Why Is Web Globalization So Popular? Just Look at the Numbers…

I was happy to see a press release from comScore Networks illustrating in raw numbers what many Webmasters have been telling me privately over the years — that more than half of their Web traffic is coming from outside of the US.

The comScore study found that “14 of the top 25 U.S. Web properties attract more traffic from people outside the U.S. than from within.”

What comScore did was look at total traffic numbers for these Web sites and then split out US-only visitors to get at the percentage of non-US visitors.

Which sites have the most non-US visitors?

Google and Wikipedia

Roughly 80% of their visitors live outside the US, a percentage that will only increase in the years ahead.

This trend is a major reason why multinationals have been investing heavily in Web localization. That’s where all the growth is.

And it’s not sheer coincidence that the top two ranked global Web sites in our 2006 Web Globalization Report Card also happen to be Google and Wikepedia. These two properties came out on top because they have done the most to attract a global audience. Both Google and Wikipedia support more than a hundred languages and offer a wealth of localized content within those languages.

Will companies like Nike and Starbucks one day support more than a hundred languages on their Web sites?

Possibly.

Forty languages?

Absolutely. It’s just a matter of time — and a matter of numbers.

I’ll leave you with a parting quote from comScore:

“As Internet usage outside the U.S. has grown rapidly from a small base, the U.S. share of the world’s online population has fallen from 65 percent to less than 25 percent in the last 10 years,” said Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe. “The fact that more than three-quarters of the traffic to Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft is now coming from outside of the U.S. is indicative of what a truly global medium the Internet has become.”

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.