INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION
Federal News Service
OPERATOR: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the presentation, we will conduct a question and answer session. (Gives queuing instructions.)
Today’s conference is being recorded. If anyone has any objections, you may disconnect at this time. Now, I will turn over the meeting to Ms. Margaret Gottlieb. You may begin.
MARGARET GOTTLIEB: Good morning, and welcome to the U.S. Commercial Service webinar titled, “Increasing Your Global Sales Using the Internet.”
This webinar is the fifth of a six-part series that focuses on export fundamentals. My name is Margaret Gottlieb and I’m an international trade specialist with the Commercial Service office in St. Louis, Missouri. This office is one of 100 domestic offices and 100-plus offices in over 80 countries. Our mission is to help U.S. companies by providing export counseling and assist with finding qualified agents and distributors overseas.
If you aren’t working with your local U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist, I invite you to set up a meeting with him or her to discuss your company’s goals overseas and how the organization may be able to assist you with your export endeavors. You can find us at www.export.gov.
I would like to express our appreciation to UPS for their corporate sponsorship of the Export Fundamentals webinar series. At this time, I would like to introduce Ashley Boggs, product manager, UPS Customer Technology Marketing. Ashley, please share your remarks.
ASHLEY BOGGS: Good morning, everybody. As Margaret said, my name is Ashley Boggs and I’m with United Parcel Service Customer Technology Marketing Group. And on behalf of UPS, I would like to welcome everyone to this webinar on increasing your global sales using the Internet.
One of the reasons UPS is excited to be a partner with the U.S. Commercial Service is our shared history of assisting customers to navigate international trade and assisting them in developing or enhancing programs that have increased our export business. And while we recognize the many complexities of international trade, we’re also keenly aware of the increased opportunities for business growth global markets offer.
Today’s webinar involves growing your global sales using the Internet. As many of you know, the Internet is the foreground of business and allows your business to compete with others around the world. This can provide enormous opportunities for your business, but it also increases the level of competition for your goods and services.
To give you some perspective on how UPS uses the Internet to grow our business, I’m going to share some facts with you about ups.com, our corporate website. UPS’ award-winning website launched in 1994. It is now available in 107 countries in 32 languages. There’s an average of 18.5 million page views on ups.com daily with 26.2 million on a peak day, normally around Christmas time.
There are 22.7 million tracking requests per business day with 35.6 million on a peak day. That’s a lot of use. UPS’s web channel continues to grow at double-digit rates and it’s no wonder considering some information about the habits of average shoppers today.
In the 2008 holiday season, Black Friday saw 534 million (dollars) in online retail spending. That was up just 1 percent from 2007, which is reduced from 2006. Eighty percent of our Internet users, almost 133 million people today will do some of their holiday shopping online. That’s up 50 percent from 2007.
And by 2012, the number of online buyers, people actually making a purchase on the Internet is going to increase by 30.3 million people, bringing the total to 141 million. That’s 73.5 percent of Internet users. And from 2007 to 2012, the number of new online buyers in the U.S. will grow at a 5 percent average annual rate.
It’s clear that consumers are moving to the Internet in droves, and it’s an important aspect for your business to compete. UPS has many tools available to assist all of your businesses.
And as a leader in global transportation and logistics, UPS is committed to providing our customers the most advanced solutions for their global shipping needs. For example, only UPS offers the cutting-edge industry first like our paper-less invoice that’s used for exporting without paper and our new delivery intercept service that ensures you always have access to your packages, even when they’re in transit.
Combined with our wide-reaching international returns and our new live chat to help you along the way, ups.com is making e-commerce easier than ever. And we do hope you find today’s information very valuable to your business.
We appreciate the opportunity to help you as you expand the global reach of your business. And we want you to feel free to browse and learn more about UPS in our business solutions area, which can be found on the Internet at ups.com. There you can view demos, make comparisons of different technology tools and even view the animated whiteboards.
If you have any questions about UPS services following the presentation today, please do not hesitate to contact your local UPS account manager. And if you do not currently have a UPS account or you need additional assistance, you can contact Cathy Bennett in the UPS marketing department, again, that’s Cathy Bennett, B-E-N-N-E-T-T, at cjbennett, which is C-J-B-E-N-N-E-T-T@ups.com. Or you can call this number and I’m going to give it to you twice, it’s (612) 378-3476. Again, that’s (612) 378-3476.
Again, thank you for participating today and I hope you enjoy the presentation.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you, Ashley, and now we’ll have a quick polling question. And while you’re answering the polling question, I’d like to apologize for the minor glitch that we’ve had in the twitching of the slide at the beginning of the presentation. And I would like to remind our presenters that if your cursor is anywhere near the changing of the slide arrows, they will change and everyone can see them.
During the conference, though, and having mentioned that, if anyone is experiencing technical difficulties – (gives queuing instructions). Also, at the top of your screen and slightly right, there’s a feedback box. Please feel free to let us know if you need help, are having difficulties hearing or would like the speakers to slow down. Looks like everyone has answered and thank you so much for that poll.
