Search Engine Optimization For global web sites
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Search Engine Optimization For global web sites

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The need to optimize search engine results and improve search engine marketing is under greater and greater pressure. This entails capturing and understanding how your target audiences search and locate information about your goods and services.
This paper examines how optimizing multilingual search engines can increase revenue significantly by aligning people searching for specific goods and services with your company in local markets. In a global context this involves selecting and using culturally appropriate keywords and actively applying these to your Web site. This paper provides best practices, guidelines and ways in which you can get the best possible benefits from your online presence.

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  • 1. WhitepaperSearch Engine OptimizationFor global web sites
  • 2. Summary The need to optimize search engine results and improve search engine marketing is under greater and greater pressure. This entails capturing and understanding how your target audiences search and locate information about your goods and services. This paper examines how optimizing multilingual search engines can increase revenue significantly by aligning people searching for specific goods and services with your company in local markets. In a global context this involves selecting and using culturally appropriate keywords and actively applying these to your Web site. This paper provides best practices, guidelines and ways in which you can get the best possible benefits from your online presence.Search Engine Optimization ii© SDL 2010
  • 3. Table of contents 1  Introduction  2  Understanding SEO  2.1  Defining SEM vs. SEO ............................................................................................................................... 2  2.2  Trends in SEO ........................................................................................................................................... 3  2.3  SEO completes the marketing mix ............................................................................................................. 4  3  Using the language of your target audiences  3.1  Keywords are….key ................................................................................................................................... 7  3.2  Steps for compiling multilingual keywords ................................................................................................. 8  3.3  Multilingual keyword support in SDL Tridion .............................................................................................. 9  4  Multilingual SEO  4.1  Best practices .......................................................................................................................................... 12  4.2  A helping hand for authors ....................................................................................................................... 13  4.3  Learning from content statistics ............................................................................................................... 13  4.4  The context for SEO ................................................................................................................................ 13  5  Conclusions  6  About SDL Search Engine Optimization iii© SDL 2010
  • 4. 1 Introduction Willy Brandt once said, “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying from you, dann müssen Sie in meiner Sprache sprechen.” (Then you must speak my language). He made this statement well before the advent of the Internet, but the message is as relevant today as it was then: to market and sell effectively, businesses need to address their target audiences in their own language. This principle applies in all channels including the online channel. Localized and translated content provides the basis for international communication but of course, visibility and promotion are necessary for this content to be effective. If your content remains a “best-kept secret”, it does not have the opportunity to reach the audiences you want to reach. Launching a Web site is a bit like building a store at the North Pole. Without active promotion, no one will know you are there. 1 Studies show that search engine visibility is one of the best ways to promote online content. However, many companies may not promote their local language Web sites via search engines since the local sites do not appear in searches for that country, region or language, resulting in missed opportunities. Direct translation of search engine keywords may not be effective since these translations may not capture cultural nuance and relevance. For messages to have an impact on global and local search engine results, keywords must reflect the types of words that people within specific cultures will actually use to search. The benefits include increased local site traffic, increased revenue for the organization, and enhanced global brand consistency. 1 Source: Gerry McGovern, author of Critical ContentSearch Engine Optimization 1© SDL 2010
