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It is expected that by 2015, the total number of internet users in BRIC countries, plus Indonesia (making them the BRICI markets) will total 1.2bn, more than double the current online population of these regions.

This, combined with other technological advancements and financial growth, means that now could be the time to start considering extending e-commerce practice in these markets.

In terms of SEO, this means beginning to think of strategies for search engines other than Google. In most of the BRIC markets there are many search engines other than Google which hold the leading market share, or there are at least strong competitors for the search giant.

Developing SEO strategies for domestic search engines is far more likely to bring positive online results in that region, so here’s the lowdown on BRIC search landscapes to start you off on your global expansion.

Brazil 

Google is the market leader in search here, and this applies to many parts of South America. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the SEO strategy for Brazil would be the same as in the UK or USA. Local keywords and search terms can vary hugely, so rather than translating, it’s best to write up text for a Brazilian audience from scratch, with locally researched keywords included.

The Brazilian online audience is also widely engaged with mobile internet access, so ensuring a site is accessible via mobile could be an effective way of drawing traffic.

Russia

Russia has an interesting search market, with Yandex.ru being the majority share holder at 64%, and it’s not showing any signs of surrendering to Google. Its success is said to be down to its ability to ‘read’ the tricky Russian language, something which other international search engines struggle to do.

Although it is moving forward, Yandex is nowhere near as advanced as Google, some ‘black hat’ SEO tricks which would usually be considered spammy by Google such as very high keyword density or a high number of irrelevant links, can sometimes work on Yandex. However, this is not necessarily a given, and Yandex.ru have recently claimed to have changed their rules regarding SEO to be more advanced in recognising black hat tricks and penalizing for them.

India

In India it is Google that is the search engine market leader; however, it is social media marketing which has really taken off in India. There is predicted to be over 70 million social network users there by the end of 2011, up from 45 million in 2009, and by working on a good social media strategy to reach the Indian audience, companies can drive more traffic to their site and improve search engine rankings.

However, the social media landscape in India differs hugely from that in the UK and USA. Orkut is the most popular social network, holding around a 40% user reach. Facebook has a mere 13% and Hi5 8%. However, Facebook usage is on the rise, and Twitter experienced a boom in usage in 2009.

China

Possibly the most dynamic of the BRIC search markets, China’s biggest search engine is Baidu, which recently announced that its market share was 70%. Contrary to popular belief, it has almost always been the biggest search contender in China, even before google.cn was banned by the Chinese government and searchers were re-directed to google.hk.

Baidu is similar to Yandex in terms of its advancement, and after very important and recent changes Baidu no longer automatically ranks pages with an overly high keyword density above others.

As always, international SEO is all about localisation, and this certainly applies in China. In Hong Kong, Baidu is barely used and it’s Google which is the market leader. There are also differences between the types of written Chinese used in mainland China and Hong Kong. This highlights the importance of carrying out thorough localised research into each individual market before developing an international SEO strategy.

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Published 29 September, 2010 by Greig Holbrook

Greig Holbrook is director of Oban Multilingual and a contributor to Econsultancy.

6 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Andrew Wheeler

Hi guys - just a quick note to let you know the SEO best practice guide you have developed is a great resource - good job, you should take it to print!

almost 6 years ago

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Janaki Pendyala

Hi,

Many thanks to team 'Econsultancy' for the fresh insight. In addition BRIC markets, I feel thre is lot of potential in South African Market as well.

Thanks

Janaki

almost 6 years ago

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Tripti Lochan, CEO at Qais Consulting Pte Ltd

The figures you have posted on social media usage in India are wrong. At the recent World Social Media Forum in Singapore, the stats showed that Facebook has experienced tremendous growth in India, and it is now only a few percentage points behind Orkut. It is almost certainly going to overtake it.

Facebook is also massive in Indonesia, in fact Indonesia is now Facebook's second biggest market, behind only the US

almost 6 years ago

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SEO Company

hello.... that 's great information.. about BRIC markets .The BRIC investment forum is dedicated to creating a community of members with interests in the rapidly emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, india and china ..also Thanks for leave this information..

almost 6 years ago

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Greig Holbrook, director at Oban DigitalSmall Business Multi-user

Apologies David. I'm not directly part of econsultancy, I'm the MD at OBAN Multilingual SEO. Our Twitter account is @ObanSEO if you'd like to follow us or ask any further questions. The info in the article has been acquired via our own research teams based around the globe. We work with many of our clients in the BRIC regions so we have plenty of knowledge surrounding SEO in these areas. However, with internet growth specifically, these figures were recently published in a report titled The Internet's New Billion. Hope this helps, and feel free to contact OBAN via Twitter for any other info.

almost 6 years ago

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SEO Specialist

Not a bad article and I would agree that these markets are definitely areas that are worth exploring with the scope available for SEO

about 5 years ago

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Water Filter

Why do you think the Chinese Government banned Google?

over 3 years ago

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