I’d like to now review the agenda. The purpose of today’s webinar is to provide an overview of international search engine strategies and how these can increase international traffic and potential customers to your site. Today’s webinar will be e-mailed to participants, along with a link to the recorded audio portion, which will be available for approximately 30 days. This information will go out to you no later than Monday, hopefully, by Friday.
I also wanted to mention that there’s a question-and-answer box. If you look toward the top of your screen, you will see a Q&A box. I’d like to encourage everyone to use the Q&A box at the top of your screen. We will answer questions at the end of the presentation. So don’t be shy on the comments and questions. This will increase the amount of information-sharing between everybody. Questions in the Q&A box will be anonymous.
And now, I’d like to begin today’s presentation with our first speaker, Mr. Cory Simek. Cory is the acting director of the U.S. Commercial Service office in St. Louis of the U.S. Department of Commerce. And he’ll begin for us today. Cory?
MR. CORY SIMEK: Thanks, Margaret, and thanks, Ashley and UPS as well.
We wanted to provide a brief overview of the Internet-marketing topic, again. Of course, when we have Joe – Joe Lieberman, not the senator, the other Joe Lieberman join us in a few moments. He’ll go into a good deal more detail on all of this. But we wanted to give you a little bit of an overview and some food for thought that will help you get a little bit more out of this presentation that follows as well.
You know, speaking of the Internet, it’s good to know how to – how to master the controls and move forward from slide to slide. Probably everybody is familiar with the four Ps of marketing: product, price, placement and promotion.
One thing we emphasize with our clients when we first start talking with new clients about international business is that all of the things that you know how to do when you market your product successfully right here in the United States, they generally still apply when you’re doing global business. You still have to think about your product, the price, how you’ll distribute or place your product and also how you’ll promote the product.
Also, with online and traditional international transactions, we find that there’s really no difference between online international transactions and regular, plain old paper or other international transactions.
You still have to think carefully about pricing your product; the same fundamental rules apply. You have to know how to determine your tariff rates, which, you know, probably everyone on this call is pretty familiar with and we’ve covered on other webinars. And if not, of course, we’re always here to help you.
Also, you have to think about shipping your product – what’s the best way to get it there? And, of course, you’ve got to know about your export licensing requirements and your local import requirements. All of the same things that you’re already concerned about to pull off good, successful international transactions. They still apply in the online marketing world.
Some questions to keep in mind as you listen to Joe’s presentation is what’s the purpose of your online marketing efforts? What’s the purpose of your web page? You want to promote or sell your product.
Now, at first blush, that might sound like the same thing. But if you want to sell products, you actually need the infrastructure built into your web page somehow to actually make the transactions happen, or perhaps you just want to use the web page to promote the product to let people know it’s out there, to talk about the features and the benefits and so on to build awareness.
Building brand awareness is a very common use of some web pages, and then you refer someone – you refer potential customers to other methods and other means of securing and closing the transaction. Or your web page might want to do all of these things or just perhaps provide customer support or relationship management, a way that customers can communicate with you in a more meaningful way.
You also want to consider other uses of your web page that might not be your primary use. For example, you might use your web page as a product promotion vehicle, but then also find that once you do have customers in a certain target market, that you can also use the same web page in a secondary manner for education or customer relationship management. Or data collection, for example, the way that we ask surveys on this web page. You can also use your web page for all of the above plus perhaps to gather some primary market intelligence.
You need to know who you’re talking to. Who is your target market? And you need to really think carefully about your target market. Are the people that you hope to attract to your web page, are they employees or customers? Some people might even be shocked at the suggestion of employees. But many successful web pages are geared primarily toward employees. And of course, your web page can be geared toward both.
But you need to think about who you want to communicate with via your web page, where are they when they’re using the web page? What are they thinking about when they decide to actually type your web page address into their browser? When do people turn to you and why? And that will help you make it a much more meaningful web experience for them.
Are you communicating with your agents or your distributors? You might have a whole different set of information available depending or perhaps your shareholders. And of course, your web base – communicate with all of these different stakeholders in different ways and I know Joe will go into a lot more detail about that.
You might have password-protected areas for your agents, for example, and entirely different public areas for websites for the product promotion and other outreach activity. So, overall, we need to think about what do each of the people that we hope to attract to our web page, what do they need from us? What are they thinking and doing? Where are they when they turn to us on the Internet?
And remember, we need to think about our objectives. We should always think about what we’re trying to accomplish and what we really want to do. That way the classic marketing – the classic marketing equation of building a better mousetrap and then the world beating a path to your door – Joe can tell us it’s really that easy just to build a better web page and then people coming knocking on your door.
But we have to think about, well, what is that mousetrap we’re building? What is the purpose of the web page? Do we want to grow our current markets? Do we want to sell more in the markets that we’re already in? Or do we want to attract new markets, new customers in brand-new foreign markets that we haven’t done business before?