  • 5. To be effective, interactive search requires culturally and locally relevant terminology. This paper provides recommendations and best practices for the localization of keywords that can help you to increase the effectiveness of your global constellation of Web sites through improved search engine results. 2 Understanding SEO Typically, organizations that localize Web sites are pursuing the following objectives: To generate a steady stream of qualified visitors by addressing local audiences To convert those visitors into buyers of their products and services To generate significantly more revenue for their business from the Internet In an era where if you’re not online you’re invisible, organizations are turning to the Web for new advertising opportunities. The online advertising sector is projected to outpace the growth of any other medium this year 2 , growing by 24%, in comparison to 19% growth in broadcast/TV, 17% in direct mail and 0% in telemarketing. The single most popular form of online advertising is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Several years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that keyword search is the runaway leader spending on internet advertising, reaching more than $4 billion (€2.7 billion) annually and growing by approximately 90% per year. 3 2.1 Defining SEM vs. SEO So what exactly does the term ‘Search Engine Marketing’ (SEM) mean? SEM seeks to promote Web sites by increasing their visibility in search engine results. According to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO), the principal method of approaching SEM is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 2 Source: AdAudit Services, Borrell Associates, Inc. 3 Source: Internet Advertising Spend by Category, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP/IABSearch Engine Optimization 2© SDL 2010
  • 6. SEO is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines using ‘natural’ search results. Usually, the higher rank a page has in search results, the more visitors. Therefore, the goal of SEO is to increase the ranking of the Web site as associated with a particular keyword or sets of keywords. SEO can target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, customer self-support search and industry-specific vertical search engines. In addition, some search engines specialize in specific types of searches, such as http://www.wine-searcher.com, which specializes in searching for fine wine. SEO uses search algorithms and the themes for which people search as a marketing strategy. SEO may involve modifying or tailoring the way in which a site is coded, presented or structured. Other, efforts may include adding unique content to a site, ensuring that content is easily indexed by search engine robots, and making the site more appealing to users. 2.2 Trends in SEO Is SEO relevant to every product category? Some commentators would argue everyday purchases are not impacted by search engine rank. To put this to the test, search industry expert Gord Hotchkiss, writing in MediaPost’s SearchInsider, explored 4 the search activity for consumer packaged goods (CPGs). These goods typically include replenishment purchases (for which consumers usually continue to buy the same brands) and non-considered purchases (the types of goods for which consumers typically do little research). The research addressed whether consumers make the effort to search for everyday repeat purchases. The study found that 36% of searchers had recently switched their brand, compared to 29% of non-searchers. And, interestingly, searchers are less motivated by price. Only 27% of searchers switched because of price, compared to 38% of non- 4 Source: Search and the Digital CPG Shelf, Gord Hotchkiss, SearchInsider, October 2007Search Engine Optimization 3© SDL 2010
  • 7. searchers. So even everyday products and services we take for granted are purchased based on rigorous Internet searches. The US is no longer spearheading the growth of SEM. The European search market is currently about 20-25% compared to the United States, but now has a higher rate of 5 growth and is projected to reach almost 40% of the total search market by 2010, equivalent to €2.5 billion. The cost of generating an individual sales lead using SEM is the lowest of all direct marketing methods: $0.45 (€0.30), compared with $0.55 (€0.37) for e-mail, $1.18 (€0.80) for Yellow Pages and $9.94 (€6.80) per lead for direct mail. Fulvio Marfoni, responsible for Global Localisation Strategies, Consumer Support Operation at Hewlett-Packard, highlights the emergence of powerful new semantic search engines, such as True Knowledge, based in the UK. “True Knowledge is previewing a new search engine that delivers answers rather than a list of statistically relevant links as in most search engines,” says Marfoni. “Type in ‘Is Jennifer Lopez single?’ and the engine disambiguates the term ‘single’ and produces a correct, structured response. In addition, it presents the facts on which the answer is based, which users can correct if erroneous. An unambiguous version of what the engine thinks you asked is also shown, as well as standard Web search results. The system infers answers from knowledge in its database, which comes from external databases and users who add knowledge. The engine back end does semantic analysis and builds structure and concepts around the data.” 2.3 SEO completes the marketing mix To understand where SEO fits into the marketing mix, organizations need to consider online consumer behavior. When searching for a product, a consumer’s first search is often very generic, such as ‘used BMW cars’ or ‘hotels in Paris.’ As searchers become more familiar with available options, they conduct more specific product searches. 5 Source: Forrester Research, Europe’s Search Engine Market ForecastSearch Engine Optimization 4© SDL 2010
