There are many resolutions, eat less, stop smoking, win the lottery, you name it. All over the world most new years resolutions are the same, or at least similar. Most posts you read are from writers writing about their own new years resolutions.
For 2011, I would like to give you some resolutions. I’ve written a lot about optimizing and working for better search rankings in Europe in 2010. Based on these articles, I’d like to give you some new years resolutions to keep when you really want to be successful in Europe.
Resolution #1: Study The Different Cultures & Politics
To be successful in Europe, you need to do more than simply translate your website. Cultural differences are a very important part of finding out what the best strategy for optimizing in Europe. Every European is different and has different reasons for being on the web and therefore different reasons for searching also. You’ll need to know what the culture of a country is like if you want to go and optimize there.
But there is even more to it than culture. Politics play a major role in how a country acts online. Is there a left wing or right wing government? Are people looking for jobs or looking for ways to spend their money?
One of the things you should do is read European newspapers. The easiest way off course is grabbing a couple of UK newspapers like the Guardian, which are all in English, but keeping an eye on local news is also very important. And yes, even Google Translate may help there a little.
You’ll need to do your research in order to find out how people are behaving on the web to give them the exact answers they are looking for.
Resolution #2: Take A Trip To Europe
In order to find out how the different cultures behave in Europe the best thing you can do is actually go there. Visit Europe and find out how the different countries are behaving offline to get a view of what they do online. And be sure to not just do the touristic stuff. You’ll get the wrong impression if you do that, after all, not all Italians drink coffee all the time and not all Dutch people end up in the red light district every day…
When you are making the trip to Europe I urge you to visit one or two European search conferences. There, you will be able to really get a grip on the online market in Europe. The European Search Market gathers at those events, which is the excellent way to get experiences and information from your colleagues in Europe.
Resolution #3: Get To Know European People
In 2011, do try to get to know European people. You can do that on the conferences mentioned before, but there are more opportunities. Europeans tend to travel a lot themselves so you might be able to catch them at a US conference, but with modern communication and social media at your service it is very easy to get in touch with the Europeans.
But you may ask: Why? What’s the use of knowing a Dutchman, an Englishman or a German? Reasons are many. Next to that these people are possibly very nice and interesting, they know the European market places like no others. It is a genuine source of information.
Next to that, when optimizing in Europe the best thing you can do is have a native looking at your website and thinking with you. He or she will be able to tell you what will and what will not work in the specific country. Priceless information!
Resolution #4: Engage In European Social Networks
One good way of getting to know the Europeans is Social Media. With Twitter, getting in touch with Europeans has never been easier. You can also find them on specific European Social Networks, mostly in their own countries. But that is not the main reason why one of your new years resolutions should be to engage in European Social Networks.
Being part of one or more of the European Social Networks will give you valuable insight information into what is going on in the specific countries. Get to know the European behavior and start spreading your content that way. One way or another, that will help you spread your content and it might even get you some links.
Resolution #5: Learn Some Languages
Finally the last resolution should be to try and learn some languages. Well, not literally off course. But you have to keep in mind that Europe has a lot of languages. And all of these languages have dialects. And all languages and dialects have their own rules. Google translate may be a nice tool, but for optimizing your websites, it is useless.
If you are building a website targeted for Europe you will need to do that in the native languages of your target audiences. And you cannot simply translate a website and think it will work.
Use the Europeans you have gotten to know and let natives look at the websites. Use locals to help you optimize and make sure the language you are using is correct.
Finally, I know that New Years resolutions are hard and that you shouldn’t have too many. But think of this: if you are only able to get one resolution, be sure to choose for getting to know the Europeans, after all, they can help you with the other ones;).
Happy New Year!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.