And also we have to think of key markets in terms of their Internet use and their e-commerce use. For example, if you – if you develop a web page because you want to target the market in Timbuktu, but if there aren’t very many people online using the Internet in Timbuktu, that might not be a good combination then.
So in sum, as we prepare for Joe’s presentation in just a moment, we have to think about marketing in terms of what we want to accomplish, think in terms of our key markets, who are we targeting and where? And think about the extent of their Internet usage in those target markets? One example would be flash media for example.
We’ve all logged onto web pages and we’re assaulted with some audio, or perhaps there’s some really neat videos of the product. But perhaps our browser or our bandwidth isn’t high-tech enough to handle that kind of media. So we have to think in terms of who is using the Internet? How are they using the Internet? And are they able to use all the rich features that we’re used to?
And remember, the Commercial Service has plenty of reports on all sorts of markets. We have Internet reports. We can plug you into data on who is using the Internet in different countries and so on. We’re here for you online, just like we’re always here for you in person as well in your local areas. Right now, I’ll turn it back to Margaret so we can turn it over to our featured speaker for today.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you, Cory. Now, I’d like to introduce our featured speaker, Joe Lieberman, president and owner of SPIDERtel Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas. SPIDERtel is an award-winning firm that has been providing web redesign, Internet and marketing solutions since 1996. SPIDERtel helps transform businesses by identifying and achieving their objectives through the power of the Internet using proven marketing strategies, intuitive and functional programming and highly acclaimed custom graphics.
Joe has been recognized as an industry expert in the Kansas City area, is a former radio show host and an author of many published articles. He has also taught many self-written classes on Internet marketing.
I’d also like to mention that Mr. Alex Bach, vice president of Internet marketing of SPIDERtel will be available with Joe after the presentation for questions and answers. Joe, thank you for taking the time to share your experiment – experience and now, you may begin.
MR. JOE LIEBERMAN: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about international search engine marketing strategies. SPIDERtel has been providing search marketing services, as well as web design services since 1996. That’s coming on 13 years and we’ve seen a lot of transformation as I’m sure many of the attendees on this webinar can understand.
Search engine marketing has changed about five times, 360 degrees throughout the decade. And each time, we learned that it comes down to the fundamentals of you how you build your website, not trying to follow short-term tactics that we think the search engines are looking for today.
And that’s one of the points I’d like to drive home, and that is that international search engine marketing is very similar to how you would go about marketing your website here domestically. The search engines primarily are looking for high-quality websites that offer good content to consumers, to your stakeholders.
And the key, as Cory mentioned in his short presentation, is really identifying and understanding who your audience is, what their interests are and insuring – excuse me – that your website is developed to meet those needs. There are many, many tactics and we’ll talk about several of them throughout the next half hour.
But I do want to stress that there are no silver bullets here; if there were, everybody would be doing it and it would be very simple to implement. But it is very much like running a business. You have to focus on the fundamentals and make sure that you’re providing extreme value to your prospective customer base.
If you have any questions after the presentation, myself and Alex Bach, our VP of Internet marketing, we’ll make ourselves available. The final slide will give – excuse me – some contact information. And at the bottom of each of the slides, there’s some additional contact information. And we’d be happy to talk to you about your particular need.
The opportunity here is vast, both domestically and internationally and it’s stated in the slide here. Seventy percent of all searches are not performed in English; that’s both for the United States domestic and the world. It really shows us that the West has transformed from being – originated here in the United States to something that is utilized worldwide.
Commerce is happening every day. We often get caught – questions from clients, more and more it’s rare, but they will ask us whether they’re target audience is using the Internet. And while it might have been an interesting question seven years ago, today, there’s no doubt, there’s no research needed, nothing is doubtful about it.
Your customer base is using the Internet. It crosses all demographics, all socio-economic boundaries. Obviously, the countries have to have access to the Internet provided, but people are trying on it more and more to conduct business, to do research, to find answers to their questions during whatever part of the purchase decision process they may be in.
We’re going to focus on five different areas. The first will be understanding the layout of search engines and how do you go about identifying who is popular? What search engines are being used in the particular countries that you might want to be targeting? This is obviously important because you want to be found in those particular search engines.
Some of this may not be surprising, but we’ll offer you some insight as to how to get additional information. Then we’ll start talking about what you need to think about in terms of hosting – excuse me – I have a cough I’m trying to get over here – about hosting your website, the location of your website and the domain name are very important considerations. Then we’ll talk about how to optimize your website.
There are two basic factors there, the on-site characteristics, those things that the search engines can read about you or your website. And the second part is how other websites are linking to you and what they say about you. Then we’ll move on briefly to paid advertising opportunities. They are similar to what we have here in the United States for text advertising throughout the search engines, also known as pay per click.
