On Thursday, October 5th, I went to Webcertain’s International Search Summit in Barcelona (#IntSS) . I met and interviewed Gemma earlier in the year on State of Digital, to find out more about this great event
In this post, I share the key tips and highlights from Webcertain’s first summit in Barcelona.
Russia: How to Localise Your Approach for the Russian Market
Justyna Wilner from Webcertain
Justyna has been working at Webcertain for 5 years, focusing on the Russian market and is a Yandex trainer. At International Search Summit, Justyna shared her tips on working in Russia:
- Russia – understand the soul of a giant
- How to create a non rubbish online campaign Russian
- Things you can learn from Yandex
Understanding the Russian giant
- If you want to succeed in Russia, you have to embrace the change.
- Russia is as big as 55 Polands, Justyna’s home country
- Russia has 11 time zones so think about this with PPC ads.
- It is the biggest online market in Europe.
There are still 25 million people to go online. That is all of these countries below combined:
How to create a non rubbish campaign
- Russia is different and you have to remember that.
- RUnet is the internet. It is called Runet cause there are local solutions people have adopted.
- VK is similar to Facebook but is not Facebook
- Mail.ru is the number one email provider in Russia
- RuTube which is YouTube. They do use You Tube but they use local solutions. Will help you identify certain solutions that will work.
- Learn how the Russian language works. You did not need to learn but try and understand how it works though because v often, they think they can translate their English campaign and put into Russian. Does not work.
- Only 5% of Russians speak good English.
- So do not use an English language for a landing page.
- If you do not speak their language, they will not buy. They like all the details.
Bear in mind in terms of Russian language:
- All ads with a spelling mistake are automatically rejected
- Punctuation marks do not count as a character in the ad
- Russians cannot stand fake captilisation (it looks incorrect).
- If you like a challenge, learn Cyrillic alphabet
- Russians will spell your brand name wrong
- Don’t copy campaigns from Google, because there is a different search volume
- Also there are different match types eg if put something in quotes you only want to bid on these two words.
- Understand that Russians may not know how to behave online.
- Need to build trust – they have low trust levels, they want to have a phone number too s o they can call.
- Build trust, so show prices in local currency
- Also obey local laws
Things You Can Learn from Yandex
- 87% of Russian Audience are accessed via Yandex
- Yandex has just over 50% Market Share.
- Yandex is so much more than a search engine.
- Offers News, Yandex maps, yandez money, Yandex maps
These are the services people use and where you can make yourself visible.
Yandex was created by Russian people, for Russian people searching in Russian language.
- Yandex.wordstat is the keyword tool to let you know how people search.
- Yandex.Webmaster – track your site’s search performance
- Yandex.Direct – reach your audience via PPC campaign
- Yandex.Translate – this provides much better service and translation as deals with Slovak languages
- Yandex.Metrica – this is equivalent to Google Analytics. It will show you how Russian people behave on your website
- Money.Yandex.ru – this is the local payment solution need on your ecomm site
- Yandex.Delivery – deliver anywhere in Russia.
Where can you learn more?
Yandex support sites:
- There is also Yandex expert training.
- Train 500 people so now there is a Yandex Summit so can learn from the Yandex exports.
- Yandex Webmaster course as well but it is in Russian. This is on YouTube, but lots of material
- Russian Search Marketing website, so can learn about running Russian campaigns.
- Also go to webcertain.com, All materials of the Yandex course is online. WebCertain are Yandex official partner.
- Russia is 55 Times as big as Poland
- 25 Millions people are yet to go online
- Runet can help you understand what works
- Yandex reaches over 87% of Russians online.
- Only 5% of Russians speak good English
- Many do not know to buy online
- Your success in Russia will depends on how well you localise
China: Driving Success in the World’s Largest Market
Christina Xu from Webcertain was the next speaker at the conference and is the Director of Business Solutions at Webcertain.
There are many opportunities in China. It is the 2nd largest economy in the world
- Question you should ask is “Are you in China yet?”
- But not an easy country to launch in.
- So Christina will show us today on how to enter smoothly into China.
- Need to consider two dialects, Manadarin (for mainland China)
- Another language is Cantonese and this is used in the Huongdong province, when target Hong Kong and Matoa.
