Immanuel Simonsen

International SEO, PPC And Social Media: Top 10 Tips From ISS Munich

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.

Immanuel Simonsen

Immanuel Simonsen

Research Manager at Webcertain
As the Research Manager of multilingual web marketing agency Webcertain, Immanuel heads up the company’s global market research activities and large content marketing projects. He is the author of several reports and guides, including ‘The Essential Guide to Rel-Alternate-Hreflang’ and ‘The Webcertain Global Search and Social Report 2013’. Apart from being a tutor at the International Marketing School -- teaching online marketing professionals on business opportunities around the globe -- Immanuel is a regular speaker at the International Search Summit, a leading event series dedicated to multilingual search and social media marketing.

12 Responses to International SEO, PPC And Social Media: Top 10 Tips From ISS Munich

  1. Pingback: Global Insights Into Consumer Expectations Towards Brands On Social Networks | multilingual search

  2. Jake Gardner says:

    When it comes to ORM, you definitely have to be careful. Often people are paying hundreds of dollars a month to a company to do what they could accomplish themselves through a tool like Repumatic.

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  6. Robert Clark says:

    This was a great read! Every point I thought of something I wanted to comment on lol. So I don’t write a book, I’ll just say thanks for the tip on Yandex, I had never even heard of it before.

  7. @Robert Clark: Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you liked it.

  8. @SN: Thanks for your comment. If you’re targeting consumers or businesses in the US or India it wouldn’t make much sense to use Yandex’s advertising platforms since practically nobody uses Yandex in those markets. Google is by far the biggest player in both India and the US, so I’d recommend you spend your energy there.

  9. SN says:

    All the points are well said. However #6 doesn’t apply to a business targeting to US or India! Right?

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