International Search Summit Oslo (1)

Today, the 1st International Search Summit outside London takes place – in Oslo, Norway. WebCertain, the multilingual search marketing specialist, hosts the 3rd International Search Summit after 2 successful events in the British Library in London 2008.

2009 will see the next London event, International Search Summit on the 14th of May in the British Library. Speakers there include Bebo, Linkedin and Plaxo as well as international search specialists speaking about Twitter, Facebook, and other social media marketing tendencies and techniques.

The Oslo event on international search kicks off with John Brenne from the WebCertain Oslo office introducing the event and pointing out issues related to “going global”:

– Research
– Language
– Localisation aspects
– Currency
– Methods of payment

Following on from that, WebCertain’s MD Andy Atkins-Krueger, is speaking about “Guidelines for Setting up sites for international markets”. Andy points out the huge opportunity globally online:

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Also, in terms of tracking domain names, the most growth is seen in emerging markets such as China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, and India but also in Germany. Languages used online are still lead by English but followed by Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and French. Further in the top 10 are German, Arabic, Portuguese, Korean and Italian. So the European top languages, English and FIGS (French, Italian, German Spanish) plus Chinese are still the key languages online. Andy points out that the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), as mentioned above, have a huge potential for online business!

Brazil for instance has a fast growing Internet user base but also their most popular social network, Orkut, has about 20m users!

Even Russia’s social networks, Odnoklassniki and Vkkontake, have around 18 million and 14 million users respectively. Russia is still a market where Google still hasn’t been able to catch up with Yandex from being the most used Search Engine!

China’s leading sarch engine is still Baidu . Andy concludes his interesting presentation about the right coding, long tail in different countries, SEO localisation, local link building, and further tips to run international campaigns and choosing / avoiding localisation problems. For some languages, there are no translation for certain terms. My most favourite example is “weekend break” which just does not have translation into German, however there are localisations, e.g. “ein Wochenende wegfahren”, “Wochenend Reise”.

Efva Gabrielsson works for Lawson Software and manages their web content and online marketing. She is responsible for the online marketing activities, including SEO and SEM. Main aims and objectives for her is to increase relevant visitors to their site, reduce the bounce rate and being in control of critical parts, e.g. PPC Management and landing pages.

Efva points out the difficulties in house teams face, e.g. getting funding and understanding from top management for online marketing. Also, she outlines how to chose an agency and what questions to ask them:

– Who is dealing with my account?
– How would you optimise costs?
– How do you track conversions and which tools do you use?
– What track record do you have?
– How do you handle global campaigns? Native speakers?
– Do you offer bespoke reporting?
– Do you offer multi variable testing?
– Can you show me your track record/references?
– Can I keep my (ad words) account/own my account?
– Have you worked with similar clients in the field? Experience?
– How do you get me top rankings? White hat techniques?
– Do you take the overall marketing strategy into consideration?

Important aspects are to integrate:

– PR and communication
– Advertising
– Marketing and Strategy
– Goals per business unit
– Integrate IT and other systems

She concludes that it is important to work in partnership with the agency and compares the advantages / disadvantages of outsourcing Search Marketing or to do it in house – or both.

Her lessons learned are summarised as:

– Be a demanding customer.
– Rewrite the contract until you feel good.
– Evaluate the agency and strategic expert – consider changing if you are not happy.
– Consider doing (at least part of it) yourself.
– Rely on your program and not on the people executing it.

This concludes the first part of the International Search Summit in Oslo.