Local Input Critical for Global Web Content Success

Recently I had a chat with a web content manager from the Canadian Tourism Commission. They ran in-country focus groups for the markets that they were going into and some very interesting findings came out of their study.

Even though both Canada and Australia are English spoken, users in each country showed different preferences for menu labeling. For example, Canadians preferred "Destinations," whereas Australians liked "Explore Canada." Canadians liked "Activities and Attractions," compared to Australians, who preferred "Chase an Experience." The focus groups in other countries also found comparable variances.

So what are some ways that you can research your customers' care words in foreign markets?

A good place to start is to look up search engine data and find out what words people are using to search for your products and services. Great content is a result of thorough understanding of why and how your customers search. You should use the words that your customers use, rather than the words that you might like to use.

  • Yahoo!'s Keyword Selector Tool is very handy, and free. This keyword tool provides valuable search data for 15 countries and 20 languages. When you type a word into it, it will tell you how many times this word and related terms were searched for during the last month. This data allows marketers to research what words searchers are using.
  • Google also has a tool (http://adwords.google.com), similar to Yahoo!'s. The AdWords Keyword Tool supports 16 languages and 25 countries, but it doesn't disclose keyword demand figures-only an estimate of the number of clicks you'll receive. Understanding what people search for offers very meaningful guidance in developing your content. But nothing beats TALKING to your customers directly. Getting opinions straight from the horse's mouth is always the best way to go. Did you know that senior managers at Walmart spend at least half of their time on shop floors talking to their customers?

Remember, your web site is for your customers, not for you. Ask YOUR CUSTOMERS what they want, not yourself.



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