Top 10 languages on the web by 2017

October 12, 2017 Elizar

Global Marketing will always lead any marketer to be immersed in multiple languages. Marketers will have to engage themselves in growth strategies in different countries. Languages will always play a critical part in developing these strategies. The analogy of being successful in Global Marketing is simple: more language the website supports the better its chances of gaining traffic from different countries. With the recent update in Local SEO priorities from Google, location is now an essential part of any digital marketing campaign. Language is one of the strongest indicators of Local SEO in the perspective of Global Marketing.

In this article we will know about the Top 10 Languages used in the Web with important details on how to harness these languages to their full potential.

Here are the Top 10 Languages based on a study by

top 10 languages on the web 2017
top 10 languages and their stats

Details for each Statistics

Internet Users by Languages

  • This number represents the internet users currently engage in websites that presents a specific language. This data runs up to June 2017.

Internet Penetration

  • Internet Penetration is the ratio between the total number of Internet users speaking a language and the total population estimate that speaks that specific language. The higher the percentage the more internet users are being brought in based on the population.

User Growth in Internet

  • The data is based on a collective information between 2000-2017. This number presents the internet user growth on a Year-over-Year basis. The higher the number the better the growth of the language in terms of use.

Internet Users per % of World

  • This is the ratio of Internet Users using the language in comparison to the total of Users regardless of language. This information is useful as they would be the reference on the priority languages to target for Global Marketing.

World Population for this Language


    Number of Users- 984,703,501

    Internet Penetration – 68.6%

    User Growth – 599.6%

Top Search Engine –

It’s no surprise that the English is the number 1 on the list of most used language on the web. With more than 50 English-speaking countries, almost 75% of all website content are made in English. Google is the main search engine that utilized by this language. Top countries that uses the English languages are the US, UK, and Australia. Marketing in these countries will not be that complicated in terms of language. Opportunities will also be vast when you target this language. Global Marketing is almost as set as the English language is. It is a must to have an English version of your website content and resources.


    Number of Users- 770,797,306

    Internet Penetration – 54.1 %

    User Growth – 2,286.1 %

Top Search Engine – Baidu

Chinese is number 2 on the list basically because of the sheer population of China. Having more than 1.3 Billion people, China holds the biggest Chinese-Speaking (Mandarin) population in the world. Taiwan and Singapore also considers the Chinese as their primary speaking language. Marketing through content in Chinese will be mostly done in Mandarin. There are other dialects used like Cantonese but to a lesser extent. Adding a Mandarin-language based content on your website would give your site access to the vast opportunity available for chinese. The user growth for Chinese-language websites is also worth looking at. Year-over-year this language experience a growth of over 2000%. This means that demand based on any business space will surely have a Chinese demand that would be significant to pursue in the years to come.

When choosing a to gain presence in China, learn how to optimize for Baidu is key to any Global Marketing campaign. You can learn more about Baidu and its search behavior through this guideline.


    Number of Users- 312,069,111

    Internet Penetration – 61.1%

    User Growth – 1,616.4 %

Top Search Engine – Google

Spanish is being spoke as a native language in 22 countries mostly in Europe and South America. Notably Spain and Mexico use this language in terms of population. Both countries have their own separate Google Search Engine Domain. ( and It would be best to optimize the website content for both domains. Location-based content and keywords is the key to success.


    Number of Users- 184,631,496

    Internet Penetration – 43.8 %

    User Growth – 7,247.3 %

Top Search Engine – Google

Arabic usage presents the highest User Growth Year-over-Year. This will tell you that business growth and reach is essentially the best in this region. Although the Internet penetration might be an off statistic for businesses, it would still be of great value to pursue an Arabic website if the business is essentially viable in the region. Google still dominates this language in terms of Search Engine but country based search engine domain are used for each country that uses this language. It would be wise to optimized by country to have a more targeted traffic for the business.


    Number of Users- 158,399,082

    Internet Penetration – 56.2 %

    User Growth – 1,990.8 %

Top Search Engine – Google

Some say that Portuguese is just a variation of the Spanish language. Portuguese is a language that originated in Portugal. It is also used as a main language in countries like Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola. Most of the countries that use this language have their own Google Domain. This is the trend that search engines use to promote local usage and isolation of search engine algorithms per country. Just like the recommendations for Arabic language use, it would be best to have a specific country to target in terms of the optimization.


    Number of Users- 157,580,091

    Internet Penetration – 53.4 %

    User Growth – 2,650.1 %

Top Search Engine – Google

Indonesia and Malaysia are geographically connected and thus their language somewhat collected and similar. The regional languages also hold much upside in terms of growth although internet penetration can be an issue. Harnessing these languages capacity for Global marketing will open any business in the Southeast Asian region. Google is still the dominant search engine in the part of the world. Optimizing for this search engine is a must.


    Number of Users- 118,453,595

    Internet Penetration – 94.0%

    User Growth – 151.6%

Top Search Engine – Google

The Japanese language is probably the most constricted language of all. People of Japan are so patriotic that their language has been preserved over the millennia. In terms of Global Marketing opportunity, the most striking stat to consider is its Internet Penetration. As a Global leader in technology and innovation, Japan is almost 100% in terms of connectivity. This means that their population is hook on the net in multiple devices. As a marketer, this information will give you an idea of the scope in marketing that you will need to consider. Top search engine for this language is still Google but Yahoo Japan hold a significant percentage of the traffic as well.


    Number of Users- 109,552,842

    Internet Penetration – 76.4 %

    User Growth – 3,434.0 %

Top Search Engine – Yandex

Russian-speaking countries might have been fewer as they were before but growth is still significant year-over-year. The language also pose a unique marketing opportunity as the region mainly uses Yandex as its search engine. It is entirely different and independent from Google and other big search engines. They have their own search guidelines and you can learn in through this link.


    Number of Users- 108,014,564

    Internet Penetration – 26.6 %

    User Growth – 800.2 %

Top Search Engine –

The French language is as exquisite as it is but few are able to adapt to it even on the online platforms. French website only accounts to 26.6% in terms of Internet penetration in its users. It would be wise to research more on the other languages that French-speaking people use on the web. is the top Search Engine used by the french people.


    Number of Users- 84,700,419

    Internet Penetration – 89.2 %

    User Growth – 207.8 %

Top Search Engine –


With almost 90% of internet penetration, German-speaking people ranks second in this category. As they are also one of the most innovative and advanced societies in the world, they have maximum reach in terms of promoting German-based content. is the top search engine in this region.

leave a comment

Real Street 9, Office 12 28991 Madrid, Spain [email protected] +34 918 160 238