SAScon 2012: Running a European Search Campaign
The first SAScon session is “Running a European search campaign” with:
Andy Atkins Kruger / GJ Bramer / Kristjan Mar Hauksson
Our takeaway points from the session can be found below:-
- Some stats on global internet usage: http://internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
- If you’re an English company that goes global, make sure you cater for the new audience with specific content. The “About us” page has proven to be one of the key pages viewed by users before converting. It needs to reflect the culture of the audience that you’re targeting – it’s no use being generic about your English division. A bad “About” page can kill conversion
- Why do people fail in Germany? The German opinion is that they’re very successful and have everything they need already. Why would they want to buy from an English company entering the market? It’s crowded enough already
Planning Global SEO Rollout
- There are so many cultural differences when moving into new markets. Enlist the help of a regional SEO company if you’re moving into a new market. There’s only so much research you can do externally, you need local knowledge.
- Don’t ever just directly translate keywords. Do full research to understand how people search in each region.
- People need to consider countries with multiple languages. When people move into Spain, they target Spanish typically, but miss out a big opportunity from Catalan speakers.
- Be careful with direct translations of content. When Google translated “Do you feel lucky?” in Iceland, it came out directly as “Do you want to be frozen?”.
- If you’re designing a website template, don’t just assume that the same layout, colours and design will work perfectly well cross-region. Americans love the colour Blue, but Chinese hate it. Consider the cultures.
- Not just standard words, think about numbers. Some of the biggest sites in China use numbers predominantly as it’s easier for people to use these over the symbols.
- Don’t just assume a product will work across all regions. For example a white teeth product may fail completely in some regions (example given of a region that eat a certain fruit to get black teeth – they don’t want white teeth)
- Consider technical elements of a website. Some regions read right-to-left, and elements like date pickers for flight searches can fail completely if they don’t work right-to-left for the specific regions
Targeting New Regions
- How much of your English-language content to translate for a new region? There’s no set answer. It depends on how big you want to grow. If you’re serious about it, commit fully with a website that appropriately targets the region.
- It’s not enough just putting a few language-specific pages up to target a new region. You need to think about the language of your booking process, your help pages, and anything else that might be relevant.
- For ecommerce, think about payment options. PayPal isn’t used worldwide, so don’t assume everybody uses it. The Dutch use “Ideal” and prefer this over credit card payments. Research how different regions transact online.
- Links / ccTLDs / Language – key considerations for geotargeting
- Yahoo’s concept of region was as follows – language (strongest), inbound links (regional specific), ccTLD (localised) and IP and hosting (not necessarily so important any more)
- JohnMu from Google recently said the biggest priority is local domains. If you have a generic domain then geotargeting in Webmaster Tools is a must.
- Bing? Follow the same recommendations as you would for Google. They don’t have geotargeting in Webmaster Tools, but focus on local languages and inbound links. Bing takes social signals into account more than Google at the moment.