International Search Summit: SEO – live blogging 19 November 2009

It’s nearly time for the next International Search Summit hosted by WebCertain – this time with a focus on international SEO strategies.

Visit the International Search Summit website for full details of the speakers, who include Bill Hunt, Massimo Burgio, Dixon Jones, Kristjan Mar Hauksson and Motoko Hunt.

Topics include; Global Search Strategies, Brand Reputation Management and How to Target Key Latin American Markets.

We will be live blogging from here all day, so bookmark this page and keep on pressing F5…

If you are on Twitter, you can also follow events from the day by following @IntSearchSummit, @webcertaicn and #isslon.

9.00am Welcome and Introduction from Andy Atkins-Krüger – WebCertain

Andy introduces to the event and tells us that we will hear from the most important speakers in international SEO.

He also warns us to listen out for the fire alarm as it catches us out every year!   And switftly over to Bill Hunt who produces great stats even before I’ve managed to set up my wi-fi connection…

9.15 Global Search Strategies – Bill Hunt – Back Azimuth Consulting 
Search Marketing coupled with the global access offered via search engines brings significant opportunity for marketers who take time to understand the market then deploy search programs that allow them to connect directly with consumers in their language.

 Bill points out that 60 per cent of Google searches come from outside the US.  People who translate keywords rather than research them should be sent to keyword jail!

Bu many companies have infrastructure problems that make it difficult to manage properly localised SEO campaigns…

IBM proved to be a great case study, by fixing issues that were causing the spiders to be “trapped” within a month they were ranking for over 80pc of their top search phrases on the 1st page – worldwide.

 Increasing use of IP detection by the search engines (i.e selecting local content) is making it even more difficult for large international companies.  Have you written your meta tags correctly?  For Japanese, content-language= ja – not jp as you might think.  Also, don’t just put en for English – which version of English are you talking about?

Bill mentions people linking to the Google translated results of content on their sites – then asking him to help them to rank for it!  There’s a very common problem where people translate on-page content, but forget to update the meta data.

 Talking about different types of translation.  I chuckle when Bill bluntly says “… and there’s machine translation, but I won’t even go there…”

 ”Search is the only team has to be nice to everyone” -  not sure I really agree with that…but Bil is right to point out that SEO teams need to be well-integrated with other teams.

Final recommendation from Bill – reach out and communicate with others – it will make your life a lot easier and your campaigns more effective.

9.45 Beyond Blue Links: key consumer insights that have shaped Microsoft’s search strategies and the development of Bing. Peter Maxim from Bing

Badda bing!  (sorry, I couldn’t resist..)

Microsoft have discovered that the average search process last 2 days to be completed.

 Only one in four search queries result in success.  People increasingly searching for tasks rather than queries.  Two-thirds of people say they are more likely to let a search engine make a decision for them than last year. NB – search engines weren’t designed to be decision engines.

Peter then previewed several new features of Bing that have been designed to be supremely user-friendly.  It strikes me that all these deep links, options to do site searches directly from the search engines are designed to keep people away from these beautifully optimised websites.

 Back (after lunch and wifi/laptop problems)

10.50 International Keyword Research – Andy Atkins-Krüger – WebCertain
Here is Andy again on one of his specialist subjects.  Far too many people think international keywords can be translated, rather than researched – that’s a terrible idea.  Bill’s idea about keyword jail is popular with him.  For starters, lots of words do not literally translate, or the literal translation isn’t used.  You have to use the phrases people are searching for!  It seems obvious in English – so why not in other languages… For example “l’auto assurance” is the French translation of “car insurance” but is never used in France [Shouldn't Google update their translation bot to feature actual words that people search for?]

The Russian term for “to erupt” has 166 variations.  This is why Yandex exists – it is an engine designed to cope with this linguisitc challenge.

Mis-spelling behaviour varies from language to language. Andy’s research revealed that the Germans tend to spell searches correctly, but with ongoing research it more than possible to predict mis-spellings.

11.10 The International Challenges of Local Search – Will Critchlow – Distilled
Local search is growing in importance with the increasing prevalence of the one-box and ten-pack.
Do marketers  do enough with local search?  Particularly if they are managing a range of international campaigns, they might not understand the opportunities and challenges…

Andy’s presentation can be summed up as “words are different in different languages”, cracked Will.

When it comes to local search, Google is not necessarily the good guy – they can make things very difficult for you.

Will’s excellent and detailed presentation explained the massive opportunities of local search, the least understood and discussed universal search content.  Basically, own your own local listings – otherwise you could become the victim of spammers.

11.30 Universal Search and Digital Asset Optimisation – Anne Kennedy – Beyond InkThe Big Three search engines provide results that deliver searchers closer to what they seek. How have universal search results changed SERPs and searcher behaviour?
You remember that time don’t you, before everyone started obsessing about Social Media?  Well, Universal Search was the big story in search  before the social buzz…
Universal Search results are established in the top 10 now and offer lots of fresh optimisation opportunities – they also throw up some strange variations in rankings.

Anne’s examples showed that universal search listings (especially video) have a really long shelf life in the rankings.  They are getting Google love.  We’ve also noticed that.  Some videos we shot of the team at WebCertain two years ago are still ijin the top 10 SERPs for WebCertain.

Also the latest evidence from www.enquiro.com confirms that universal search has really transformed search behviour.

