore Facebook, G+ or Twitter, all of which have significant roles to play in the market, but there are other players to be aware of.
The most notable of these is Tuenti and based on its Spanish market share it is probably going to be hanging round for a while. Currently it is estimated that Tuenti has a user base of around 13million people . The downside is that Facebook does seem to be slowly chipping into this market share, however, there is probably a reasonable longevity in the Spanish social network and it’s certainly worth investing some time into at the moment.
Why you should stay away from Spain and Look to Russia or China
This is going to be something of a controversial stance for someone who stands up as an SEO Expert, but don’t rely on Google. That isn’t to say don’t rely on search, but if you are really looking to diversify your business then why not mitigate your risk, not just through having different websites, but different algorithms watching them.
This is personally my top tip for the coming months. Look to Yandex and Baidu as methods of stabilising your business model.
The issue that a lot of affiliates have is that they implement similar if not the same marketing (whether that be SEO, PPC, Social and so on) across all their domains. If you rely solely on markets ruled by Google and you get hit by a penalty in one of the territories then you can bet that the rest will follow suit. This then results in a domino effect and the whole business potentially tanking. Whereas, by relying on a different set of search engines you may never even be hit by the same sort of penalties, after all Yandex have said they won’t penalise link buying (well more specifically, trading) – at least they used to recently they said the following: “We also do not guarantee that the ranking of link trading sites will not be decreased.” They do intend to attach more value to editorially given links so that means no penguin; assuming you don’t do any really stupid link buying, the wording suggests that they wont be actively attacking people for buying links, but they don’t want you buying spam designed to clutter their search engine.
To refer back to the same statistics looking at the Chinese stats, 25% of internet users browse in Chinese and only 4.5% of the web is in Chinese.
You also need to remember that copywriters from these countries are remarkably cheap, although as always with foreign writers, make sure to get the 1st few batches checked by a 3rd party before placing any trust in the writer.
What about Korea?
It should be noted that not mentioning the Korean market was deliberate, whilst Naver and Daum (The Korean Search Engines of choice) again run on different algorithms this is a market that is far more complicated than I can run through in the space of this article, they have not been ignored because I do not think that they are worth the investment.
Back to Spain; the recent legislation changes could potentially stand to cause a lot of upheaval in the market and many affiliates may want to wait till the storm is fully weathered before actually committing time money and resource to competing in an unstable market.
The Spanish market may seem like the obvious decision for a western European marketer and the familiar character system and reasonably decipherable grammar does make it more appealing to a native English speaker. However, whilst the initial risks are greater in other markets there does stand to be a much greater reward and if you get it right the long term risks to your business as a whole could be significantly lowered through increased diversification.
Note:to see the proper references for this article check out the image or the version in IGB Affiliate Magazine as I simply can’t be bothered typing them all out again.