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  1. Multi-Cultural and International Search: Trends and Opportunities

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    search keys 478x359As the world becomes increasingly globalized, the roles of multi-cultural and international search in search engine marketing are shifting as well. What trends and opportunities do marketers anticipate?

    SEMPO asked industry insiders what trend they think will have the biggest impact on international search within the next year. Jose Saldaña, Elena MacGurn, and Daniel Hucks provide their insights.

    Daniel Hucks of Digital Strategies, Inc., thinks mobile-friendly sites and content will drive the greatest impact on international search.

    Jose Saldaña of Covario agrees. According to Jose, it will definitely be mobile consumption.

    “Search is becoming more specialized,” adds Elena MacGurn of Covario.

    “A successful search campaign in this maturing market now requires a multi-channel network of seasoned subject-matter professionals, e.g., mobile, usability, UI, local, social, and content marketing experts who specialize in the variety of marketing verticals,” MacGurn says. “With so many facets and opportunities for your brand’s presence on Google, there’s a lot more we now have to take into consideration.”

    The opportunity to capitalize exists, but how do global search engine updates affect international budgets?

    “It keeps the budgets shifting at a much faster pace through the different specialty areas,” says Saldaña.

    MacGurn notes that several big international search engines, including Google, Baidu and Yandex, have recently implemented a number of anti-spam measures targeting poor quality backlinks, link farms, and excessive use of links to game ranking algorithms.

    “These anti-spam measures caused a natural shift in the amount typically invested in link building and content marketing for those markets,” she adds.

    MacGurn anticipates an increase in the importance of multi-cultural and international search.

    “Our analytics, attribution, and local targeting options are becoming more sophisticated to allow for additional customization and localized approach, creating the type of content that can better meet local demand,” states MacGurn.

    According to Saldaña, cultural embracement helps build trust in consumers.

    “I see [multi-cultural and international search] of critical importance, especially as the purchasing journey continues to integrate new and emerging touch points outside of search that empower consumers to have more information and options,” shares Saldaña.

    Daniel Hucks isn’t quite as convinced.

    “Maybe on the B2B side,” he states.

    What trends and opportunities do you see in multi-cultural and international search in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  2. Multi-Cultural and International Search: Research and Strategy Q&A

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    As the world becomes increasingly globalized, multi-cultural and international search are becoming an integral component in search engine marketing. What are the best international search campaign tactics and how are marketers implementing them? SEMPO asked its members for their insights.

    1. How do you conduct research for international search campaigns? Can you share any tools or tricks?

    Jose Saldaña of Covario:
    “First, I understand the market by researching demographics, general interests, and whereabouts. Secondly, I investigate preferences and search behaviors and patterns, and lastly I integrate emerging topics and opportunities.

    Common tools:
    1. Market & Demographics – Display Planner, Hitwise, ComScore, SimilarWeb
    2. Target Audience – Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Tool, YouTube Keyword Tool, Google related results
    3. Trends & Insights – Google Trends, Trendsmap, Google News, Google Alerts

    I use Google advanced operators to narrow down to various criteria and to discover geographically relevant terminology that I then combine with a list of purchase oriented (or other categories) terms to ID highly refined keywords.”

    Elena MacGurn of Covario:
    “Covario’s strategy for international search campaigns relies on proprietary technology, as well as local search engine platform services. When researching local markets’ organic demand, we also look at local paid campaign insights, user-generated content from local social activity, product reviews, competitive data, internal search results, and related data.”

    Daniel Hucks of Digital Strategies, Inc.:
    “Generally, the research is industry specific first and country and culture more secondary.”

    2. In what ways do you accommodate international holidays and events into your search efforts?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “We celebrate local culture and incorporate seasonal campaigns, exclusive offerings, and semantically-related content for broader non-brand coverage.”

    Elena MacGurn:
    “Seasonality and local search patterns are very important factors in understanding local demand for most verticals. Accommodating international holidays, seasonal events, and any ongoing marketing efforts already targeting local markets is a significant component of our international search campaigns.”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “Only if they are relevant to a campaign.”

    3. What search tactics do you feel are the most beneficial to reach a multi-cultural audience?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “1. Cross-referencing between content languages for awareness
    2. Finding emotional connections to invite reviews and user generated content 3. FAQs for broader content coverage”

    Elena MacGurn:
    “When dealing with multiple cultures and international search, I believe it is important to go a step beyond geo-targeting in order to accommodate any blended search needs of the local consumers. At Covario, we work closely with local trending topics, localized content, local social networks and search engine tools to boost engagement and capture search demand within multi-cultural markets.”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “Have content written by one who is native to the language and culture.”

    4. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in multi-cultural and international search?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “1. Acculturation – Understanding the different marketing languages of the target audience.
    2. Cannibalization – Competition between various geographic areas of the same brand competing in one same area and impacting customer journey to purchase. 3. Scalable process for managing href language annotations.
    4. Regional search engine updates. Centralize frameworks that make regional adoption a long or impossible process.”

