I was a bit late getting to the conference, but I made it here for the second track. I decided to attend a new session named European Search Landscape. Here are my notes, please excuse any typos, this was done in real time.
Stefan Forsberg discussed some statistics relevant to the European market. - 77.4 million users of search engines per month in Europe - 2003 to 2004 you will see a 19% growth in search usage - Google, MSN, and Yahoo are the major engines in the UK, but Yahoo is number 8 in Sweden - Sweden is also lacking behind in search usage compared to the European market. - Sweden is growing faster then france, Italy and the other European countries - 57% of Sweden search users are male (expect an increase in female usage soon) - A popular local search is named enrio - 90% of search users are satisfied with the results (yahoo, google, msn) measured in the US market - 77% of users in the UK use sponsored links
Massimo Burgio from ad maiora was up next. He spoke at the San Jose conference in 2004. He discusses the pros and cons of Europe being a growing market. The cons included unethical practices and bad business practices. But there is a lot of push towards paid search, not really on the organic side. He said that Google and Overture (and others) are staffing the paid search departments with local people who speak the local language. Big brands in the European market are "fully aware of the potential of our industry", not so in the US market. The local competitive market varies, some countries you find friendly collaborative business environments and in some countries you find fierce competition. He briefly then touched on the different cultures in Europe and how it affects how SEO firms operate.
Per Koch from Pandia Search was next up, he started off in some language (maybe Swedish?) but then went to english. He discusses the difference between "search sites" and the companies that power the search sites. His first slide started off reading "Search engine optimisation with an "s"". He says the major search engines that power the search are Google and Yahoo and in Britain add Ask Jeeves. He then moves into the language component; selecting keywords, colors used on the pages, letters differ, etc. He then goes into some search usage based on France data. An other search engine that you do not see in the US is Voila, which powers 6% of the French market. Poland is growing, and Google is taking over the market that was once held by Onet.ol (not at 22%).
Steven Taylor the European Overture representative here. He echo's everyone else's claims about the European market growing. (1) Scale; Overture is the largest internet advertising business in the world. This enables Overture to innovate and role out new products quickly. Overture has a large reach, he said "like 80%" to this market. They are also able to see the differences of search usage between the different sites, "diversity of search traffic" (yahoo vs. AV vs. MSN, etc.) (2) Management Structure; they have people here in 12 European markets to work with the local community. (3) Putting them all together (i.e. #1 and #2).
Fabio Selmoni from Google said he will cut his short, since most of what he was suppose to say, was said by the people before him. He started off saying that Google is first most a search engine, a technology company. Google is only successful if their end users are happy. Google has over 55 million unique users. They have 12 physical offices in Europe and they are in the process of making a Scandinavian office shortly. He discusses the Google network, T-Online, Ask Jeeves in the UK and an other 100+. He then gives a few simple rules; (1) make sure the campaign is relevant, (2) take advantage of the targeting opportunities (local, regional, etc,) and (3) keep in mind, no one gets it right the first time.
Q & A: Q: When will Overture & Google allow for geo-targeting in the European market? A: Early 2005 for Overture, Google says the same but they have been beta testing it.
Q: The next question went into the trademark issue with bidding on trademark names. A person from Hilton asked how do we control the usage of these words? A: Google said is has been a challenge, they ask trademark owners to let them know. Google needs the direct involvement from the trademark owners. Overture said that they operate a lot like Google with this in the European market.