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Optimizing For Japanese
Posted 02 June 2004 - 09:30 PM
My question is about optimizing for Japanese.
Say I am optimizing in English and (to make it simple) let's say I am optimizing for the name of the company and the name of the co. is "Sanyo". So in English there is one keyword, as there is really only one possible spelling for this word. However, in Japanese there are a number of ways the user might search:
Romaji: Unlikely a Japanese user would search with this. The keyword would be "Sanyo" (if the user knows how it is written in English) or "Sanyou" (if it is written in correct Romaji).
Katakana: More likely as a search term, but still fairly unlikely. I am going to write what it would be here, but I don't know if your browser is going to display it correctly. Sorry if it doesn't! Katakana would be "サンヨウ".
Hiragana: More likely than Katakana and it would look like this: "さんよう"
Kanji: This is what the user is most likely to search for. However, there are a number of legitimate ways to write Sanyo, and without prior knowledge of which one is used in this company's name, I could search on any of these: "三洋" "三陽" or "山陽".
So this gives me the following list of different possibilities for this one keyword:
Sanyo, Sanyou, サンヨウ, さんよう, 三洋, 三陽, 山陽
Now, my main body text will obviously use the most appropriate one, i.e. the name of the company using the actual kanji. I have heard that in optimizing an English language page it can be a good idea to put alternate spellings (e.g. US / British English) in the keywords tag. Would this apply for my Japanese situation, too? The problem is that this would quickly use up a lot of space in my keywords tag in the area that search engines are actually going to look at. My other concern is that I would then have a lot of items in my keywords tag that did not appear in the main page, leading to the possibility of getting penalized for keyword stuffing - even though all these keywords are legitimate variations.
What do the SEO sensei suggest?
Posted 02 June 2004 - 10:11 PM
Simply give the user the option to choose which they prefer.
From the usability standpoint that is the far better option. From the search engine standpoint it keeps the content separated so that each language section will stand on its own.
More work? Without a doubt. However visitors and search engines alike will love you for it.
Posted 02 June 2004 - 10:25 PM
Posted 02 June 2004 - 10:52 PM
If you read through the [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showforum=15]copywriting forum[/url] below you'll find some good nuggets of wisdom from the professional copywriters. The discussion I'm thinking about was a little bit different as it was talking about English spelling variations, but you can still apply the principles. You'll basically need to optimize for all variations you want to target to at least some degree.
When I need to optimize for different spellings for the same word or concept I tend to mention the variation on the page so that it makes sense for users, then link that off to either a separate page with a better explanation or sometime to a same-page anchor with a short blurb.
That approach seems to work pretty well. My "main" phrase, for lack of a better term, normally ends up being on the page a few times. My alternate phrase is a link itself and points off to a page/section that highlights the alternate.
A totally made up example perhaps...
"I went to the store yesterday to buy a Coke, or as some old-timers would call it, a Coca-Cola. It was a very hot day, and the Coke was so refreshing that the can was empty by the time I got back home."
The keyword variations being Coke and Coca-Cola. The second of those would link off to somewhere that said something more about "Coca-Cola".
Posted 02 June 2004 - 11:25 PM
Maybe these issues are a clue as to why the Japanese tend to use directories like yahoo.co.jp more than search engines! The problem is a guaranteed listing in yahoo will cost the equivalent of about $500 ....
Posted 04 June 2004 - 03:12 PM
I don't know if the japanese texts are like that, but I agree with Randy and think your best bet would be to have different sites, at least for the versions you think will be most common. It would be nice for visitors . . .
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