11.50 Brand Reputation Management: An Italian Case History – Massimo Burgio-  Global Search Strategies
Yeay Massimo!  His presentation was a RIOT last year and he always has the most dramatic presentations.  The key to his case study was that he has built a reputation management tool, based on RSS and WordPress.  This tool grabs information from a range of sources and they score the data as positive or negative.

LUNCH

1.30 Panel Debate – Link Building – What is the best type of Link?
Sponsored by Receptional
Panelists: Alex Chudnovsky – Founder of MajesticSEO and Andy Langton – CTO Receptional
Moderator: Dixon Jones

Paid links?  Google are undoubtedly aware of far more paid links than they take action on.  In some sectors, all your competitors will be paying for links so if you don’t do the same you will be left behind.  Dixon spoke to a casino company in Las Vegas who spend over £40,000 a month on links.


2.00 Advanced link analysis using MajesticSEO – Dixon Jones – Receptional

Dixon with his other hat on, as MD of MajesticSEO which has over 1.1 trillion links in the database.

It’s very important to look at referring domain history for the bigger picture. The database includes links that have been removed, brand mentions, links from images etc.

Filter your data before starting analysis. Dixon thinks “link reclamation” is the coolest trick in the box and he’s pretty convincing.

 
2.25 Using Online PR for Links – Kristjan Mar Hauksson – Nordic eMarketing

There are no such things as bad links…

Don’t spam – write several versions (agreed), dont spam links.

Kristjan used a Lonely Planet top 10 guide as a PR for his client IcelandAir.

More audaciously, news that Barack Obama was going to visit Denmark, prompted his friend to invite the president to his restaurant – overnight generated a buzz, with around 400 new links from quality sites generated.

Summary – online PR is low-cost, fun and effective (in my day job I am the PR Manager for WebCertain).

 Ooh – people seem interested in this strategy and asking for recommendations on sites to publish news on.  Also – how to reach out to bloggers.

 2.45 Search in Japan – Motoko Hunt – AJPR and Koichiro Fukasawa – Wasabi

Multilingual-Search’s very own Japanese news editor Motoko Hunt takes to the stage for a session focussing on Japanese search.
Isn’t it strange that Japan, a country with a large number of sophisticated online consumers, cultural and linguistic uniqueness hardly ever gets discussed.
Search is different in Japan – let’s find out how…

Motoko tells us that internet penetration and broadband usage is very, very high.  Yahoo! is the biggest Japanese search engine (53%), but Google is really catching up.  Mixi, Gree and MbgaTown are the biggest.  All accessible by mobile phone.

There are no spaces between words in Japanese, so it can be difficult for the search engines to understand keywords.  Add to that the complexity of having 4 different alphabets on the go – this is why you will need a Japanese native speaker with a good understanding of search engines!

Koichiro moves onto mobile – a massive 80% of the Japanese population have mobiles and 90% use mobile web regularly.  Mobiles are used routinely for paying for things (even burgers!) and people watch TV on their mobiles too.

Afternoon coffe break!

3.45 Optimising for Baidu – Ching-Yun Huang – WebCertain
And here is my colleague Ching giving us an important insight into optimising for the top Chinese search engine

We threatened to do a Mexican wave for her but it didn’t put her off.  There are lots of misconceptions about Chinese search – mostly that people (and Google) are unclear about the difference between Simplified and Traditional Chinese.  Baidu (which means 100,0000 times) understands that and gives much more relevant results than Google.

The principles of optimisation are pretty much the same – and you can use Baidu’s keyword research tools to get the best keywords.

 4.05 Search in Holland – Bas van den Beld – Searchcowboys.com
How well do you know the Dutch market?  The Netherlands has one of the highest internet usages per capita in the world.  It can be forgotten when marketers launch FIGS campaigns.

 To market well in the Netherlands?  Get to know the Dutch!

85% of the Dutch are online.  The Dutch are very diverse.  “Poldermodel” – everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks they are right!  Also as a nation, very international in outlook and likely to be multilingual.  Hyves is the biggest Dutch social network.  It’s important to have interactive elements on websites – the Dutch like to complain!  (These are Bas’ words not mine…)

4.25 How to Target Key Latin American Markets – Ana Leckenby – WebCertain
Latin America is increasingly being identified a key market area – but it’s also a huge area! There are linguistic pitfalls, it’s easy to overlook the influence from North America and major countries (such as Brazil) have very different search behaviour – look at the popularity of Orkut in favour of Facebook.  My colleague Ana is your guide to the Latin American markets.

Spanish is the 3rd most spoken language in the world, followed by Portuguese – largely due to Latin America.

One of the myths about Latin America is that it is under-developed with dusty towns – the glittering gallery Ana showed dispelled that myth.

There has been 800% growth in internet growth since 2000.  One prediction is that Mexico will overtake the UK in terms of internet penetration by 2012.

 LatAm Social media – Hi5 – very popular, similar to Facebook in terms of features.

75% don’t understand the difference between organic and paid search results.  Key challenges:  payment methods, education (within businesses), costs, understanding performance – many sites are not even using analytics.

4.45 Managing Websites Across Multiple Markets – David Sowerby – Straker Software

Looking at the challenges for translators dealing with a multi-language website.

The world is changing – now more focus on developing economies, Russia, APAC particularly.

The volume of content has increased expidentially, along with the speed of delivery.   This creates new challenges for translators who are managing and producing this content.  Traditionally the hub of the content has been English, now we are realistically seeing Spanish to Japanese content conversion.

 Enable automation wherever possible, workflows must be flexible, bring translators as close to the content as possible.

 

 

 

 

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