  • 8. The evolution of a consumer’s search for a digital camera might look something like this: 1. Digital cameras 2. Digital camera reviews 3. 5 megapixel cameras 4. Inexpensive 5 megapixel cameras 5. Canon PowerShot A460 As consumers refine their search, they identify more specific product needs and move further down the ‘Long Tail’ of search. By typing in a more generic search term, consumers identify themselves as seeking information. As a search becomes more specific, consumers are far more likely to purchase. One of the leading experts on SEO is Massimo Burgio, who co-Chairs the Global Committee at SEMPO and is a founding member of SEMPO Europe. According to Burgio, content needs to be optimized to be truly effective. He says, “historically, Internet content has been pushed out to consumers: individuals have referred to content provided to them by organizations,” he says. “The proliferation of social networking sites and other media means that consumers are pulling their own content from the Web. They are setting their own criteria for what they browse and what they see. This makes it more important than ever for organizations to get keyword searches right. An optimized search strategy gets consumers to your site in the right language all based on the right keywords— ensuring they see the right message. Moreover, good content ranks well on its own and other consumers link to it. Whether you’re marketing an apartment or a business to business software application, if the page is relevant, others will link to it.” Of course, multilingual keyword search needs to be as finely tuned as the source language search. “I’ve seen U.S. companies using Mexican speakers to translate content for targeting consumers in Spain; it simply doesn’t work! It is imperative for organizations to adopt a disciplined terminology management strategy when it comes to localized keyword searches. Unless you do, your site will be bypassed; it’s as simple as that,” he says.Search Engine Optimization 5© SDL 2010
  • 9. The roles of SEO and paid search The phrase “paid search” refers to the scenario in which advertisers pay only when a consumer clicks on their ad or link from a search engine page. In the paid search arena, more generic terms like ‘digital cameras’ are in higher demand and, as a result, are more expensive than more specific searches. As a result, many online retailers cannot afford to compete with online giants like Amazon in paid search. SEO strategies need to complement paid search campaign to identify the best use keywords for each tactic. Mid-size retailers may not be able to achieve a page one organic search result for generic terms like ‘digital cameras.’ Popular categories typically result in the first page (or two) results which are populated with reviews and articles. Instead, more granular search results for terms such as ‘5 Megapixel cameras’ offer greater opportunity for smaller retailers to secure visibility. Tracking and measurement Advertisers need to look at how SEO and paid search together. Once you begin to measure the results of paid and organic search together, you can capture the full spectrum of consumer behavior. This information is invaluable to the marketer since it provides information about how consumers behave and enables faster responses in modifying keywords. The divide between SEO and paid search is narrowing, particularly with regard to Google searches. As Google continues enhance the user experience, paid search results mirror organic results more closely. For example, the Google algorithm now places increased weight on landing page relevance in paid search campaigns.Search Engine Optimization 6© SDL 2010
  • 10. 3 Using the language of your target audiences As we have seen, SEO can significantly increase an organization’s revenues by aligning people who are searching for specific products and services to the organization. It can provide higher conversion rates through targeted results. And it is cost-effective: the cost of generating an individual sales lead using SEO has the lowest cost of all direct marketing methods. Language specific searches, however, introduce a new dimension to SEO. International, local-language sites face additional barriers due to varying linguistic, values, mindsets, learning approaches, and methodologies that are implicitly part of different cultures. To achieve global visibility, sites must appear in the results for searches conducted in different languages and for searches based on country or region. So how can you ensure that Web sites, press releases and other communication are optimized for multilingual SEO? 3.1 Keywords are….key To be effective, SEO requires the correct keywords and terminology are used. Ideally, the keywords exactly match the queries. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that customers base their searches on the specific words you have used on your site unless you have optimized your site to support this term. The ideal strategy is to start with your customers and to words that people use in searches on your site even if those words are less technically precise as the terminology used in the product documentation. Curt Porritt, VP of MasterControl and a Google search guru, used consumer car hire as an example to conduct research on comparative searches for Budget Rent-a-Car. These were the results:Search Engine Optimization 7© SDL 2010
  • 11. Keyword Number of searches per month Budget car rental 450,000 (company) Cheap car rental 430,000 Discount car rental 240,000 (company) Economy car rental 16,000 Car rental bargain 11,500 Lowest price car rental 10,300 Cheapest car rental 6,200 This example shows that the most successful keyword results after the physical, specific “Budget car rental” terms was terminology that reflected the company’s business. You can compare the keywords you want to use with tools such as Google Trends to find out which keywords are meaningful for your target audiences. 3.2 Steps for compiling multilingual keywords Gerry McGovern—an authority on managing Web content as a business asset—says that 5% of a Web site delivers 25% of its value, something he refers to as ‘the Long Neck’. 6 The shortest route to capitalize on the Long Neck is though the intelligent use of ‘customer carewords’—or keywords. For example, Microsoft changed one word in a particular heading and saw a 300% increase in the number of people who clicked on the heading. 6 Source: www.gerrymcgovern.comSearch Engine Optimization 8© SDL 2010