    Elena MacGurn:
    “The biggest challenge in multi-cultural and international search is understanding real-time local demand and making the most out of those insights to target new and existing content. Scaling this effort across multiple countries or regions often results in missed targeting opportunities at a local level.”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “Understanding cultural nuances and regulatory environment.”

    5. Do you find you are more likely to run ads globally or by country? What factors drive your media strategies?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “Country
    1. Total market opportunity
    2. Cost to reach audience
    3. Brand affinity
    4. Competition”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “By country; culture, language and regulatory.”

    SEMPO thanks the contributors to this blog post and invites you to share your approach to multi-cultural and international marketing in our comments section. Also, come back soon as our contributors continue the discussion on multi-cultural search trends and opportunities.

  3. Has Blogging Outlived its Usefulness in SEO?

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    In an ever-changing industry like digital marketing, it’s important to stay current and implement practices that will give your business an advantage over the competition. With close to a billion blogs on the Internet, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. With so much competition, has blogging outlived its usefulness in SEO? The answer depends on a few factors.

    The Importance of Content

    Whether or not blogging for SEO is useful anymore is a complicated question. No matter what your goal, a blog post needs to be compelling to both readers and search engines in order to be effective.

    Long gone are the days of writing blog posts stuffed with keywords for “SEO.” Now, blogs should focus on great, sharable content. An initial focus on blog content rather than intent can ultimately increase SEO value through the result of engaging content. Blog posts that are useful to readers are more likely to have a positive impact on overall traffic than those written with the intent to lure visitors to your website. Engaging blog posts shared on social media drive traffic back to your website, improving social signals picked up by search engines.

    Search engines have become sensitive to the content itself, so a blog lacking rich content can be counterproductive. Search engines’ complex algorithms pick on up on the content as a whole. A blog with well-developed content can help leverage your business or brand as an informed thought leader in the industry, fostering an engaged online community. This thought leadership sparks engagement in the social space, resulting in improved SEO value.

    Additionally, consistent blog posting helps keep websites fresh and up-to-date, something search engines like to see. Many business owners struggle with keeping their website pages updated. Sharing blog posts on your website provides a solution to keep the website fresh.

    How SEO Can Help

    But is great content enough? SEO best practices should always be utilized to leverage your content. Conducting comprehensive keyword research can help you write an effective headline, develop proper meta tags, and contribute to on-page SEO. An SEO-friendly blog post should also include internal links to relevant content, descriptive image tags, and more. While these steps are no longer the only thing needed to maximize a blog’s reach in modern times, they are still an important foundation.

    Proper search engine optimization on your blog posts can help drive high quality traffic to your site. Good SEO practices attract links, general social signals, and allow search engines to pick up on more keywords.

    Harmony is Key

    So has blogging outlived its usefulness in SEO? Not at all! Blogging and SEO are integral and interactive parts of a successful digital strategy. Today, it’s less about blogging for SEO and more about learning how to blog with SEO.

    Engaging content combined with good SEO practices is still a great way to enhance your digital presence. Be sure to anchor your blog on high-quality content, but increase the reach of that content by incorporating SEO tactics on select blog posts. Once that foundation is in place, social signals can maximize SEO value. Blogs are still a critical component in a comprehensive digital strategy, but it is important to make sure great content, smart SEO strategies, and social media all work in harmony with one another in order to make the effort worthwhile.

    Does your website have a blog? Why or why not?

     

  4. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Measuring Performance

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    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic on Measuring Performance. This infographic shows the ability to measure ROI continues to be a struggle for social and mobile marketing. While marketers are confident in their ability to measure paid search and email, more needs to be done to improve the ability to calculate overall ROI of all digital marketing programs separately and in an integrated fashion.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and offers insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report, which was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    SEMPO_State of Search_Measuring Performance

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

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  5. The Half-Year Update: Standout Social Media Changes That Have Impacted The Search Industry So Far In 2014

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    It’s hard to believe but six months of 2014 have already passed. As important as check-ins and analysis are for any program, it’s equally important to take a step back and look at the broad picture of what’s happened in the first six months of 2014. As search and social become more intertwined, it’s key to note where the social media industry currently stands and where it is moving. Here are a few of the social media developments that will likely impact search and other digital initiatives as the year moves forward.

    Pinterest Web Analytics

    Pinterest introduced Pinterest Web Analytics, which allow site owners to see insights about how people are interacting with pins from their website. Users can get information on how many people:

    1. pinned from their website
    2. have seen these pins
    3. visited their site from Pinterest

    The most repinned, most clicked, and most recent pins features give users insights into the most popular pins. This change signifies the upward movement of Pinterest as a key player in the social space. Offering analytics demonstrates the impact social media plays in website traffic.

    Facebook Algorithm Changes

    Facebook rolled out a new algorithm to the News Feed that removes what Facebook considers “spammy” posts. Like-inducing posts, links that lead to a website full of ads, and frequently circulated content have been reduced on Facebook’s News Feed in order to combat spam behavior.

    Facebook is concentrating on making quality posts, such as status updates, legitimate articles, and links appear in the News Feed. Businesses and brands must now focus on generating a quality conversation on posts to improve their appearance in the News Feed. Content that includes comments and conversations will appear on fans’ feeds more frequently.

