Multi-National Search Marketing: Effective Strategies for Global Marketers ~ Encyclopedia - Online Marketing With Google Yahoo MSN

Friday, February 15, 2008

Multi-National Search Marketing: Effective Strategies for Global Marketers

Yesterday, Chris Sherman from Search Marketing Now presented another webinar jammed packed with useful information. This session entitled ‘Multi-National Search Marketing: Effective Strategies for Global Marketers‘ was sponsored by iProspect and moderated by Claire Schoen.

Chris was a perfect speaker due to his experience covering search and search engines since 1994. He is the author of several books, including ‘Google Power’.

Chris started out the presentation by outlining that he’ll cover why we might want to go global, what types of campaigns work best and how to do it.

The first slide discussed the fact that a lot of people perceive that Google has taken over the earth. Yes, Google is dominant and if you are running a search marketing campaign, you understand that Google’s reach can give you that global coverage. Chris said we may ask ourselves why should we should bother going multinational since Google has a global reach. But, Chris believes there are other opportunities out there.

The market share and what the reality really is.....

comScore does a monthly report on worldwide search share. Google does have the dominant share - about 63% - that’s just under 2/3 of all the market share worldwide. Despite the all the media about the Yahoo/Microsoft merge, the reality is that Yahoo worldwide, they are number one in terms of the number of people who visit them. In terms of search - they are number 2. If you aren’t using Yahoo, you could be missing out on certain benefits - particularly worldwide.

The number 3 player is - they are the dominant player in China. Over time as the Internet expands in China, Chris believes those numbers for Baidu will go in the double digits very quickly.

There is a tie for number 4 - Microsoft sites and NHN Corp. Finally, the other 90+ search engines have a 13% market share. If you actually start drilling down you’ll find some of these players are dominant in certain regions.

Key Players (source comScore)

  • Google totally dominates North America and most of Europe.
  • Yahoo is dominant in Asia, except for:
    • China (Baidu 61%, Google 20%)
    • South Korea (Naver 74%, Google 4%)
    • Russia (RIndex 57%, Google 23%)
Why Go Global

Almost 1/6 of the population is out there searching and doing about 61 billion searches per month. If you drill down, 75% of all searches are outside North America. To Chris, that is the most compelling reason you want to consider doing a multinational search marketing campaign.

To Translate or Not

Chris posed the big question…‘do we have to go through the details of translating?’

  • Depends on your goals. You can have a strictly English campaign and it will work best for global brands and products with the same name in all cultures.
  • An alternative is to mix campaigns that mix and match English and target market language (keywords, ads, creative landing pages, etc). Takes a bit of experimenting to discover what works best with this mixed approach.
Key: Search Behavior

  • Varies from country to country.
  • Chris discussed how people use different search terms, have different eye tracking, and result scanning patterns, different click through styles. Studies have proven the differences between North American searchers and others - like those from China.
  • This means you will likely need to do translation, search optimization and cultural optimization. You need to make your content appealing to the search engines and the searchers through their various needs that they are expressing through their search behaviour.
PPC or SEO or Both

  • Chris counseled us that if we are going multinational, we will have to commit a reasonable amount of resources to ensure the campaign is successful. Even before we being, we should consider whether a paid search or natural search campaign is more likely to be effective in a given market.
  • Sherman feels that in larger markets - you are probably o.k. to do either - or both if you have the resources.
  • However, for smaller markets, you should consider each individually. (In smaller countries where you could be targeting the millions or hundreds of thousand of people - you need to carefully consider who is the market leader in those countries).
Targeting Your Markets
  • Use your marketing department to carefully weigh the probability of ranking with both country size and internet reach. Remember that Internet reach varies greatly (example, China is under 20% while other countries have much greater Internet reach - but with a smaller population).
  • Do you have sales and logistics resources in a market? May not need them and may be able to successfully do it all online, but if you can’t you need to have the resources in place.
  • Are we able to handle shipping, different currencies, duties and taxes?
  • What about support? Do our support people speak the language? People may want to call or send an email. Do we have the people in place to handle this?

All of these things will impact whether the search marketing campaign can be successful.


