Chris Sherman introduces the session with a quick summary and welcomes Massimo Burgio from Ad Maiora.
Massimo starts speaking in some foreign language, to make a point (which I expect he will get to). European market consists of 25 countries, where there are 20 official EC languages. Europe is an active and major portion of the internet population. Search queries with european languages are 1/3 of all searches. Searches per search engine users are the highest in the UK. Europe is a very complicated market. In Europe there are some major local search properties; such as Virgilio, Wanadoo, T-Online, Terra Network, Spray and more. If you are doing SEM in Europe, you must look at the local engines. The UK is the most active market in terms of SEM/SEO services, search adverting spending is 33% (average is 10%), rising stars in the European area are Poland and Scandinavian countries. IAB/EIAA, Jupiter, and SEMPO are all very active in Europe. Many independent search events are also taking place (funny, there was a typo on the slide but that is ok, its a European session, not US session). He did not want to get into the technical side.
He then gives us a little case study on Wyndham hotels. The target countries include; Italy, France, Germany, Spain. But the .com Web site was only in English. PPC networks such as Google, Overture and Espotting were used. They saw that only traffic was coming from Google. The ad editors' specs change over time and are not the same from country to country. So they began building specific ads and landing pages for each specific country. They are in the process of building vertical micro site for his country. He collected some nice data on what types of locations people from Europe (broken down by country) would like to travel to.
Bill Hunt from IBM was next up. He manages IBM's worldwide strategy for search. IBM has 83 localized language versions of its site representing 31 countries. He has developed a clear management system for SEM, this way they make sure to apply the same things in every market (just fined tuned for each market). Common problems with international SEM include; (1) all the problems faced in the US in English, (2) Not thinking like the consumer in the market, (3) Poor quality translations typically not optimized, (4) Lack of centralized approach, vision and support, (5) Lack of resources - people and money, (6) faulty or no keyword research in local language, (7) multiple simultaneous campaigns - partners & affiliates, and (8) poor or inefficient navigation to and from country sites.
The Global SEM process: Market Research -> E-commerce Strategy -> Strategy -> Conduct keyword Research -> Localization -> Optimization -> Measure
Barrier # 1: Local market search engines restrict pages to those with local languages or local top level domain, 90% of Europeans use the local languages version of the search engines.
The US centric Google.com brings up IBM as the first result for "ibm thinkpad", the second tab they picked (i think german language) brought up the wrong german page, the third tab was german located pages only which requires you to have a site that lives in germany or the domain suffix must be .de.
Removing Location & Language Barriers: - Use correct meta language tags (html lang="de") and (meta http-equiv="Content...) - Use local domains (i.e. .de, .fr, .co.uk), they can be hosted in the US and at least a few pages on the local market domain
Barrier # 3: Cheap translation is just that...cheap. Translators are not good optimizers (mostly). Many translators do not use the internet often. Few translators don't understand keyword research. Translation tools typically kill current optimization efforts. And None of the major localization firms currently use keyword research as part of their glossary development or translation process.
Barrier # 4: Keyword variations and mapping.
Harrison Magun from eONmedia was up first and will be focusing on PPC in Europe. Why do Americans go to Europe? (1) Drink Beer, (2) Take Pictures, (3) To Be with other Americans who like to take pictures and drink beer. :) But really: (1) increase distribution, (2) competitive advantages, (3) first mover opps, (4) leverage foreign exchange and regional pricing advantages. Two main goals to increase sales and profits.
190 Million US internet users versus about 170 European internet users. Market growth in Europe is much higher then in the US.
What kinds of companies should market in Europe? (1) Downloadable applications do not require shipping, (2) Hotel and air, (3) Fragrance and Beauty, (4) Media, and (5) B2B/Wholesale. Who should not? (1) Restricted products, (2) Consumer electronics, (3) Automotive, (4) Online/Offline education, (5) Leads for US based services (credit cards, mortgages, etc.).
Linguistic and regional elements are huge. (1) Make sure the ads are relevant, (2) the landing pages as well, (3) translation site (merchandising and pricing, fulfillment and CRM), (4) Competitive strength and weakness versus regional.
Effective AdWords listings from a foreign company in the US, "russian souvenirs" brought up "Russian Unique Doll" with the description on a Russian Doll Bottle Holder. Brought up a funny product which had nothing to do with the search, (or did it?). Effective site for the US work the same way, he brought up a very funny example of a European company's language into English.
Q & A:
They had special Q & A people on the panel: (1) Peter Celeste from Overture and he is into launching new markets, to work with the current markets to help accelerate revenue, and they have a new team to help US based companies go Europe. (2) Tor Crockatt from Espotting was on the panel to help the SEMs get to Europe by helping you localize your marketing efforts. And (3) Derek Preston from Marago the European search engine.
Q: How do you work around having multiple languages on a single page? A: Bill responded they have a rule that they do not put more then one languages. But the search engines do put weight to the dominate language on the page and the tag. A problem IBM has is with support content in China where the customers do not want translated support content because they are not 100% confident in the accuracy, so ranking those pages are hard.
Q: Question is to Peter from Overture, he was wondering how many US companies are going Europe. A: Peter said many are. Bill adds that many large companies are moving in that direction. Sessions like these keep getting larger and larger.
Q: How is it best to manage content? A: IBM uses 14 different CMSs in its organization. Depends on the organization side and needs...
Q: Do you have keyword research tools for this industry? A: Espotting has a few tools that allow you to do this over multiple networks on the languages. IBM said there isn't any tool that does it, they use Overture, Espotting, WordTracker and other tools and do their best. Espotting added that the UK had the most "comparative searches" but Germany and Scandinavia has more "product specific searches".
Q: What if you don't have the resources to do this? A: Well, if you don't do it and your competitors are then you can not compete. People normally won't transact from a site they don't understand, its scary.
Forum coverage at Search Engine Watch.