    With algorithm changes and increased brand competition, there is less space on the News Feed resulting in declined organic reach. As the algorithm moves forward, brands will need to adapt to these changes and consider implementing social media ad budgets to focus on engaging fans and making the most out of social media marketing.

    Twitter Profile Updates

    Not to be outdone by Facebook changes, Twitter introduced a new profile redesign in the first half of 2014. The design features a larger header image and more dynamic features, like pinning tweets to the top and larger tweets for higher engagement. As Twitter’s first major overhaul in years, this change was a big move for the established Twitter.

    Google+ Business Pages

    Google enabled Google+ business pages to connect their page to their local business listing on Google Maps. Business owners will no longer have two independent Google properties to maintain, creating a more streamlined Google experience. This change demonstrates the continued integration of all Google properties and features.

    What changes have you seen make an impact in the first half of 2014?

     

  6. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Budgeting Trends

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    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic on Budgeting Trends. The infographic shows that as search marketing increasingly becomes an integrated discipline, companies will need to be more agile in shifting their budgets to stay ahead of their competition.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and offers insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report, which was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    SOS_Budgeting Trends
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

     

  7. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Companies vs. Agencies

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    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic comparing the digital marketing approach of companies and agencies.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The Companies vs. Agencies Infographic reveals that companies have a more generous perception of their approach to digital marketing than agencies give their clients.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report, which was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    Sempo State of Search_Companies Agencies

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

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  8. How Your PPC Program Can Help You Retain Customers

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    Remarketing campaigns can help you gain an extra edge from your PPC efforts. Don’t overlook customer retention in your overall marketing mix.

    In our post, PPC and the Marketing Lifecycle, we discussed the role paid search plays in each phase of the marketing cycle from the discovery phase through conversion. But once you’ve acquired a customer, is there a role for paid search in customer retention?

    After all, existing customers are extremely valuable. According to a recent study of small businesses by Manta and BIA/Kelsey, a repeat customer spends 67 percent more than a new customer.

    Although retargeting campaigns are commonly used to acquire new customers, remarketing is also an effective way for digital marketers to increase customer retention and engagement. This type of campaign can be used to build awareness, strengthen customer loyalty, and create opportunities for upgrading customers to new products and services. With a bit of creativity, you can use a retargeting campaign to stay in front of customers and keep them coming back to your website.

    Remarketing campaigns are similar to other forms of retention marketing, such as email, in which marketers use information they already know about their customers. This includes who they are, when and what they last purchased, and what the last interaction was, to retarget with relevant content or offers.

    Using this information, you can retarget customers with advertising that promotes your thought-leadership, offers discounts for repeat or new purchases, or keeps your business top of mind during long sales cycles.

    Here are four creative ideas for developing a remarketing campaign to help increase retention rates:

    - The long sales cycle. For large products and services with a long sales cycle, staying top of mind is critical. Your expertise is a valuable asset that can help your clients evaluate problems and identify opportunities. But if they haven’t visited your blog or aren’t on the mailing list for your newsletter, they may not be aware of your recent thought-leadership content additions. By retargeting these customers with advertising that promotes the blog or newsletter, you reinforce your value proposition with ongoing impressions/visibility regardless of whether they click-through to the content itself.

    - Special offers. Customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while can be enticed back to your website with discounts and coupons served exclusively to them via remarketing. For example, footwear retailers can retarget previous buyers by advertising a new line of summer shoes and offering 10% off the next purchase, as a way to thank them for being a customer.

    - Upgrade and cross-sell. Businesses that launch new product or service lines can build awareness among existing customers by retargeting anyone who has visited the website but hasn’t yet seen new pages promoting additional offerings. For example, a heating and plumbing service provider that has added bathroom remodeling services could use a remarketing campaign to promote the new pages/services to existing clients.

    - Loyalty Programs. Reward and VIP programs can turn your customers into sales people. By encouraging customers to purchase more or refer friends for discounts or points, businesses can give customers a reason to be loyal. For example, digital marketers can retarget any customers that have not submitted a referral with an offer to join the loyalty program.

    The key concept here is that existing customers have already raised their hands and indicated an interest in your products and services. Because they already have an affinity for your brand, they’re easier to upsell and cross-sell and they’re more likely to refer a friend or family member, according to the survey by Manta and BIA/Kelsey. A retargeting campaign will ensure you’re top of mind when the time comes to buy or give a reference.

     

     

  9. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Mobile Trends

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    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic on Mobile Trends.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The Mobile Trends Infographic reveals mobile is likely to play an increasingly important role in marketing plans, yet marketers have not set aside significant budget dedicated to mobile marketing.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report that was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    SEMPO_State of Search_ Mobile Trends

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

     

  10. State of Search Infographic – Overview

    Author: | 2 Comments

    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and what to expect in 2014. The report includes data from both company and agency respondents. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report that was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Share this Image On Your Site

    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report

    Click on the link if you would if you would like more information on SEMPO membership and benefits.

    Click on the link to view past State of Search Marketing Reports.