Something Can Be Done About It
Take one phrase, such as Googling for “common cold” in various languages:
Googling for “感冒” in google.jp gives you 2 results in the top 10 that directly link to Japanese characters in the URL itself (which will of course be rewritten in the browser), and 3 of the top 4 had the phrase in Japanese chars in the title, all of them in the snippet.
Interestingly, the #1 result has a decoded UTF-8 version of the characters as the URL:
Googling for “простудой” in google.ru gives you zero results that have Russian characters in the first 3 pages of results. Most are CMS-driven sites that have letters & numbers in the URLs themselves.
All of the top 10 results, though, have the keyword in Russian chars in the subject and most have it in the snippet as well.
Similar to Russian, most of the top 10 results for “κοινο κρυολογημα” are CMS-type sites with the keyword in the title and description, but no keyword or transliteration of the keyword apparent in the URL itself.
The word I have for common cold in German is “Erkältung”. May not be right, but it serves me well as it has an a(umlaut) in the spelling.
Googling for this in Google.de gives a very interesting result. The number 1 result, a Wikipedia entry, is for de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erkältung — with the a(umlaut) in the display URL. The #4 result has this as well — www.gesundheitpro.de/Erkältung.
However, the #3, #5, and #10 results utilize the transliterated “ae” spelling in the title – www.erkaeltung-online.de and www.netdoktor.de/krankheiten/fakta/erkaeltung.htm and www.aspirin.de/erkaeltung/index.html — which leads one to believe that it’s just as effective, in the European languages, to use the transliterated version of these characters in SEO-sensitive elements like the filename, title and description.
I’m not sure which conclusions this draws me to, but it’s data. Anyone have insight or suggestions?