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Staking a Claim in Europe

Succeeding in the European Union

You might think that getting started with the European Union would be pretty easy. It’s actually not. For one thing, you have to remember that Europe comprises different countries with their own languages and customs, and their own markets for search engines. You can’t create one website for the whole EU and then call it a day.

This is important in terms of tailoring your marketing campaign. Each country has its own language, culture, and social mores that you need to use when doing your keyword research.

Working within the United Kingdom

It’s tempting to think that optimizing for the U.K. is going to be easy because you’re at least working in the same language. “Aha!” you think, “The United Kingdom is a lot like America because English is the primary language of both.” True — except that they’re really not using the same language at all. English in the U.K. has a lot of spelling conventions that an American spell checker reads as misspelled (the “u” in words like color and favorable, and an “s” rather than “z” in words like customization, and so on). British English isn’t exactly like American English, and you need to be well aware of that. There is no faster way to shoot down your credibility than forgetting cultural mores and language differences when working in another country.

Discovering France

In France, more than 44 million people are connected via the Internet. But the digital economy makes up only 6 percent of the GNP (gross national product) in France, as opposed to 14 percent in the United States. More than 37 percent of the population uses search engines several times a week, whereas almost 50 percent uses them several times a month. Most users between 45 and 54 say they don’t look past the first page of results, and women are less likely to go to the second page than men.

Operating in Germany

Credit cards are just becoming popular in Germany. Not a whole lot of purchases are made with credit cards. (Many Germans are leery of giving out personal information over the Internet.) So make sure that they have an alternative way to pay in Germany if you are running an e‐commerce (online retail) business.

Germans are also known to spend a lot of time researching. This is something to keep in mind if you’re running a research site (a website geared toward providing information), as opposed to an e‐commerce site; you might do well in Germany.

Last word

In the Netherlands, about 88.6 percent of the population is online, which is the second‐highest number of users online in the world and 11 percent more than the U.S. The Dutch also spend about $6 billion USD online, which makes them the fourth‐largest market in Europe. Google commands 93 percent of the market.

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