  • First thing is to find good translators
    • Must know local idioms (need to understand the local dialect, terms etc).
    • Must be able to translate unique or technical terms for your product, service or brand
  • Translate text, images and navigation. A lot of people overlook translating images and navigation - you need to make the user experience rock solid.
  • Crucial - Make sure SEO is involved from the beginning. Don’t want to do SEO as an afterthought - get them involved right from beginning so that you’ll end up with a more effective website and the SEO specialists can help you avoid potentially costly mistakes.
Optimized Translated Content
  • Chris warned us that English content that’s optimized does not automatically become search friendly when translated. Translation is an art and may alter the content in such as way that it doesn’t rank well at all in your target market.
  • Similarly, you can’t simply translate English PPC ads and landing pages.
  • Tip: Translate your keyword list first, before any other content. Get a good sense of those critical keywords that you are hoping to capture with the searchers.
The Long Tail Varies
  • The long tail means targeting less common keywords or phrases - that long tail exists in all other languages but it is not the same in all other languages.
  • Romance language searches tend to use fewer, more common words.
  • English & Dutch/German searchers tend to use more terms and less common terms. Right now, long tail will probably be more effective in those languages.
  • Paradox? In the UK - nine keywords account for 5% of all searches.
What About Duplicate Content
  • Chris said he is often questioned about duplicate content in multinational campaigns. If you have the same language content on multiple servers in different countries, you may be subject to duplicate content penalties. Be aware, but don’t necessarily be alarmed. They may only be trying to find the main source of your content, regardless of where you are located in the world. However, if you are finding that search engines are getting confused, you may need to do some work changing content, or putting it into other formats etc. Really boils down to your individual situation.
  • Content translated into different languages and hosted in different countries is not duplicate content to search engines (at least today…) May change but today isn’t a concern.
The Right Domain

What should the right domain be - a or a country specific domain?

  • Boils down to your intent. If possible, go for both - especially for companies trying to target regions with regional pride, you will want to go for country specific domain.
  • For example, IBM has one global website, with subdomains for individual countries.
  • Sony, by contrast has local domains in all countries.
  • Be careful of those ‘choose your country’ top level pages! If you have a and are going to redirect to another country - don’t make those pages search engine hostile! You want the search engine to be able to find the country specific domains. Make sure navigation on homepage - no matter what you do with it -better not block the crawlers from finding the content on all the different websites you create.
IP Address COnsiderations

IP Address gives the physical location of where the server is based.

  • Chris said he has found that when search engines are ranking content, they will look at the IP address to decide whether it should give more weight in country specific results to sites with local IP addresses.
  • Challenge: legal or residency requirements in some countries. In some cases, you may need to prove you have some legal presence in that country before you can get a local IP address.
  • Google’s webmaster tools allow you to specify country, and Microsoft says this capability is coming.
Crucial - Localized Links
  • Localized links are crucial when you are going into a multinational campaign. It is not enough to translate and set up a site in a different country.
  • As with any site, it needs links pointing to it to rank well in search engines.
  • And most of these links need to come from local authority sites, not from the mother ship or out of country sites.
Multi Country PPC
  • Can be the most cost effective way to have multinational reach.
  • Geotargeting can be very precise.
  • Translate both ads and landing pages.
  • Use PPC as a research tool to help identify most effective keywords in a specific language/country.
Global Brands in Multiple Countries

  • For global brands in multiple countries, Chris suggested we trust the offline brand experts here.
  • Some cultures like and accept global brands (ex. China) - others prefer homegrown, localized brands.
  • Especially important - emphasizing brand attributes in a culturally appropriate way. You have to be sensitive to that and don’t neglect images!
Consider Smaller Markets

  • PDF report ‘Global Search Report 2007′ by einternet is available online and has a wealth of information.
  • Ex. China is on track to become the number one in terms of searches on the Internet but they have a low penetration of the population. Conversely, Denmark has 70% penetration and there is another search engine beyond Google that is popular. Report is full of good information that can help companies choose smaller markets.
  • Chris concluded by stating that multinational search marketing offers a very appealing way to reach more customers, but it is not for everybody.
  • Success requires deep, localized knowledge of markets. If you don’t have that knowledge, you need to reach out to a partner that has that knowledge.
  • Campaigns must be optimized and tailored for both language and culture. Not enough just to take optimized content, translate, and expect it to work in another country. Have to tailor that information for the language and culture you are trying to target.

After this very informative presentation, there were a few minutes for questions.

How would we find out about legal residency requirements? - If you are trying to establish a site in a specific country, the hosts in that country will spell out what is require. For example, in Australia you need an Australia Business Number. Go directly to a particular host based in a country and find out the requirements that are necessary to actually register a site there.

How do you find translating services in a specific country? You can go on the web and find translation services, the key there is to get a translation service that can also work with an optimizer. The best thing to do is seek out a local SEM firm or a global SEM firm and see what they can do because they are probably going to have the contacts to do this type of work. Do not rely on automated translation systems - these are rough only and will backfire in an overall search marketing campaign.

Directories? They are emerging as a good resource and they are gradually becoming better at accommodating advertising needs. Directories are very good if you have the time and resources to find the good ones. They can give you very good reach for not a lot of cost/effort.


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