Why IDN domain name are still not a good idea..
A client ask us to buy a Domain name in foreign languages it's mean not in Latin letter.
He heard that it's good for Google and SEO technics so he wanted to make it the primary domain of his website.
So we checked on the net and we have explain him why International Domain Names (IDN) wasn't a good idea.
First of all, you have to consider two kinds of "Foreign Letter" Domain name.
1/ For example, some companies sell Full hebrew domain names, (משל.קום)
You have to know that this kind is not accredited by the ICANN , so we will not speak more on it, it's just a stupid stuff.
2/ The other kind of Domain name, is the official IDN accredited by the INCANN. For example in Hebrew IDN you have the famous איקאה.com (IKEA in hebrew).
Now, here the list of the bad point of this IDN.
a- THE IDN ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY INTERNET EXPLORER 6
This is the BIG problem. When you try to go those website with IE6, you will have an error. They tried to make a pluggin to fix it, but a Website is not just for you, it's the web for WORLD WIDE, and your clients will never download this; they will just close your link and go to your first concurrent link.
b- THE IDN ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY INTERNET EXPLORER 6
In IE7 it's OK but not IE6. For our Israeli clients, you have to know that in Israel, MOST of israeli people still using IE6. (this is another subject, that for example MAC user can't use the bank services of Leumi.co.il or Orange.co.il because Leumi (or Orange, and the list is long) didn't developed their website for Firefox or Safari.)
Yes it's a fact: Most of Israeli people Use only IE (So website owner didn't pain to make their website Cross-Browser friendly).
The second point is that just few companies upgraded to Windows Vista, so just few people surf on the net with IE7.
c- THE IDN ARE NOT in Latin letters
Sure, this is the point ;-) But the problem is that in fact, without implementing Chinese at the OS level, having the browser be able to resolve the characters in a URL is useless.
Even if the browser can resolve the Chinese characters, "I" can not read or write Chinese and would not click a link or enter a url with a Chinese idn domain...
d- THE REAL IDN is just a code
Yes, to be "readable" by other, the IDN is translating into a code. For example, the domain:
is translate (in firefox) by: http://www.xn--4dbams4e.com
Just that. So it's very strange and sure, that is not User friendly.
e- THE IDN is not LOCAL
Why use an hebrew domain name? For local customers?! So why we can't buy an IDN with our country code?
It's mean, why we can't use instead of http://www.איקאה.com, the local domain: http://www.איקאה.co.il for Israel?
Because it's not make for real Local business, it's just make for fun.
So don't believe any SEO specialist, if they tell you to put an IDN for your primary domain.
And remember, the first law of SEO and Google algorithm is:
"Make your website clear, user friendly, and ACCESSIBLE FOR EVERYBODY."