- There is also traditional and simplified Chinese
- The size of China – need to look into this.
- Beat China on the population
- China is the 4th largest country in the world and have over 18% of the world’s population.
- There are 34 regions in China, treat them as countries.
- Over 100 cities have more than 1 million people in China.
- So China is a country cannot target in one go.
Need to be conscious of the size of China before make a plan for China.
Where do you start?
Think about first, where are your customers?
If your IP is not recognized in China, then you cannot stop people from bidding on your brand terms.
Apple lost their battle in China as they did not register their iPhone in China. You need to be aware of the following when entering China:
- Trade marks
- Domain names
- Know how
Domain and hosting
According to Webcertain’s partner, a UK website takes 32 secs to load in China. V slow and most customers would not wait.
- Local hosting improves loading speed
- But it requires ICP licence which is complicated
- Hosting in HK won’t offer same speed
- Think about the Content Distribution Network (CDN). This will help deliver the speed.
If you want to host in China, need a .cn domain, but need to have the domain entity registered there in China.
- There is a lot more content on the Chinese website.
- They adopt this cause want to see more, want to no more.
- Think it is better, the more have is better
- Chinese people can cope.
- Chinese people are used to the busy environment
What are the search engines in China?
- 360 – second largest search engine in China
- Both Baidu and 360 have clean sleek look.
- But the sites that have links are more popular.
- Think about your content in china, you need more.
- Need to promote your website, Google does not exist in China.
- Shenma is a mobile search engine.
SEO in China
- There is a similar algorithm but not so advanced.
- SEO alone wont work in the short term
- Paid search is the most effective way for visible results.
- Therefore optimise your text ads. Put in videos and image.
- This does not cost extra, just need to opt in for them.
- Mobile – China has mobile penetration over 90% so this is something you cannot ignore.
- Brand Ads – there is one think you must know. Chinese people pay more attention to the brands. That is the last stop when consider buying.
- Brand terms in China convert much better.
- Brand terms highest conversion rate.
- Under censorship regulations in China. No Google+, Facebook , Twitter .
- You have to think alternative options.
- There are local options
- Wechat is the most active social media platform in China.
- According to 2016 Datareport, daily active user 768 million
- China networking, you use WeChat instead of business cards
- Use WeChat also for payment.
- WeChat is the super app, has penetrated into a normal Chinese person’s life.
- If have a social campaign in China, think local.
Things to avoid – political areas
- Independent Taiwan
- Independent Tibet
- Independent Hong Kong
- Eg Lancome contracted a singer to promote their brand in HK but this singer is a active support of Tibet.
- So angry consumers boycotted Lancome and brands under L’Oreal group as a result.
- People from HK who support the singer see the brand as not being professional
- Result was that 2.5 billion Euros evaporate in stock market during the week.
- Boycott from mainland China and HK
- Hard earned brand image damaged.
- Buying is emotional. Do know want to play with people’s emotion.
What SEO and PPC Are Better Together
Pilar Navarro from SAP and Michiel Das from SEAT co-presented this topic:
Pilar Navarro spoke about integrated search strategy in her SAP company.
SAP is transforming business.
- 76% of world’s transaction touch SAP system
- 98% of the top 100 most valued brands are SAP customers (in the world)
- 2 billion plus euros cloud subscription.
- SAP – World’s largest provider of Enterprise Application Software
- 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research before deciding on a purchase
- SAP use SEO and PPC essential to use both. PPC is more specific and for certain campaigns.
Lead funnel for Search, see below.
The typical purchasing process beings with generic search terms
- Pilar spoke about the funnel in SAP.
- Wants to use search as one marketing channel.
- But PPC and SEO carried out by different teams. Managed separately.
- No unified search strategy to influence entire buyers journey
- No single reporting framework
- Current process of interaction with markets means duplicate efforts
- Lack of Guidance on budget allocation.
- Are you using the budget efficiently?
So they decided to run a pilot
Learn to align SEO and PPC Strategies
- Agency Alignment
- Process Steps
- Performance Results
- They work with Webcertain for SEO and PHD for PPC
- Needed to align the programs and defined the SES – Search Engine Strategies
- They worked on an integrated priorities and content mapping by country to make sure the message was consistent throughout the customer experience
- They agreed on goals and combined metrics and defined consolidated reporting framework
- They defined different outcome scenarios framework with possible decisions to maximize efficiency and investments.