And finally, we’ll talk briefly about web analytics. And at this time, I think we’re going to move to the first poll. And the question here is, “Do you believe there is a significant demand for your products and services from international customers?” And we’ll let this run for a few seconds.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you for participating in this first poll. And can we show the results, please? Well, it looks, like, obviously, 92 percent of you believe, yes, that’s a good thing. And we’ll go on with Joe’s presentation.
MR. LIEBERMAN: Okay. I think I’d be surprised to see different results; otherwise, we wouldn’t have attendees. (Chuckles.)
Okay. Talking – focusing on the search engines that we want to target. There are different languages. Obviously, depending on what country you’re in, trying to target, is going to indicate whether you need to have your website translated into other languages. And these will vary. There are some sources throughout the Internet that can fine-tune this. But what we have printed here is a list of languages in order from left to right in popularity, English being first, Chinese being second, Spanish, Japanese and so on.
It is also important to note that your website can be found in a non-English search engine depending on how the website is hosted and the location of that website. So it really depends on what the search is about, what your target audience is searching for. If they’re searching for English phrase keywords, then the search engine will try to deliver websites that have English as a base. And so it becomes a little difficult to anticipate whether you should have one language website or multiple-language websites. And we will talk about that in a minute.
Each country will have a popularity that will vary from one search engine to another, across the board, no surprises, Google is the champion of search engine usage throughout the world. They now represent about 70 percent of all searches. But it does vary from country to country. For example here when you go into Russia, there’s Yandex, which is a very popular search engine there. And I’ve listed a couple of others.
In China, this represents about – Baidu represents about 70 percent of the traffic for searches in that country. So it will vary. There are sources of information; some of it is free. And then other – other sources would be paid for. You can go to the two that are listed underneath the domestic search engines, searchenginecolossus.com and arnoldit.com to get additional information about how people are searching in various countries.
I will also mention that Yahoo is prevalent throughout the world; they just don’t have the market share that Google does. There’s a very comprehensive service by market share hits, which is paid, I’ve noted the URL there at the bottom. And if you are so inclined, you can go on there and search by country and get very detailed information about what each country’s search statistics are all about.
Perhaps the most important aspect of search engine marketing as I mentioned earlier, is understanding your target audience and how they’re going to search. Search marketers, of which we all are, oftentimes make the mistake that they understand how people will be looking for their products or services. We all understand our business intimately. We know the jargon. We know the industry terms.
But we often overlook that the people that are searching for our products and services or in the market for them – excuse me – may not know those terms and may be thinking about how they’re going to be using our products and services in a completely different context. They may not know that we exist. They may not know that our services are available. But they know that they have needs.
And so really, the most important thing you can do for yourself, whether it’s domestic marketing or international marketing is do research on how people are searching today as it’s centered around your products and services and not make any assumptions about how you think they might be searching.
Oftentimes, we will start with a list of phrases that we anticipate people will be searching on. There’s clearly some that are correct. But when we start doing the research, we will identify sometimes dozens and dozens of other phrase permutations that we were not aware of or not thinking of that people are actually using.
And so you need to go to the source. You need to rely on how people have historically searched on you, on your products and services. And I have listed a couple of really good resources for international keyword research and they’re noted here.
The first one is from Wordtracker. Wordtracker is a service that relies on aggregate information from users themselves and they’re accumulating this information, not from one particular search engine, but from people across many different demographics and how they search.
You enter in keywords that you think might be used by your target audience and it will return suggestions based on what you have entered. And this will lead you in many different directions, oftentimes, in tangents that you might not have anticipated, and really, that’s what you’re looking for, the things that you haven’t already considered.
Google also has a tool that can be used for a country-specific searching. Both sources will come up with different terms and they will also come up with different amounts of usage that they would predict that your audience will use over a monthly period of time. In Google, you’ll get two sources, one is they’ll come back with a suggestion of lists of words. That’s the second URL there. And the third URL will tell you what they would estimate would be the usage for those phrases that you are keying in.
Just a note of caution here that we’re really trying to get an indication of popularity of phrases and it should not be taken as literal the number or the count that you get back from either of these two tools. Our research – use of these tools over time tells us that they’re very good at predicting what phrases will be popular, but not so much in terms of with the accuracy of the count of those phrases.
So it’s important to get a relative perspective on what phrases are more popular than others and use some common judgment in terms of what you’re going to optimize for. And if it’s not obvious, the reason why you would – you would find those phrases and make some determination on what phrases you want to support is – you will then use that list to optimize your website, both on-site and how other websites are linking to you – excuse me – as well as to use those phrases in your keyword advertising if you choose to go with paid advertising.
The note at the bottom of this slide is very important, and that is to be careful with translations. As I’m sure you can appreciate, literal translation of phrases is not always useful when you go from one language to another. There are some good translation tools that are automated when you’re getting into large bodies of text. That’s when you will want to consider working with companies that do this for a living and really understand the nuances of the language.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you, Joe. I think now we have another polling. And that polling question is: Are you actively using search marketing for non-English international prospects? We’ll take a few seconds to have you answer. Okay. And here are the results. (Inaudible, background noise) – we’ll go to the – we’ll continue with Joe’s presentation.
