Last week’s International Search Summit in Munich provided a wide range of in-depth quality sessions on international SEO, PPC and social media. Many of the recent developments and challenges that the international SEO community is currently facing were addressed at the summit – here are 10 key takeaways:
1. If you don’t already have a business presence on Google+, establish one
Google is cementing its position with all access points to the web increasingly becoming Google – a situation being termed “the rise of Googopoly” by the GlobalWebIndex. Chrome is now the leading browser in key growth markets such as India and Brazil, and Android is witnessing explosive growth and leads in almost all developed high value mobile markets. In addition, Google+ is already the second largest social network globally, and its importance for brands has only been propelled upwards by the heavy integration of Google+ in its search results. Appearing in the top SERPs on Google without a Google+ presence will become almost impossible.
2. Determine your target market’s level of brand interaction on social media before creating your social strategy
The GlobalWebIndex has identified four distinct tiers of consumer engagement with brands on social media. Their findings show that consumer expectations to brands vary according to country, with emerging markets expecting a significant higher level of commitment and interaction from brands than the early adopters of social media, who are generally more passive. Identifying the characteristics of your audience and their expectations to brands on social media is the cornerstone in developing your global social strategy.
3. Link building approaches differ between markets and industries; hence, understand each market individually and then decide on which strategy to pursue
Some countries and industries have a much higher ratio of money links to brand links. For example, according to Bastian Grimm, 76 percent of links to the top 10-ranking sites in Germany for the keyword “Poker” were money links, whereas in the U.S. money links only accounted for 30 percent of the total number of links when using the same keyword.
Obviously, there are several other factors which need to be taken into consideration, such as where links should be coming from, i.e. blogs, forums, directories etc. The key notion here is: What might work in one market may very well prove insufficient in another.
4. Integrate “the holy trinity”
Integration of content, SEO and social media is at the core of online success. There is nothing revolutionary about this statement, however, tying these areas together through a holistic approach is becoming increasingly important.
5. Online reputation management – Identify potential risks and goals and bank appropriate response content
While managing your online reputation has never been more complex, the importance of doing it surely exceeds its complexity. In this regard, peer to peer recommendations online is a key factor in 50 percent of purchase decisions, according to Tracy Falke. Reputation management strategies should be proactive by identifying potential risks and banking appropriate response content to prevent potential crises from escalating, thus minimising the chances of losing brand equity.
6. Use Russia’s leading search engine, Yandex, to claim your share of the growing Russian online market
The Russian online market will grow exponentially over the next couple of years and Yandex is the place where most Russian netizens go to. International marketers now have Yandex’s many advertising products available to them in English including PPC, bid management and web analytics tools.
7. Use canonical tags to combine same language and same content under one URL
Andy Atkins-Krueger has already posted an in-depth piece on John Mueller’s session about Google’s new language and country markup.
8. Use hreflang tags to separate same language, different content or different languages on different URLs (check out Andy’s article for further explanation)
9. Let users and not translators decide the keyword list and structure
Find your core keywords for any particular market and language and then set up a small campaign with these keywords in Broad Match. When there’s sufficient referrer data available to you, this can be used to refine and select keywords which have a closer match to the actual searches, ensuring a longer and more accurate long tail. The campaign can then be rolled out on a larger scale.
10. Test what can be most easily scaled between markets
Successful PPC campaigns always take local customs into consideration, however, hiring translators to find the right keywords and adapting everything will often prove a costly affair when targeting multiple markets. International marketers working on a tight budget should always try to identify areas which can be relatively easily replicated across different markets.
These are just some of the many great takeaways from ISS Munich. I’m sure I’ve missed out on quite a few, so please feel free to add in the comment box below.
Tickets are still available for the International Search Summit in London on 14th May where Pierre Far from Google and Bas van den Beld, among others, will be speaking.
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