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Bastian Grimm on international SEO and schema.org: ISS London interview

bstian-grimmAt the International Search Summit London next week,  Bastian Grimm will be tackling the topic of schema.org and discussing its international implementation and benefits. In a preview to the event, he gives us some insight into what he will be speaking about and why it is important for international marketers to utilise schema.org effectively.

Bastian, what role is schema.org playing in international SEO? How is it changing things?

One of the most important things is that – especially for Google – schema.org does make things so much easier for them… back in the days they actually had to parse and match particular excerpts from any given site. Take zip codes for example: They are totally different per country, even just German zip-codes can be just five digits long or contain a prepended “D-“; if you would have to build and maintain multiple patterns for a single item per country and language, this is not scaling so well. With schema.org on the other hand it is pretty simple: A pre-defined structure, easily scalable (as well as extendable) which allows search engines to actually understand each and every item. And surely it also enables them to potentially weight items differently from each other – on a per query basis. To put things straight: For search engines it is a major win! They can gather way more detailed info with a lot less effort.

Are there major differences in the way it is being implemented across different markets?

Together with the guys from Searchmetrics (a big thanks to my buddy Marcus Tober!) we have been compiling a lot of data – which I will be bringing exclusively to ISS London – and what we found is that their definitely are differences. So we are trying to get a feeling on how schema.org is used per country, what the most popular implementations are, how many queries actually do return schema.org enriched results and much more. Let me put it this way: You should not miss ISS this year!

You are travelling the world a lot at the moment. On your travels, are there any particular differences that you have noticed between search in different countries?

That is true – I was luckily able to spend a lot of time in Singapore, Thailand, Australia as well as New Zealand. One thing I found to be pretty remarkable is just how pretty damn good Google is with their geo-targeting stuff: Having set google.de as my start-page I had been, depending on where I was, redirected to “another” Google (without really noticing) plus they changed my default language to English. I mean do not get me wrong: Google does this stuff for years (and it is nothing really new) but this really stood out to me; No matter where I was, I just found the stuff I was looking for – including the proper local results (like restaurants, tourist spots, etc.) which does not work well if you are not on the proper geo version of Google.

Why attend the International Search Summit?

The thing I always liked about ISS is really the focus on all things international: Right now there are a lot of different conferences out there – however ISS is the only one purely dedicated to international search. In my opinion it is a must-attend event if you are working in more than a single country since especially mission-critical topics like localization, geo targeting, etc. are always part of ISS. So I am really looking forward to this year’s London-edition!

ISS is taking place as part of SMX London at Chelsea Football Club on Tuesday 14th May. There is still time to book your place! Register and save 15% on your pass with the discount code ISSEB.

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Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over ten years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programmes Webcertain's International Search Summit, a search marketing conference focusing on international and multilingual online marketing which runs across Europe and the US. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

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