MR. LIEBERMAN: Well, that’s interesting. That says that a few of us are domestically marketing to other languages and most of the audience is not yet marketing internationally. Now, I’m going to focus on this area of when you do decide to try and market to particular countries.
How do you go about doing it? It’s not enough just to have a website and wish that you will get people from China to come to it. It’s not enough to translate your website into Chinese and hope that Baidu will pick it up or that people will be searching for it domestically or coming to google.com to trying to find your website.
We really have to be very deliberate about these decisions and it can be – it ends up being a very strategic decision. And it’s also a very critical one because it has long-term implications. There are two basic concepts here, the first is the TLD, which is your top-level domain, which is the last segment of your domain name, whether it’s .com or .uk or IE or whatever country’s extension it might be. The search engines will give highest relevancy to the extension, regardless of where it’s hosted.
And we’re going to talk about this a couple of different ways, and I’m going to move on to the next concept and then we’ll try and bring it altogether. The next concept is the IP address. Every website is on a server that has a unique IP associated with it. In fact, a server could have multiple IPs.
So your website will have a IP address. Some people may be familiar with them. There are four quadrants and there’s a range of numbers. It’s really not important for purposes of this discussion what numbers those are. But it’s like a phone number that points to your particular website.
And those IP addresses are allocated internationally. And so it’s very possible to know definitively where the website is hosted. And so you will know, for example, that a website is hosted in China or whether it’s hosted in the United States.
The search engines can give preferential treatment to IP addresses if they so choose, depending on where your website is hosted. And of course, your website can have a single IP address, although it’s possible to have it spread in many different locations across the world. And those are strategies that can be utilized with varying results.
So if you are targeting particular countries, we now have a couple of options at our disposal, in addition to the language. We have the option of hosting the website under the TLD associated with that country. And we also have the opportunity to have that website hosted in that particular country with that IP address. Some of these can be more costly decisions than others.
So it will depend on the importance, the significance of having – you target that particular country as to how you’re going to make your decision about where you’re going to host and what languages you’re going to feature.
There are, essentially, two main strategies. One is to have a single website and the other is to have multiple websites. If you have multiple websites, you now can host them in different locations with different TLDs and different IP addresses. We’ll talk about this is in a minute. But – excuse me – I do apologize for my cough.
We now have the opportunity to get inbound links from various websites that are targeted to that particular website. And I cannot stress how important that it is. I’m jumping forward a little bit. But when you get into search engine optimization, there are basically two different categories.
There’s how do you optimize the site and what the search engines read about it, the text essentially. And then there’s what other websites are saying about you. It is becoming more and more important to have good quality inbound links from other websites that’s being used as a measure of how authoritative and relevant you are for particular phrases.
So having websites located in different countries or with different TLDs makes those inbound links more relevant. You also can optimize for particular languages and particular phrases more easily if you are dealing with multiple websites versus single websites. Obviously, it’s much more expensive to do it this way.
Many companies choose to go with a single website and it is still possible to have success, although clearly you have to choose one location, have one TLD and one IP. Although this website could be replicated throughout the world, it becomes a little more complex because inbound links are still pointing to one domain name.
It’s possible to have a replicated website throughout the world on different IP addresses as well. This becomes a little more sophisticated. And for purposes of this discussion, we’re just going to focus on a single site in one location. But regarding inbound links, if you have inbound links from various countries, there’s still very, very important.
But the aggregate of them becomes a little more diluted because they would be across-the-board as opposed to from one particular country. And the search engines will in comparison to other websites that are singularly focused on a particular country or language, we’ll have something to compare it to.
Clearly, it’s harder to optimize for particular languages because you are more diluted across those languages. And it is – the advantage here is that it’s much less expensive to maintain one set of files, et cetera. I’m sure it’s easy to envision that.
To register domains with different TLDs, there are accredited registrars that are available to do that throughout the world. Some of them are domestic and each domestic registrar like Go Daddy or Network Solutions will have their own set of TLDs that they are authorized to register. But if you cannot find them available there, you can go to ican.org, which is the international agency to get assistance on identifying other registrars.
Now, we’ll talk about optimizing the site for your particular country. It’s critical that you don’t use automated tools to translate into that particular language because you’re sure to make mistakes.
I’m sure we’ve all seen that, where you see non-English providers of service translate their websites or text into English and it just looks really poor and unprofessional. And although you may understand it, you’re not giving the right impression. So it might get you part of the way there, but it certainly won’t get you all the way there.
Because this is a presentation on international search marketing, it’s not designed to give you all of the information associated with how you optimize the website for search marketing in general. That’s a five-hour class, and probably in over five different courses. So what I’m doing is just highlighting the things that you need to consider. We certainly recommend you work with a professional who understands how to optimize websites.