SES – Keyword Strategy – They looked at the keyword strategy in the customer journey
- Where do SEO and PPC come together?
- Look at the image SES SERPS
- Come together in the consideration and awareness phase.
- 3 phases process in this process.
- Phase 1 is agency alignment
- Phase 2 is strategy/execution
- Phase 3 is reporting and optimization
Defining the Reporting Framework
- Have primary and secondary kpis
- Wanted to define the KPIs – eg visits and page rank and engagement for primary and CTR% and CPC for Secondary KPIs
- Then Pilar talked about the results, so the KPIs figures improved during the pilot.
Primary KPIs- – Drive Traffic and Engagement
- Increased in organic traffic
- Decrease in bounce rate
- Increase in time spent on page
- Increased in engagement count
Secondary KPIs – Keyword Efficiency
- Tested Strategic Organic keywords in PPC
- Higher visibility by combining both
- Additional best performing PPC keywords op to be added in SEO optimsaiotn plans
- Expensive PPC terms – combined support (PPC/SEO) page conetnet optiisation, analyse competition
- SEO/website Search Data to inform PPC Keywords: site search on our website
Conclusions and Opportunities:
Conclusions: the Pilot has been beneficial for many reasons
- We hare learned how to align both agencies
- Set up and tested the alignment process
- Defined a Search Engine Strategy
- Defined combined goals and KPIs
- Provided greater visibility of SAP in the SERP and higher traffic
- Increased engagement and time spent on site
- Better coordinated messages to keep SAP on top of mind
- Uncovered keywords that drive traffic and conversion for SEP plans
- Using budget more efficiently
- Tested an uninvited internal Communication plan
- Defined optimisation scenarios framework and keyword strategy.
- Define unified search plan to local marketers
- Retargetting organize traffic via paid
Michiel Das from SEAT shared the stage with Pilar and spoke about how they carry out search at their company.
Michiel Das says we are ow living in multi-screen and hyperconnected world.
94% of people who think about buying a car start their search online.
1)Centralised main markets in Barcelona for PPC and SEO.
- Reason to do this was to change the challenges into advantages
- Wanted to create economies of scale.
- Not spending a lot of money creating it all locally.
- Want to create centrally and distribute it
2) Strategic approach – If working in one country, then can move it out
3) Easier for comms too.
The Search Setup
- Brand keyword stategy put this in PPC.
- Generic Keyword strategy put in PPC.
- Brand House set up
- SEO and SEM Management SEAT HQ (SEO Tam) and SEM Team
Who wins SEO and SEM?
- Most people still see SEO and PPC as two different entities.
- But they are good together.
- Search Marketing Funnel Michiel shared with us
Main advantage of SEO
Main advantage of PPC
Google likes SEO but loves SEM.
3) Why SEO and SEM are better together
- For example in Spain, for generic cars – family car is hard. Hard to position it well
- Which model do you show?
- SEM campaign asked to drive to a certain car.
- Put different landing pages which were optimized for SEO and included all different models for that category.
- Replaced SEO landing pages with SEM landing page
- So then created SEO landing pages with all different models of that category and find the model that they linked
- Campaign cost increased, added more keywords.
- Got 150% ,more clicks and bounce rate decreased y 36% and CPC went less by 74%
Test on how SEM can improve SEO
- Generic car finance and car loan terms have some most expensive CPCs
- How can we save money and at the same time attract more quality traffic?
- Set up – analysed the SQR results for the worst performing car finance and car icon keywords in SEM
- Expected results is that will increase rankings and get more visits and bounce rate drops too.
Then the third test SEAT did, was they wanted to see how SEO and SEM can be integrated more
- Is SEM traffic stealing from SEO?
- We measured increase in organic clicks when paused the campaign for 15 days.
- Calculated search conflict score and there was a conflict.
- Doing the campaign during the summer, not representative as were off line.
- As soon as pause campaign, competitors start bidding.
For brand keywords, this does not make sense. Need to do for branding.
