The International Search Summit Munich on 4 April covered a wide range of search topics – from in-house international PPC, to video optimisation, from display advertising to international SEO fundamentals, from search in Russia to international link building.
There were a lot of tips and tricks to come out of the day and I have summarised some of the key takeaways below:
1. Research your markets. This might sound obvious, but it is essential to conduct thorough research into your potential target markets to identify any possible obstacles and avoid wasting money. And do not try to crack every market at once, start with one or two markets and then build your international presence from there.
2. Just because an agency is well-known and has a presence in many markets, does not mean that each local office has the same level of competency and knowledge. Test your agency in advance and verify that it has the relevant expertise to do your campaign justice in each target market.
3. The best sources for links will vary from country to country. In the US for example, Social Media sites provide great link opportunities however these have much less value in other markets such as Germany. In France, article directories work well for building links, but these just do not exist in Poland.
4. Interlinking your sites is a great way of driving more links – however, do not simply link just to the root domain but connect equivalent pages on your different country sites to develop deep links on the site, as well as a more relevant user experience.
5. Display is on the rise. In the Middle East, for example, many users spend a lot of time on news sites/portals/ special interest sites where display has a great impact, yet search volumes in many countries in the region can be quite low. Different audiences use the web in different ways.
6. Russia is a huge country – with 83 federal regions and180 ethnic groups. At the moment the majority of Russian web users are in the major cities – so target your marketing efforts at cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg, at least to begin with.
7. E-commerce in Russia is still very different to in Western markets. Although more Russians are using the web to research purchases and buying online using a credit card is becoming more common, the majority of Russian users still prefer to buy offline, or at least make an offline payment for goods ordered online. It is essential to be aware of the purchase preferences of your target market and offer the facilities to accommodate them.
8. User-generated content is an excellent way to create unique content in multiple languages. It generates regular updates which will assist search engine rankings, as well as increasing the number of local links, as they come from local users. However – be aware of spam and cloned content.
9. By their nature, videos are able to tap into the emotional side of the brain which enables brands to engage with their audiences on an emotional level. Brands should be innovative and creative with video marketing in order to maximise this potential.
10. Plan video production carefully, to make it as easy as possible to adapt it for multiple markets – e.g. do not have talking heads in shot as it just will not work if you want to dub the video in other languages.
11. “Be local”. This point was reiterated in almost every presentation. You need to understand the local market you are targeting and tailor all of your communications to be relevant to users/customers in that market.
The next International Search Summits will take place at SMX Advanced in London on 18 May and SMX Advanced Seattle on 9 June. Registration is open for both events and full details can be found at http://www.internationalsearchsummit.com
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