  • 12. According to McGovern, you can use a three-step process to generate a list of relevant keywords. These words need to be identified for each target language. The steps of this process are as follows: 1. Assemble a comprehensive list of potential carewords. These words can be derived from the goals and objectives of the Web site, asking customers, brainstorming with internal teams and examining competitor marketing materials and Web sites for important words. 2. Get your test audience to choose their favorite carewords, using a sample of about 100 contributors. 3. Analyze the results to identify the most important carewords and careword groupings. It is important to identify these carewords for specific languages. For example, an English search phrase may include up to three terms; while in German, one or two words may express the same phrase. Alternatively, those speaking English may use one particular main search phrase but in German use several synonyms. After the keyword research is complete, translators are provided with a ‘glossary’ of key terms to incorporate into the copy. Only after the Web site content is translated can search engine optimization begin. 3.3 Multilingual keyword support in SDL Tridion SDL Tridion’s BluePrinting technology allows marketing professionals to manage keywords (carewords) in their Web environment using metadata fields. These metadata fields are stored in content, pages and even Web sites. Depending on your implementation, you can use one or more of these levels to manage your keywords. Metadata fields can be handled as normal content. Once you have added keywords to metadata fields in the parent publication, they are immediately available in all country Web sites (child publications). The local marketing managers, responsible for the country Web sites, can easily adapt these keywords forSearch Engine Optimization 9© SDL 2010
  • 13. local market needs. Adaptation here means not only translation, but also taking the specific locally-applicable terminology (carewords) into account.Search Engine Optimization 10© SDL 2010
  • 14. 4 Multilingual SEO As described earlier, local language Web sites need to use locally applicable terminology to really optimize search engine results. Terminology management is the single most important factor in achieving the maximum results from SEO in any language. Alison Toon, Hewlett-Packard’s Global Translation and Localization Manager for Worldwide eBusiness Content Management Services says, “Good terminology management can improve search results on the Web site when customers are looking for correct information, reducing the number of calls to a support call center with their associated costs.” Once they have identified keywords, many organizations rely on spreadsheets and word lists to track and manage terminology. These one-dimensional files do not provide the support that organizations need for the breadth and depth of corporate terminology. Organizations need a scalable, embeddable and powerful solution to manage a large glossary for multiple authors and translators in distributed environments. Successful global organizations provide real-time, centralized access to terminology— a shared environment in which terminology is available to all content creators, regardless of location. A consistent, centralized corporate terminology strategy results in effective SEO through: Improved publication quality and customer experience—ensuring that every communication uses the same terminology, increasing the ranking on search engines and customer satisfaction Trend responsiveness—enabling the search engine marketer to stay on top of rapid changes in keyword use by consumers Faster local market adaptation—providing consumers with targeted messages that use culturally and locally relevant keywords for search and Web site contentSearch Engine Optimization 11© SDL 2010
  • 15. Consistent global brand identity—maintaining consistent global brand identity in any market, encouraging faster local market adoption Faster time-to-market and business agility—enabling rapid content creation across multiple languages and delivery channels for faster new market entry Effective translation management—providing accurate and approved terminology with real-time verification during the translation process 4.1 Best practices Best practice demands that terminology from all languages is combined into a dictionary management, search capabilities, the use of standard formats and easy-to- access term equivalents. Fulvio Marfoni, responsible for Global Localisation Strategies, Consumer Support Operation at Hewlett-Packard, believes it is important to use local terms in SEO, not translated terms. “The search word has to be in the local language: an American word, for example, can have quite a different meaning in the U.K. or Australia—and in other languages the issue becomes of a significantly greater magnitude. Search for ‘replace a cartridge in a deskjet printer’ works in English, but can have a completely different connotation in Italian or Swiss, where they use different terms. You have to use content which is appropriate for search engine marketing—otherwise you fail.” Terminology management systems can enable you to ensure that your Web content contains consistent and high-quality keywords for search engines. A centralized repository to manage multilingual SEO keywords can provide tools to ensure the agility of your business offering. For more effective multilingual SEO, terminology management can be integrated with the content creation process, combining terminology management and content management. In addition, tools like Magus ActiveStandards, a solution which is integrated with SDL Tridion Content Manager, can be used to ensure that Web site content complies with company styles and standards.Search Engine Optimization 12© SDL 2010