These are just highlights on what to consider. Title tags are the most important element of any search-engine marketing campaign. They should be treated very, very carefully. Description meta-tags, which appear on the header of websites, should also be treated carefully, although with Google and the top search engines, they don’t use them these days for determining whether you’re relevant. They use them to list in the search-engine listings. So they become a very important marketing tool.
There’s a keyword meta-tag that is very unimportant here in the United States but possibly very important to other search engines throughout the world. It really depends on which search engine you’re trying to focus on.
Potentially, though, as I stated earlier, you want to have good-quality content that focuses on the key phrases that you are targeting. There’s so many rules and tactics that people prognosticate on. Most of them are worthless, and you really need to be careful not to optimize – over-optimize, because search engines can tell that these days. It needs to read very well for the consumer.
Word-stuffing, massive repetition of phrases should not be approached. That can get you penalized and , at worst, banned. There is an opportunity to repeat key phrases, and it should be done, but it should be done in as natural a way as possible.
Clearly, we need to consider the culture and the lingo when you go through those conversions to that language. And ultimately, what you’re trying to do is drive consumers to make a decision about contacting you or, if you have commerce on the site, ultimately buying. There’s a good website called lisa.org (ph) which can give you some insight as to tactics that you should use for those particular countries.
Other design considerations – hopefully, this makes good sense to most people. You have to consider the culture. There are sensitivities to colors, and the lingo and the pricing and the payment process could vary from country to country. We’re not going to spend much time on that.
Search engines do try to determine whether your website is relevant for a particular phrase. And clearly, if you are focusing on a particular language, those phrases need to be prevalent. You might want to consider having dedicated pages focused on the phrases that you want to be found for. The more content the search engine can find related to those phrases, the better off you are. It’s not unusual for us to develop unique pages focused specifically on the phrases that we want to be found for.
You could also consider having phrases with the country, because some people may be searching for a particular phrase and add the country that they’re in because they want to know that you provide service for that. You will not be penalized for using duplicate content if your – if you have translated English to another language. That’s not considered duplicate content.
And for those of you that are wondering, if you have content that is duplicated in other websites, the search engines will not penalize the website that has the duplicate content, but they will make a decision about which website to use for that particular content. And this is the same if you have pages that have duplicate content within them. You won’t be penalized, but one page will become more prevalent than the other. So it becomes an important exercise to understand how you are driving people through your website.
Landing pages are very critical. You might want to consider having landing pages focused on keywords, plus the country that you want to be found for. It really depends on your research, how people have searched previously.
Google has the ability for you to submit local addresses if you are located in particular parts of the world. There’s a process to go through to submit your local address through Google and have it show up if people are searching on that particular locality, or they can identify what location they’re searching from.
And also, there is a tag that you can use that would appear in the header of your website to indicate what language you are having the page focus on. Then, this is information that the search engine will read, and they can give preference to that, to your pages, knowing that that’s what you’re focusing on.
Particularly domestically, there’s little use in trying to register your search engines. There may be search engines throughout the world where you have the opportunity to submit forms – submit your website to them, but more and more, the major websites find your website and crawl through it.
Google and Yahoo and MSN all have processes called site maps where you can create a list of your websites in XML and submit that to the search engines so they are able to find your website and crawl through it and see virtually every single page. This is essentially – extremely important, and you can also do this for your website internationally, at a minimum, to Google.
Having external links to your website will help facilitate the search engine’s finding you. That’s one purpose. And the other, as I stated before, is, it’s a vote in favor of how important your website is, for the authority of your website.
So if you’re doing business with vendors overseas, have any relationships with other companies or organizations, it’s important to seek out links from their website to yours, because it will help the search engine A, find you and B, cause you to be more relevant.
As I said, we can go on and on. This is just covering the basics. For paid placement, fortunately, it’s – the world is much smaller. You can get your ads distributed through all of the same major channels, plus one, as I’ve listed here, that we can do domestically – through Google, Yahoo and MSN. It’s fairly straightforward to run but requires a lot of sophistication in understanding your audience and budgeting and reducing your cost of click by having the highest-quality ads that are out there.
There’s really no difference between how you would market in English domestically versus how you would do it internationally. You’re just focused on different phrases, different terminology, different culture, et cetera. The tools are very similar, and China in particular, Baidu would be the one search engine that you would want to utilize.
I’m going to try and wrap this up so that we can leave some time for questions. There are – in terms of web analytics, there’s two different types. The first is based on the log files. The second is based on whether you’re running a script from your web pages that send referral information to the system that’s tracking.
The log-based files – very popular program called Webtrends ends reads those files and produces information statistically. The others will produce information in a similar format to you. We’ve noted a couple – Piwik (ph) which has a great tool. It’s free to use. And Google Analytics, which is also free, allows a very robust set of information.
