Every year, my colleague John Yunker of ByteLevel research produces a comprehensive report on global websites. This year is no different. John released the 2017 Web Globalization Report Card this week. I have been following John, his thinking, and this report card for many years. I have found that John and I think alike in most aspects of global web development. When he puts a company on the Top 25 list, you can be sure that the company is one of the best when it comes to global web presence. Likewise, alas, companies that are on the bottom 25 are usually not performing well when it comes to global web content.

Who’s on the List?

As with all years, John included 150 global websites for evaluation and ranking on the list. Here are the names of all 150 companies that he included:

What Verticals are Represented?

This is quite an impressive list. The following verticals are represented in his sample:

Included in the sample are 30% of the Fortune 100 and 80% of the Interbrand Best Global Brands of 2017.

Scoring Criteria

The scoring is done using 4 equally-weighted categories, each worth 25 points:

  • Global Reach (Languages): Content is in the user’s native language.
  • Global Navigation: If a web user cannot find his or her localized website, the site may as well not exist.
  • Global/Mobile Architecture: A website design should be globally consistent yet flexible enough to allow for local content and functionality. In addition, the design must adapt to mobile devices and usage scenarios.
  • Localization & Social: Content should be localized for the user’s culture, country, and community.

2017 Top 25

Here is the list of the top 25 global companies, in order of ranking:

Prior Years’ Comparisons

I was wondering who fell off the list and who jumped on. So, here are the lists dating back to 2013:


It’s very interesting to look across the years and see who has consistently been scored high. Here are some things that stand out for me:

  • Google scored highest for all 5 years.
  • Facebook has been in the top 3 for all 5 years.
  • Hotels.com started high in 2013 and has fallen ever since.
  • NIVEA started in 10th place and has moved up over the years.
  • GoDaddy and Nissan make their first appearances in the top 25 this year.
  • Kahn Academy, ABB and TNT were one hit wonders, in the top 25 or just one year.
  • Kayak was ranked high in 2013 and 2014, but not since.

There are plenty of other interesting pieces of information on these 5 charts.

What’s New in 2017

Here are John’s notes that he includes with the 2017 Top 25 list:

  • Google is the only company to score above 90 points, retaining the top spot for another year.
  • Wikipedia is far and away the language leader, with content in more than 290 languages. The company also now supports a mobile-friendly layout that is considerably lighter (in kilobytes) than most Fortune 100 mobile websites.
  • IKEA returned to the list this year after making a welcome change to its global strategy.
  • Hotels.com and Booking.com remain closely matched in both languages and global gateway strategies. Both websites are worth studying for how they balance global gateways and ecommerce — allowing users to select not only their locale but also their currency.
  • Nissan made this list for the first time, having added languages and improving global consistency and navigation.
  • As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 54 languages (up from 52 last year)
  • GoDaddy, a new addition to the Report Card, wasted little time in making this list. Its global gateway is worth studying.
  • Luxury brands such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren continue to lag in web globalization — from poor support for languages to inadequate localization.
  • The average number of languages supported by all 150 global websites is now 31.
  • Stages of Development

Go Get a Copy

The entire report is about 380 well-researched, well-written pages. I highly recommend ordering a copy for yourself. There is also a bundle where you can get the report and a copy of each of John’s books. John’s books are required reading for anyone who is builds, manages, and creates content for global websites.

Val Swisher
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