Yes, that title is tongue-in-cheek, as there is certainly no one size fits all plan. Reading any of my previous writings here, if there is one recurrent theme or underlying message toward international SEO and internet marketing in a new international market, it is that marketers must cater to the new context. They need to do their homework in understanding the local environment and how culture, language, and the societal structure (political, judicial, etc.) will impact the operations of the business – and act accordingly.

Following this approach, having statistics and informative detail on each market is essential in making a decision regarding which international market to enter or how to act once in that market. That is what this post supplies, as I detail below the differences between individual European markets and what it means for businesses.

Web Usage
Over 385 million Europeans were using the internet in February of this year. Looking at the total number of internet users in each country, businesses can get an idea of how many potential customers they can gain access to through their internet marketing efforts, specifically through search results, leveraging paid search and SEO. If a company’s products are niche, with more people there is a greater potential for a larger number being in your niche market. With a more general product, the same rule applies but there is even greater possibility for a wider audience.

The raw numbers are largely based on population but also the accessibility and quality of internet infrastructure in each country. Russia has the most web users with 54.5 million and is growing quickly, followed by Germany with 50.9, France with 42.9, and the UK with 37.4. From there, Spain, Turkey, and Italy range from 21.4 to 28.2, Poland has 18, the Netherlands 11.9, and Sweden 6.2 – according to recent comScore numbers.  Additionally, the number of hours spent online is important. The UK led all in Europe with 36.7 hours spent on average in February, followed by the Netherlands with 43.8, and Turkey with 33.9. The translates to the extended amount of exposure businesses can get with each web user.

Web Activity
It also helps to know what kind of web activity is popular in specific countries to add in additional information to targeting decisions regarding where to advertise and how other subject matter can be leveraged. Like those of most regions, Europeans like their sport, and it shows in online activity. Over 177 million web users in Europe, which is 45.8% of the total in the region, visited a sport-related website in February. Turkey (70.7%), Ireland (69.8%), Spain (65.9%), and the UK (64.3%) led the region with the percentages of the internet audiences in each market seeking out a sport-related site in February.

Companies make a point to advertise on sports-sites, given the alignment of additional audience demographic information (male-female, etc.). More specifically, promotions initiated on social media platforms can spur people to utilize sport-related sites in an innovative way to gather information for example, that can be posted back to the company pages. Partnerships can be established as well that could make further cross-promotion possible.

Check back tomorrow for the second installment of this post where we’ll look at social media in the region and address its role for businesses’ internet marketing.  And for more information about getting online across European markets or how SEO Companies can assist with organic search, ppc, and social media to improve your online visibility, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.