Plataforma per la Llengua and nine other organisations have joined forces to promote the presence of Catalan in the digital world after detecting a few months ago that websites in Catalan have lost importance for search engines such as Google, which positions them below results in Spanish The organisations behind what has been called the Alliance for the digital presence of Catalan have identified several areas of the digital world where the presence of the language is not satisfactory, and they will work together to reverse this situation.
The Alliance, which was presented this morning at the headquarters of the .cat Foundation, consists of Amical Wikimedia, the Institute of Catalan Studies, the Ramon Llull Institute, Òmnium Cultural, Softcatalà, WICCAC, Obra Cultural Balearic and Acció Cultural del País Valencià, as well as Plataforma per la Llengua and the .cat Foundation, and is backed by the Government of Catalonia.
Coordinated by the .cat Foundation, and in particular the journalist Albert Cuesta, the organisations will share their expert knowledge and their ability to disseminate, prescribe and mobilise to act in eight specific areas requiring special attention: web content, mobile applications, social networks, audiovisual platforms, in-car applications, home appliances, voice assistants and artificial intelligence. In each of these areas, the Alliance will make a diagnosis of the situation, contact the public and private agents that determine the presence of the language in the specific area, propose improvement actions and monitor the development of the situation.
Although it has been founded in Catalonia, the Alliance is encouraging organisations from the other Catalan-speaking territories to join, and Obra Cultural Balear and the Associació Cultural del País Valencià already have. The Government of Catalonia has also invited its counterparts in other areas to get involved. Bringing efforts together is crucial to demonstrate that Catalan speakers make up a community of more than ten million people, who are therefore a market that companies must take into account. In this sense, the coordination of the different organisations must also be a catalyst to ensure Catalan secures a place on the Internet corresponding to its number of speakers.
Photograph of the representatives of the organisations behind the alliance (more photos here)
The first objective: to improve the positioning of websites in Catalan
The most immediate objective of the Alliance for the digital presence of Catalan is to resolve the deterioration in the positioning of Catalan websites in Internet search engines. This problem occurs even if the user has their browser configured in Catalan. It makes content in Catalan less visible, damaging both the creators and the consumers of content in Catalan, who have a more difficult job finding what they are looking for.
To solve this problem, the Alliance's first assignment from the Government of Catalonia is to create a device that quantifies the loss of visibility of Catalan in web searches over the last few months and is useful for demanding solutions from technology companies.
The .cat Foundation is in charge of making the initial report on the situation intended to provide firm evidence that there is an impact on search engines which means content in the language preferred by the user is positioned below the same content in other languages. To find out, the traffic data for websites offering content in Catalan and for websites that do so in other languages is being analysed and compared, and in a few days the Alliance will present its results to the Government.