Do you consider entering new markets outside Europe? Is the South American market a right direction and what does the local e-commerce look like? In our today’s entry we’ll show you the American SEO industry and introduce you to the most basic facts about Latinos – empezamos!
South America is the fourth largest continent in the world, covering an area of 17.8 million square kilometers. The continent consists of 12 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela) and two dependent territories – French Guiana and Falkland Islands which belong to the United Kingdom. Brazil, with 8.5 million square kilometers, is the greatest country covering almost half of the entire continent. South America can boast 420.5 million inhabitants and its population density equals 21 per km². Chile is the richest and the most economically stable country whose per capita income comes to $24,588.
Meet an average Latin internet user
According to Statista (data from 2017), 55% of the population of Latin America has access to the Internet. However, the forecasts indicate that by the end of 2019 the number of internet users should reach 60.9%. It was estimated that at the end of 2016 there were 72.4 million users of fixed broadband internet and in 2017 the number reached 77.4 million. When it comes to individual countries, Argentina has the highest internet penetration rate (93%) and Brazil is the country with the greatest number of internet users.
The internet users in South America account for 7% of the global share, active social media accounts equal 9% and the mobile users constitute 7% of the global share.
What to keep in mind to become successful in SEO for the Latin American market?
If you aspire to become successful on the local market in a given part of the world, there are several things that should be borne in mind and the mother tongue is one of them. Delve into its nuances to avoid some cardinal and embarrassing mistakes. Social media eagerly and regularly used by the local users are the second most important aspect. Therefore, remember about setting up your accounts and staying active. Don’t forget about various search engines – each of them is specific, has its own SEO rules and highly affects the position on which your site is displayed in the search results. So now you know the most important factors but what do they look like in South America?
Language – is Spanish the one and only?
Spanish is the official language of most countries in South America and it’s also the most widely encountered language spoken on the continent. Portuguese, the official language of Brazil, is the second most popular one. French Guiana is the only place where English is spoken and Dutch is the official language in Suriname. However, keep in mind that Spanish spoken on this continent is slightly different in every country of South America and differs from the one used by Spaniards.
Differences aren’t particularly noticeable, nevertheless, they can change the meaning of the sentence as often they regard different meanings of some words and popularly used terms. To put you in the picture, in Spain to say “car” you’ll use “el coche”, whereas in South America it denotes “pig”. On the other hand, in the abovementioned situation, Latin Americans would go for “el carro” or “el auto”. The word “computer” is another example of such misleading differences – people in South America would say “la computadora” but the Spanish would use “el ordenador”. Finally, “beans” will be the most illustrative example. The Spanish call it “la judía”, the Argentinians call them “el poroto”, the Venezuelans “la caraota”, the Peruvians “el frejol” and the Colombians “el fríjol”. There might also be differences in pronunciation and stressing. For all these reasons it’s very important to pay special attention to individual words during conducting an SEO process in particular countries of South America.
Why is language important in terms of SEO? First of all, it’s something you should pay attention to while selecting keywords for your SEO process. Apart from that, language and cultural differences may make the site that is prospering well in Spain a complete disaster in South America. As you’ve seen in the previous example with the beans, the same website may even not work in various countries of Latin America. You should focus on customizing your site to your new target group and adjusting it to the new market.
Social media in South America
Social media are very popular in South America. According to Statcounter GlobalStats, Facebook is the most popular social media platform. Remember about being active and visible there. Pinterest and YouTube are ranked on the subsequent positions, however, the number of users of these sites is considerably lower.
SEO in Latin America – Search engines
During the SEO process you need to pay attention to the search engine which is most frequently chosen by the users in a given country. Each search engine is a law unto itself. However, the situation in South America is similar to the one in Europe – according to Statcounter GlobalStats, Google is the leading search engine used by as many as 97.71% of the Latin internet users. This, in turn, makes entering the local market a little bit easier as the principles and characteristics of Google in the SEO process are widely known among the European entrepreneurs. The Bing search engine is second in the ranking, nevertheless, it accounts for only 1.17% of the market share.
Link building – where to link?
Linking is an essential part of the whole SEO process. For this reason, it’s advisable to create links leading to domains valuable in given parts of the world where you want to enter the market. Social media, with Facebook on the first place and Blogger – the blogging platform – on second place in the ranking, play a key role in South America. Thus, it’s worth staying active and sharing valuable content on these portals. The following places in the ranking are occupied by LinkedIn and Twitter. “Taringa!” is another social media platform particularly important in the SEO process in the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America. It’s considerably less popular than Facebook or Blogger but it’s an inseparable element of the SEO process if you care about markets with Spanish as a mother tongue.
Which domain to choose?
In most countries of South America, buying your own domain shouldn’t be a problem. In many cases, you don’t need to register your business and a local representative is also not required. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are among the places which require a local administrative contact and representative, however, many companies offer their services in this respect. Unfortunately, relatively high prices might be problematic. Depending on the country, buying your own domain will cost you from $75 to $230. It’s advisable to choose a country domain for each country in which you want to operate.
In some countries of South America you can register your domain in two ways – in Chile, for example, a website can be registered as both .cl and com.cl. However, most countries go for the .com extension, it’s also recommended to choose this solution as it’s generally cheaper, simpler and more frequently used.
However, if you focus on the whole of South America, you can go for the .lat domain which doesn’t refer to any particular country but to the general culture of Latin America. There are no registration requirements for this type of domain and its price isn’t as high as in the case of the domains of individual South American countries. It can be compared to the ue. domain commonly used in Europe. However, this solution is a little bit less beneficial for SEO.
E-commerce in South America
While analyzing the e-commerce market in a given country, it’s worth examining not only the percentage of people who buy online but also the preferred payment methods and products that are most frequently purchased by internet users. Let’s take a closer look at these elements in Latin America.
In 2019, revenues from the e-commerce market reached $32,224 million. According to forecasts, they’ll show an annual growth rate of 6.5% which will result in the revenues reaching $41,441 million by 2023. Currently, 121 million inhabitants of South America shop online, however, according to research, by 2021 the number will increase to 163 million e-commerce users which accounts for 54% of the whole population of Latin America.
Fashion constitutes the greatest segment of the market and its volume reached $9,580 million in 2019. Moreover, it’s expected to increase to $12,062 million by 2023. Electronics and media with a market volume of $8,890 million in 2019 are second in the ranking. The subsequent positions are occupied by toys, hobbies, DIY ($6,200 million), and furniture industries ($4,628 million). Food and personal hygiene reached only $2,925 million. The trends of these segments in 2018 and 2019 as well as forecasts up to 2023 are shown in the chart below.
When it comes to payment methods, 65% of Latin American online shoppers chose their credit cards as a preferred online payment option. 41% of shoppers reported using debit cards. E-wallets, such as PayPal, are chosen by 36% of online shoppers and cash on delivery is preferred by 35% of customers. Obviously, the payment methods will vary from country to country, nevertheless, credit cards prevail in most prosperous Latin American countries.
As far as devices preferred by Latinos are concerned, 59% prefer to shop using desktop computers, which gives a number lower than the world average. Smartphones or tablets are chosen by 6% of online shoppers. 29% of people state that they’ve no preferences. Mobile phones are expected to become even more significant, especially when the younger generation of online shoppers is concerned.
Undoubtedly, the markets of Latin American countries aren’t as developed as the European ones. Nevertheless, the number of internet users and e-consumers there increases every year, therefore, this continent may turn out to be an unexploited niche in many industries. Before making a decision which South American market to enter, consider which countries are expected to develop the most dynamically.