Search marketing continues to be an extremely competitive industry. Countless businesses compete on the SERPs for customers’ attention, meaning that brands have little room for mistakes. Given the high stakes, it is clear why search marketers have many concerns about their efforts. Some pressing issues include how to expand their campaigns to other languages and regions, how their sites appear in SERPs and how to create a culture of mature SEO production in their own companies.
At Share15 we brought in representatives from major brands including Microsoft, VMware, Hilton, Motorola and Schneider Electric to discuss these issues. The talks they gave were enlightening and engaging. Here are some of the highlights.
International Search & Localization
Search optimization can be a major driver of leads and revenue for companies, but for those who want to take their brands overseas, questions about how to effectively use search in other countries can abound. Not only are their other search engines that might dominate the country, but you also have to think about issues such as cultural differences, translations and understanding the local people well enough to effectively motivate them to make a purchase. These problems can make conquering international search marketing an intimidating endeavor.
At Share15, we heard from representatives of global brands including Marco Muijsert of Philips, David Fisher of Schneider Electric, Michael Velasco of Motorola Solutions and Melissa Walner of Hilton Worldwide. These talks explored critical ideas about international search. They discussed creating regionally-accurate translations, global sites versus microsites and creating a global team to make the entire project a success. Here are some of the key points from their talks:
- search should tie together all of the teams involved in localization
- scale towards local markets
- reach global audience through localization not translation
- remember regional differences (English in the US vs. the UK)
- when not executed well, microsites can have issues, such as competition, in SERPs
As a search marketer, you know that SERPs seem to change on a regular basis-- such as the local carousel, the 3-pack and Google Quick Answers. Each of these changes can have an enormous impact on the visibility and traffic that sites receive. Since there is little warning that these changes are about to take place, however, sites often struggle to optimize their pages for the new layout after it has already been implemented. During this presentation session, attendees heard from industry experts about how to optimize their sites so that they can be ready for any future SERP display changes. By optimizing multiple types of content, websites can help enhance and strengthen their position in the rankings and make sure their site is ready for any changes that the future might bring. For this presentation we heard from Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, Duy Vu of Assurant and Vincent Wehren of Bing. They provided some fantastic content that we wanted to share:
- focus on identifying key questions that customers ask and providing value-added answers
- use visuals, like infographics, to communicate a compelling narrative
- remember that voice/speech queries and longer, more complex queries increasing, so search engines are looking to really understand web pages and their content
The importance of organic search for the amount of traffic a website receives cannot be underestimated. According to our own research at BrightEdge, organic traffic is single-handedly responsible for 51 percent of traffic to websites. SEO cannot be confined to a single silo. Instead, it must integrated into all the content produced (learn more about integrated marketing). This content is then used to fuel the marketing ventures across the entire brand. For brands to effectively market to their audience, they have to be able to optimize their content production at scale. This requires growth and maturity as a brand to create a culture where SEO is viewed as a critical part of operations and can be effectively utilized for marketing success.
At Share15 we heard from experienced marketers Adam Souza of VMware, Alex Volk of Microsoft and Danielle Yuthas of Wellbiz. During their talks there was some great information shared including:
- the need to break down silos
- create ‘quick wins’ for the team when beginning to transform marketing culture to boost morale
- use education to get new team members onboard
- do not overlook the importance of data
- do not be afraid to take risks in areas that have the most promise
- there is a maturity curve that describes businesses and departments as they get onboard with SEO
For brands to succeed in search marketing they must explore their organizational maturity and how they optimize their content for SERPs. Brands that are interested in going overseas also have many considerations for successful international optimization. The search marketing segment of Share15 did a fantastic job of exploring these ideas and leaving all attendees feeling ready to conquer the competitive field of search marketing.