At one point, this may have been true. Over the last 10 years, however, the Hispanic market has changed. More and more Spanish-speaking people all across Latin America are becoming connected and, as this has happened, the amount of Spanish content on the net has increased dramatically. The other, and more relevant, effect worth mentioning is that more and more Spanish speakers are performing searches. The last decade, where Spanish SEO campaigns experienced little to no success, is not at all indicative of the future.
So, just how much of an increase has the Internet seen of Spanish content in the last few years?
Well, consider this: in the early- to mid-'90s the search engines were in English. Anyone conducting a Web search had to do it in English; there was no other option. As technology caught up around the world, the Web has become a multilingual platform and foreign Web growth has been astonishing. While in 1996, 75% of all Web searches were conducted in English, today, according to InternetWordsStats.com, English searches account for only 25%. Search engines and directories understood the importance of this non-English segment and today it is becoming easier and easier to find content in your mother tongue.
Spanish searches are representative of that growth. As of two years ago, by number of users, the Spanish-speaking community was the third-largest language community on the Internet, being outnumbered only by English and Mandarin speakers. One recent statistic showed that the number of Spanish-speaking Internet users is increasing at a rate of 619.3%, far outpacing the growth seen in users speaking other languages. A significant portion of that growth is seen in Hispanic consumers in the United States being able to afford having their homes connected to high-speed Internet.
Eduardo Crespo, CEO at Hispanic Market Solutions, shared with me recently a report by Nielsen titled, "A Snapshot of Hispanic Media Usage in the U.S." The report indicates that almost 40% of mostly-English speakers report using some Spanish-language Internet daily. The Nielsen report also shows that computer ownership continues to grow among Hispanics and half of Spanish-only speakers now have Internet.
The growth of the digital Hispanic market would be ignored at one's own peril, and any business looking to generate traffic from new sources would do well to look beyond the languages of the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China. As more Spanish speakers connect to the net, both in the U.S. and abroad in Latin America, the opportunity for success in SEO campaigns in Spanish will continue to increase dramatically in the coming years. Those who take the time to invest in catering to this growing market now will likely be the ones seeing the greatest growth in this segment in the coming years.
To sum up, while it's clear that consumers are neither one dimensional nor language-centric, for those businesses that are serious about reaching the entire spectrum of the U.S. Hispanic community, then, connecting to the Spanish-preferred and Spanish-reliant audience through a cost-effective Spanish SEO campaign can be an integral part of the overall Hispanic search engine marketing strategy.