The kinds of things that you can and should be looking at are how people have visited, how often, the countries, the geography, what page views. You are able to look through and find (pathing ?) information, how they have typically gone through your website, where they have exited, abandoned your pages, and how they are finding the website in the first place – what search engines are driving them there, what phrases they’re using to key in, to get to your website, and ultimately, how they are converting.
Some of these websites – or, search-engine tools require some customization and back-end work to get very detailed information about return on investments. But it is possible to track how somebody came to your website, what search engine, what phrase. If it’s an ad, how they clicked on that ad, ultimately, what it cost you and what it returned to you in terms of revenues and, ultimately, profit. All of this is possible today, and it’s a real marketer’s dream to be able to have all this information at your fingertips.
I am going to wrap this up, because I know the hour is fast approaching and I want to leave at least a few minutes for question and answer. So we’ll go to the last poll.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you, Joe. And the last polling question is, do you believe you can greatly increase your sales through improved international search marketing efforts? We’ll take a few seconds to answer the question. And looks like we’re going to show the results.
Looks like most of you are – say yes, and fewer are not sure. Thank you for that. And now I wanted to let you know that we’re going to go into the question and answers now. And just to remind, the Q&A box questions remain anonymous. Phone-in questions will be announced by the operator. Operator, please explain how questions and answers work through the operator system.
OPERATOR: Thank you. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. (Queuing instructions.)
MS. GOTTLIEB: And while we’re taking a moment for people to get into the queue to ask their question live, my colleague Chris Tolley (ph), in the St. Louis office, has been taking questions from the Q&A box. And we’ll open that up to her now.
CHRIS TOLLEY (PH): Thank you, Margaret. We did have a few questions. First one: “If one doesn’t have a specific market one is targeting other than Spanish, which is a given, into to what languages does one – (inaudible)?
MS. GOTTLIEB: Could you please repeat that question? We had a little difficulty hearing you.
MS. TOLLEY (PH): Okay, I’m sorry. If one doesn’t have a specific market one is targeting other than Spanish, which is a given, into what languages does one translate their site? Was that better?
MS. GOTTLIEB: Yes, that was.
MS. TOLLEY (PH): Okay, thanks.
MR. LIEBERMAN: Okay, I think maybe the question is: What countries should we be focusing on? Because as I understood the question, it is given that we’re going to want to focus on Spanish. And there may be some variations on the theme here. But as I’m interpreting it, this would be where would we want to focus if we have an audience that is Spanish-speaking.
At a minimum, we clearly want to translate it into Spanish and then we have questions about whether we convert the site into one or more countries that would cater to the Spanish language. There would be many in Mexico, obviously. Overseas, there are a couple. And so in general, it’s impossible to answer that question specifically without knowing what the product and service is.
If the budget’s not there, then we either make the decision to focus on one or keep it more generic and focus on a .com, where we’ve translated the website into Spanish and hope that the search engines overseas will pick them up. But ultimately, if you want to be found in a particular country, we have to make a stand. We have to choose where we want to have our emphasis and that can be done by getting the TLDs and having the website hosted here domestically with that particular TLD, translate it, of course, into Spanish.
As I think about it, this might be one of the easier ones where you could have multiple TLDs for Spanish over the same website and each of those countries, then would see the same website. There wouldn’t be any penalization and you really would be optimizing for that particular language.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Okay, thank you. We do have a second question. “If one decides to maintain a single site and the company decides to translate that site in several languages and the site is a large one, should the company translate the whole site in each language or just the products and their features, the about us and contact information?”
MR. LIEBERMAN: Well, it’s a good question. Again, it will depend on who your audience is, how sophisticated they are. It’s clear that English is a secondary language for many people across the world. So it may not be absolutely essential that the entire site is replicated. However, there are lots of models to look at. Depending on your industry, we may want to do some comparison, benchmarking.
For example, UPS, to see how they’re treating it. The larger organizations are going to have completely unique websites or rather sections of their websites that are stand-alone. But here’s the most important element and that is that the content on the website is rich enough that the search engines see you’re relevance for those phrases.
So it may not be enough just to have a product database that is stand-alone for those particular languages because if the site or the product displays may not have enough content within them that the search engines for those particular countries would see them as relevant. That’s another aspect that we would look at.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. At this time, Operator, do you show any questions in the queue?
OPERATOR: Yes. Our first question comes from Joey Johnson (ph). Your line’s open.
Q: My name’s Kelly (ph) – is that who you’re talking to? Are you talking to me?
Q: Okay. So my question is, if I’m not going to translate a website into another language, is there anything to be gained by putting metadata in, say, Spanish, onto the – into the HTML code so that the Google spider can see it?
MR. LIEBERMAN: So if I understand the question, would be benefit by having some meta tags that are – that are translated for that particular language, but the body of the site would not be translated? Is that correct?
MR. LIEBERMAN: Okay, nominal. You can only have one title tag, for example. And that has the most weight of any tag that you can use throughout the search engine or rather, throughout the site.