- Search represents 55% of traffic that goes to SEAT site.
- Continue to improve the “marriage” between SEO and SEM
How to Achieve Technical Perfection on a Global Website
Mikkel deMib Svendsen from Waimea Digital explained why perfection is important for a website.
Why does Perfection Matter?
Unstructured to structured formats
- Filtering negatively impact your domain
- And increased competition.
- Back in the Good Old days, Google was good at interpreting bad structure.
- But now this does not work.
- Google are filtering out content, eg poor content, thin content from the results.
- KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid
- Mikkel shows the example of putting something small in the code where someone put no index
Three major challenges of global Marketing, Sales and SEO
- One of the most important is languages is that people buy in their own language.
- Language is more important than price.
- 60-90% of consumers:
- Spend most or all of their time on website in their own language
- Say that their own language is more important than price
- Are more likely to buy a product in their language
- DO NOT just translate keywords
- Sometimes people do not need to translate all words, eg some places uses the English word (eg computer, apple)
Tips for Local keyword research
- First do keyword research in your own language
- Create a list of your most important keywords and typical phrases
- Create a description of type of searchers you want to attract
- Send the lists and descriptions to native speakers with experience in SEO
The nightmare of Translation
- So many terms to translate
- Suggested use – Wordsmith
- Don’t assume things will work in local country
- Eg not everyone has a street name and number .
- Dublin has no zip codes in Ireland
- So shopping cart, how does this comply.
- But they make zip codes necessary to complete.
- Start with Good Country Architecture
- Country TLD
- Eg .se or .fr
- PRO – Better local ranking and small boost in local search
- Con – you nee dto link build and socailise more domains.
OK so what about SubDomains:
- No pros
- And you still need to build authority for each
- BUT watch out for cross language DC
- On the server if any given page is loaded in the right location.
- Do not “cookie-cloak”
- Instead of having each language version in each separate domain, but then when serving in different countries, the website selects the language, but it is on the same domain, you cannot share the link or link to it.
- When go on a website, Google does not like it when you put pop ups “Hello Spain” Do you want to have the site in your language?
- Google force redirect to local versions
- This is annoying.
SSL is now a must – August 2014 Google announced this as a ranking Factor.
- Free solution – letsencrypt.org
- Don’t trust Google
- Google wants to make users happy
- But read between the lines.
- Google says like serving a website on multiple local domains it is not a problem. Google will work it out. But then they will not do it in the best way.
- You need to create a one dimensional website so Google understand in same way as you.
- Google say that duplicate content is not a huge problem but if Google filter out stuff on your website may filter out good areas on your site
Don’t trust SEO studies – Correlation doesn’t imply causation
Last year, Google did more than 1600 updates, so how you can keep up with it. 4.4 updates per day.
Don’t blindly trust your CMS Provider.
Effective campaigns start with you.
Who can you trust?
- Good, experienced SEos in the market.
- Trust that perfection matters.
Speed matters but do we need AMP?
- Google claim that AMP load pages faster than normal websites. Not always.
- Reason websites on normal responsive versions are slow is cause web developers don’t’ optimize it.
- How fast does your website need to be?
- Look at your competitors and be a bit more than them.
- Google love AMP and it works but it can be a nightmare to implement and maintain.
- AMP Perfection Matters though !!! Very important.
- Local Social Meta Tags are also very important. What to display when the URL is shared. You can tell them what the description or the title should be.
- Look at the moz below about the meta data templates
- What many companies forget is to localize.
Band Aid Solutions
- Canonical tag
- No Index tag
- It is not solving the core of the problem. It is fixing it.
- So to fix it, look at the server.
- When user makes a request, load the files, they get redirects then return page to the user. Can also include the ban aid fixes.
- The problem is that if look at controlled environment, cannot manipulate. Final result returned to agent.
- Sometimes Google does not reads canonical tags.
- Try and fix it on the server.
- Angular powered by google so should work.
- Elephate did a test about this.
- Tested that Angular version one worked better than Angular version 3.
- Then Mikkel reran the test and he came out with a much worse result.
Perfecting Schema and GMB for local Business
You should fill out everything.