  • 16. 4.2 A helping hand for authors Content authors and editors update Web content frequently. SDL Tridion’s WebSite Assistant provides a helping hand for authors within the authoring process. It does this by showing them keywords within the context of the Web page to which they belong. This way authors can easily add and update keywords to match the content of that particular page. In addition, WebSite Assistant indicates wrong use of terminology and can even prevent pages to be published when something on that page is not according to your house style, SEO or terminology policy. 4.3 Learning from content statistics In general everyone knows that SEO results in greater traffic and ultimately to greater conversion rates on your Web site. It is important to be able to identify what works and what doesn’t. To optimize your selection and use of terms, SDL Tridion provides Communication Statistics, which identify the popularity of individual pieces of content in site overlays. These overlays provide real data about how visitors view your Web site content. With this knowledge, authors can easily remove or adjust ineffective content and select content that actually works. 4.4 The context for SEO All SEO efforts should be developed in parallel to your Web content management strategy in terms of targeted content, global Web site management and online brand management. Otto de Graaf, the SDL Tridion’s Vice President of Product & Solutions, urges organizations to adapt to the changing environment for Web development and the means by which search engines are optimized. “There needs to be a balance between what the Web masters are developing and what the non-technical community is delivering. It’s a classic IT vs. Business issue,” he says. “Search engine optimization has traditionally been undertaken by WebSearch Engine Optimization 13© SDL 2010
  • 17. masters, based on analytics of keywords. Now though, business users contribute to the web, they need to be educated to this change. The other challenge is centralized vs. de-centralized web development.” “SEO has traditionally been undertaken at a corporate level, but now we are seeing more local marketers become involved with the SEO strategy. This is a crucial change, as local experts introduce their local knowledge and expertise on keywords, culture and other issues for optimizing searching.” De Graaf cites the example of Brussels Airlines, who use search engine optimization to explore new markets and reach out to new groups of customers. The airline is expanding from its traditional European target to other geographic niches. To capture Russian Jewish communities who fly to Israel for vacations and religious festivals, Brussels Airlines has translated dedicated Web sites in Russian, Hebrew, and English and has ensured that their sites includes specific terms that will appeal to these markets. By introducing the appropriate keywords, the airline has broadened awareness and interest in these services.Search Engine Optimization 14© SDL 2010
  • 18. 5 Conclusions The global search marketing opportunity is growing. Internet World Stats reports that 69% of Hong Kongs population has Internet access, compared to 68.1% in the United States. In 2004, the total European SEM market was valued at $1.74 billion (€1.21 billion). This is set to rise to $3.73 billion (€2.60 billion) by 2008. 7 In Asia, internet use has grown by more than 200% in the last five years. Brazil is now the 10th largest market for Amazon.com despite the fact that they have not actively advertised in this country.. Your international prospects will use search engines to find either your Web site, or that of your competition. This incredible rate of growth means that organizations need to formulate SEO strategies and processes to benefit from the global online marketplace. To ensure their global reach through SEO, companies must manage and optimize the use of their multilingual keyword assets to ensure that they reach these new target audiences and ultimately increase their conversion rates in these countries. 7 Source: Forrester ResearchSearch Engine Optimization 15© SDL 2010
  • 19. 6 About SDL SDL is the leader in Global Information Management solutions, which provide increased business agility to enterprises by accelerating the delivery of high-quality multilingual content to global markets. The company’s integrated Web Content Management, eCommerce, Structured Content and Language Technologies, combined with its Language Services drive down the cost of content creation, management, translation and publishing. SDL solutions increase conversion ratios and customer satisfaction through targeted information that reaches multiple audiences around the world through different channels. Global industry leaders who rely on SDL include ABN-Amro, Bosch, Canon, CNH, FICO, Hewlett-Packard, KLM, Microsoft, NetApp, Philips, SAP, Sony and Virgin Atlantic. SDL has over 1000 enterprise customers, has deployed over 170,000 software licenses and provides access to on-demand portals for 10 million customers per month. It has a global infrastructure of more than 50 offices in 32 countries. For more information, visit www.sdl.com. Contact information E-mail: info@sdltridion.com Web site: www.sdltridion.com Copyright © 2010 SDL PLC. All Rights Reserved All company product or service names referenced herein are properties of their respective owners.