So you’ve got to make a stand as to whether you’re going to translate that or not. The search engines are increasingly smart, particularly Google, about knowing whether there’s contents on the page that is of that language or not. So it might give you a little opportunity, but probably so insignificant that it wouldn’t help.
Q: Okay, thank you.
MS. GOTTLIEB: We do have another written question. How do you find out if certain countries block some sites from their population?
MR. LIEBERMAN: We’re pausing. (Chuckles.)
MS. GOTTLIEB: Okay.
ALEX BACH: This is Alex Bach. As a general case basis, most of the search engines out there are private, okay? And unfortunately, with them being private, they’re not very receptive to sharing a lot of their information. The U.S. search engines are much the same way.
They’re not going to tell you whether you’re banned or not with the exception of, now, Google, who has tried to assist webmasters in keeping their websites and their information within the Google index. Most other search engines are not going to provide you with that information. So it’s pretty difficult to tell whether you’ve been banned or not.
MR. LIEBERMAN: But Google, which represents the vast majority of traffic, does have a tool that you can go to. It’s not updated 100 percent of the time, but if you are banned, generally speaking, you will be able to identify whether you are or not.
And they’ve become increasingly more cooperative in helping you help yourself in getting unbanned from the search engine. If that’s what the question was regarding, you are not going to be able to find out what other websites are banned. I think that’s safe to say. But if it’s your own website, you would be able to find that out with Google.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. Operator, do you have other questions from the queue at this time?
OPERATOR: We have no other questions.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. We do have one more written question. “We want to put a price for our item on the site so that potential buyers have an idea of cost. However, pricing varies due to quantities purchased and type and country of buyer, the mode of shipping, et cetera. What kind of a phrase should we have on our website regarding pricing?”
MR. LIEBERMAN: Well, it sounds like you will need – if you can’t deliver the price automatically, that’s something that you should consider. And it can be programmed to deliver that price based on the number of factors.
You could get very sophisticated and identify what countries are coming in and deliver it automatically or you could have the searcher, the customer, online answer what country they want pricing for. But very simply, statements around pricing will vary based on location and quantity and then the rest depends on what information you’re able to deliver online or whether they have to submit a request and then you follow up with you know, a quote.
We do have clients here domestically that have such statements. And when international clients are purchasing from them, they will need to wait for a quote because sometimes, international shipping of large items – it’s not practical to be able to get automatic shipping information. And it’s used. People overseas are accustomed to that.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. We do have an additional written question. “Is using the .com extension considered more global or international than using a national suffix? More and more non-U.S. sites seem to be doing this.”
MR. LIEBERMAN: Well, the answer is yes. Non-U.S. sites are trying to market to the United States for obvious reasons and so it can apparently look like they are being hosted here in the United States.
That might be one of the factors that they are – they purchase the domain with a .com extension on it and they’re hosting it here in the United States even though it’s not .us, which would indicate that it’s in the United States. It is regarded as primarily a United States website. That being said, the international community does regard .com just as the rest of the world does, the United States, as being more familiar and more comfortable and more global.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. We have an additional question. “We currently use a vendor for hosting our website. Is there a way to use a secondary web analytics source to determine how effective our website is internationally?”
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. Operator, do you show any additional questions in the queue?
OPERATOR: We do have one question.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. Go ahead.
OPERATOR: Our next question – your name was not recorded, so please state your name to ask your question.
Q: My name is – (inaudible, cross talk).
Q: Hi, this is –
Q: I wanted to ask – if I’m going to start a website in Canada, same exact duplicate of my current site, does it – will it be a good move to get Canada IP addresses so that Google search engine ranks me equal to the Canada-based sites?
MR. LIEBERMAN: Yeah. If the budget allows for it, your best optimal strategy is to have .ca – I’m going to wait for that noise to stop. Okay, your best – your optimal strategy is to have .ca as the website TLD and an IP address located in Canada. That’s two criteria that Google.ca will use to determine whether you’re hosted – whether you’re hosted in Canada or not. And you will have preference over similar website – similar content that would be in the United States with .com.
Q: Is there any way to get the Canadian IP address, yet still host your site where it currently is now?
MR. LIEBERMAN: I don’t think so. I can’t say with 100 percent certainty. I don’t believe you can do that. And so in other words, these IP addresses are not portable.
Q: So we would have the server farm in Canada in order to pull that off.
MR. LIEBERMAN: That’s correct. And I think, though, that there are things like proxy servers where there may be some host companies that can effectively manage it for you in the United States that will do that on your behalf.
Q: Okay, thank you.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. Operator, do you show any additional questions in the queue?
OPERATOR: We have no further questions.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thank you. At this time, we don’t have any other additional questions in the Q&A box. We would like to thank everyone for participating in today’s webinar. And we also would like to thank our sponsors and presenters as well. We do look forward to you participating in our final webinar in the Export Fundamentals series. The last one will take place on March 18th and the topic is “Exporter Obligations/Export Control Update.” At this time, we can conclude our webinar. Thank you. Bye-bye.