International Site Speed: A complete Guide to Super-Speed Around the World
Bastian Grimm from Peak Ace
Google is obsessed with site speed.
- Don’t get fooled by GSC –(Google Search Console)
- Time spending download measures the time to complete a HTTP request. It is an average on files.
- What do your users expect? According to a Nielsen report, 47% of people expect a website to load within 2 seconds and 40% will leave a site”
- 100ms can already make a big difference.
- Amazon saw an increase 100ms and increase in revenue 1%.
- What I really care about is Engagement. Better user engagement all over the board.
- Look at the full picture.
- Performance is user experience. So if fighting for budget, try and get the budget from the UX budget.
- Fast loading time plays an important role in overall user experience.
#Time to Fist Byte (TTFB)
Measuring responsiveness of a web server: The amount of time between creating a connection and download the content on a web page.
- Should I worry about my TTFB?
- How fast is fast enough?
- There is never fast enough?
- How long does it pay back?
Optimise HTTP request
- Number of request, blocking vs non booking
- Strong increase in the number of request and file size.
- Average 304KB of JS code and 6.4 CSS files per page.
- That is a lot
- Images – put them on a diet
- Photoshop images are not compressed but does not load fast.
- Tinypng or tinyjpg and it will come with a smaller version.
- This also has a photoshop plugin.
- Custom Webfonts
- Load custom fonts with Font loader
- Google’s asynchronous solution – webfont.js.
Bastian says loading webfonts with high performance on responsive website.
Pre fetching and Rendering
- Breakdown of requests for Netdoktor.de (waterfall view)
- DNS look up for the asset can take some time, so Bastian said they do DNS pre-fetching and put this in the <head> element.
- One step further: pre-connecting HTTPs
- Don’t just pre-resolve DNS names, also allows for TLS handshake.
What else could I pre-fetch?
- Image gallery, most people click on next. So if someone is on image, then you pre-fetch the next image.
- Also what could I pre-render
- Shopping basket (Checkout) as soon as an article is placed inside. The next page of a multipage article.
Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP)
- AMP Stripped down HTML for max performance.
- You should at least try it but Bastian is still critical on how they did it and how they do it.
- Some publishers say they generate less revenue on AMP.
- AMP is for publishers but it will be available for products soon.
Go Https or a combination with HTTP2
- Bastian sees that we will be seeing more than 90% of sites with HTTPs in a year.
- Https will be required for AMP.
- Chrome 62 is going to flag every single HTTP URL in incognito mode.
- Some tools to get you started with HTTP/2
- Google Page Speed – yes it is a guidance but it is not good.
- Treat with care.
- It doesn’t reflect how fast a site feels.
- So use Pingdom – waterfall chart is a good starting point.
- It is free and easy to use and data feels simple to consume.
- Also try webpagetest.org which has everything you could need. (film strip view) – record a video how the site is being rendered.
- The other thing with measurement is that you need to monitor your site continuously over time and check home page as well as category pages.
- Time for some crazy stuff !
CSOM: The CSS Object Model
This is a map of the CSS styles found on the webpage.
Web browsers use the CSSOM to render a page:
- How to know what CSS is crucially required?
- A snapshot of CSS rules to render a default desktop resolution eg 1280×1024. Tool called “Critical” and then it renders a site in multiple resolutions and builds a combined and compressed CRP CSS.
- Play on criticalcss.com
Putting it all together
- Take the css the tool builds, pull that in the website.
- Then the non critical CSS, everything below the fold, you can load later.
- Then apply the CSS once it has finished loading via “onload”
- There is a fallback for non JS requests
- Implement load CSS script for older browsers.
- WebP: Google’s alternative to JPEG and PNG and GIF
- Lost and lossless compression, transparency, metadata, color profiles,, animation, and much smaller files.
- Google in March this year introduced a better way to optimize JPGs.
- The algorithm is Guetzli – 35% smaller JPEGs due to better encoding.
Brotli – has anyone hear of this?
It is a compression algorithm. This is 20 – 25% more effective.
Navigating the Complex World of Geo-Targeting and Hreflang
Andy Atkins Kruger
Rule 1) Every international site is going to have geo targeting issues.
What is Geo-Targeting?
