20 Actionable Takeaways from International Search Summit (SMX) London 2012

PushON | May 22nd 2012

Last week I attended International Search Summit in London, as part of the 3 day SMX programme. Below is a summary of 20 actionable takeaways from the sessions throughout the day.

1. Use image search whilst doing multi-lingual keyword research – This was a tactic I found particularly helpful during a recent project, and it’s a much easier way to “sanity check” keywords in different languages.

2. Use numbers in your SERP listings – “we are the 1st company in our sector to…”, “we stock x amount of products…”. Users like these.

3. Improve your “trustworthiness” with logos – Use accreditations, awards, qualifications and authoritative symbols on your website (e.g. the FDA logo). BUT, be careful of rolling these out cross-region (the FDA one isn’t relevant in Germany).

Andy Atkins-Kruger, WebCertain

4. Consider universal search elements when targeting Baidu – They partnered with Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter, but 2 and a half times bigger) to integrate social into SERPs, and have significantly more integrated data than Google (i.e. flight times/travel information). It’s more than just standard blue links.

5. Optimise for both Yandex and Google in Russia – Google launched it’s first offline market campaign in Russia, and is building presence through G+ and Android. Yandex lost 6% market share in the past year, with Google’s share now 25.7%.

Gemma Birch / Immanuel Simonsen, WebCertain

6. Work on your ZMOT strategy – Consumers don’t just buy straight away anymore, they research and plan. Find out where your potential user base is hanging out, and being influenced by, and have a positive presence there. I would also highly recommend checking out the free PDF on ZMOT over at: Zero Moment of Truth.

7. Own the SERPs for your brand by promoting other sites – Is there another website that has a great review/page about your product/business? Build links to that page with your branded anchor text – push up the positivity.

Nick Garner, Unibet

8. Use href-lang to signify to Google equivalent pages cross-region – This isn’t to specify exact copies, but equivalents in different languages. Have a “support” page in a different language? Href-lang would be perfect for this.

9. Use href-lang for multiple languages in a single country – This can be used to serve language-relevant content to foreign-searchers in specific countries (i.e. Arabic searches from the UK).

Pierre Farr, Google

10. Target Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco in the Middle East – These are the biggest markets from a search perspective.

11. Reinforce trustworthiness in Arab countries – Similar to the point Andy Atkins-Kruger made, people will do a lot of researching from Arab countries, but are very hesitant to buy online. Travel queries in the Middle East are outpacing the UK (+33% YoY from 2010), however online sales are significantly less.

Lee Mancini, Sekari

12. Stop shouting at people; start a social conversation – People don’t care what you say about your own product – it’s your product, of course you will say it’s good. They will trust what other people say in reviews and recommendations. Encourage these types of conversations, with brand advocates.

13. Don’t target the end user, target their hairdresser – A good analogy from Bas, explaining that hairdressers are the types of people to share recommendations and reviews of places. Find out where your potential user base are being influenced, and make sure you have a positive presence (ties back in to what Nick was saying about ZMOT).

Bas van den Beld, State of Search

14. Optimise your Google Places listings – 1 in 5 search queries have local intent, and 20% of all Google queries are related to local search. The rise in mobile is making local presence much more important, and you need to have a Places account as an absolute minimum. Encourage reviews too, with 5 being the ‘magic number’ to help push your listing higher in the results.

15. Use Google’s new bulk upload tool – Managing multiple (10+) Google Places listings was once very difficult and time-consuming, but the new tool makes things easier. The support documentation for bulk listings has also been updated.

Lisa Mayers, Verve Search

16. Carry out regular reviews of your link profile – Sometimes you may get a great link, then that same page could start linking to 50 spammy websites in a month’s time. Make sure you conduct regular reviews of the links you’ve established.

17. Use a .de domain if you’re targeting Germany – Most big brands use .de domains, and German people like to buy from websites that are seen as being German. They are paranoid of foreign marketers promoting products in Germany.

18. Use hyphens in domain names for Germany – German people don’t like it when multiple words are used all in a single domain name. Taking the International Search Summit website as an example, this would look like the following if it was best-targeting the German market:

19. Don’t assume Germany is an easy market to enter – People make the mistake of entering the German market as it’s a big European city, and is seen as easy. It’s extremely competitive (similar to the UK), and an analysis showed a single domain will rank for less in Germany than it will in Italy, France or Spain.

20. Avoid on-page spammy tactics to entice German users – Apparently the most spam reports are filed via the search results in Germany than any other country. Users are quick to report websites if they aren’t quality.

Andre Alpar, AKM3