Geo-Targeting is appearing in front of relevant searches at the right time.
Why does it matter?
- Language understanding
- Want to offer them the right product
- Service or Product Availability
- Legal compliance
- Want to integrate with local teams or local campaigns taking place
- For all these reasons, need to work on the geo-targeting.
- This does not a lot to do with rankings.
It is Almost Nothing to do With Rankings
BUT how can we influence this?
What if our signals contradict?
Eg the language is Brazil and the Hreflang is Portugal and the ccTLD is Sweden? Does this even matter?
It is important that your site serves the right content. If you do not operate in those countries, you may not want to translate the content for that country. Make sure your content is optimised for the right user.
If you are targeting non-English regions with English or there are misspellings, plus mixed language content on your site, this is not good.
Webcertain has a GeoTargeting Mix
- ccTLD – Country Code, top level domain
- These are still strong signals for targeting.
- They are popular with users and have direct impact on Conversion Rate.
- Search Console/Webmasters Tools Geo Settings
- Hreflang is a more expensive way (instead of Search Console)
- This is a performance mark up
- Going in the head, page or in the sitemap.
3 rules with Geo-Targeting
- Use as many of the core signals as you can afford
- Implement them correctly
- Maintain them continuously
Basic Set up with Hreflang
Href large site recommendations
- Test with important pages
- Check if targeting is really bad
- Document shcme to be used v clearly
- Use sitemap file instead of on page mark up
- Give it enough time to settle down
- Do not translate keywords.
And that is geo-targetting in a nutshell.
How to Achieve Global Search Success – Q&A with Webcertain’s Gemma Houghton and Garry Illyes from Google
Gemma asked Gary Illyes about Hreflang and Gary admitted there are problems with the implementations. The complexity comes from the fact that you have to cross annotate pages. People do not do the cross referencing. Language and Country codes can be complicated.
Rel canonical means which version of the URL should show up in search results.
Screaming Frog have the crawling of hreflang. Hreflang builder, it builds it for you. Bill Hunt has a tool, so check this tool out.
Mobile First Index
Gary will have more to say in a couple of weeks. Gary did not say much. He said they are slowly getting there.
They still see problems with it. Some sites see in testing cluster, the test traffic to it decreased, so don’t want move people to mobile first if they will suffer from it. They do not want people to lose traffic because Google wants to update their algorithm.
Google My Business
- A member of the audience had questions about verifying his business address and the fact it took a long time to get the postcard.
- Gary will ask his colleague but said that businesses have to wait for the postcard.
- Gemma asked Is there data on voice search Google can share? But Gary said they cannot tell us as they do not have the exact numbers.
- The number has not changed in lat 6 months, so whatever was sent at that time, that figure has not changed.
- The question was asked if we should use ccTLDs in SEO or folders, for example Travel.com/de/.
- Gary said this was a business decision and you should run tests to ask people. He said there is no seo benefit with folders.
- He suggested to start with sub folders, leave it there then switch to subdomain then see what people like and make a decision.
- From Google’s point of view, we cannot tell the business what to do, as the algorithm does not care about the subfolders
- But with the ccTLds eg .es you get the benefit better than .com/es
Why does Google serve me Google.es in Spain but my default settings are Google.co.uk?
- Gary said that Google has to direct users from google.co.uk to google.es (if the user is in Spain) to comply with local laws.
- But he said with other sites, they can handle the different versions well. For example Amazon is good at handling people travelling. If you have a registered account in the UK and you travel to France a lot, Amazon gives you a way out from the version you have.
What about Angular ?
- A member of the audience asked about how the Google bot can crawl Angular sites. Gary said that the Google bot does not know what to do with angular sites.
- Google published a guide on rendering and there you can see and have information on what Google do not support on indexing.
- What Google are planning to do is rendering their search engine to latest version and ensure that Google are keeping that rendering engine up to date on the Chrome version. They hope to have it by end of year.
- Machine learning is a tool people use to achieve something. That is something people could also achieve but machine learning is better.
- Google has to replace stuff that was created by humans with something that is performing better.Google are always adding and developing new products like Rank Brain.
What a fantastic event, thank you Gemma and the Webcertain team for putting on the first International Search Summit in Barcelona.