Key Points in launching a global website

Tue 24 March 2009 17:52, Bas van den Beld

Key Points in launching a global website

Off course we as Searchcowboys are very much interested in the session "Launching a Global website". This session, moderated by Kevin Ryan, tackled 'the critical issues in succesfully developing, optimizing and launching global websites that meet next generation marketing tools'.

Kevin opened the session. He pointed out that the world has gotten smaller and therefore we should look broader. He then introduced the four speakers of the sessions.

Motoko Hunt
First speaker is Motoko Hunt, THE Japanese Search Marketing specialist.

It was all about Social Media the last couple of years. She likes to drag the attention back to the website.

Why Globalize? Numbers show there is more than just the US. But its not only about translating your existing pages. Different market means different problem.

Technical challenges: She points out some technical challenges like CMS and Different target engines.

Other challenges you can face: Ranking Reports: In different countries you can get wrong information.

Geo Targeting: index problem, duplicate content: A German page gives three options, Web, German sites and sites from German. A .com domain will not be included in the "German sites" part.

Multiple language sites: search engines tend to index only one of them. You can manage this within Google Webmaster tools. Sites will then be indexed correctly.

Languages: Don't translate it, localize it! is the statement Hunt makes. The way people search in one country is different then in other countries. For example "football" in the Uk is "soccer" in the US.

Tone of voice is also important. That can get lost in translations.

Organizational challenges
Motoko pointed out some Organizational challenges. Budget, Manpower and cross border management are different in different countries. Also not every countries is even well updated when it comes to knowledge of SEO.

Regional challenges
Regional there are a lot of differences. You therefore have to do extensive keyword research. Next you have to look at the market: trends are different, and often search behavior is different.

Talk to local market specialists and listen to them. For example you want to know different seasonal behaviors.


Maura Ginty
Next up is Maura Ginty. She is Senior Webmanager at Global Web Content and talkes about a case study of Autodesk in Japan.

You can't just use Google Translate. Words can get a very different meaning.

Her Global site strategy:
- comprehensive current state analysis of global web properties
- Multi-year roadmap

They had stored servers in California. This gave problems. Local searches are growing. China now has the largest online audience.

They tested out different groups world wide: site launched in France, a local webteam in Japan. They weren't just localizing, they were bilingual. You have to be very thoughtfull about how you take all different steps.

What they found that once they actually changed the content and applied it to the local market they saw changes.

Other succes metrics:
- paid campaign CPC was cut in half
- 65% increase in organic site traffic
- Local product and PR teams integrated SEO
- Paid clicks increased

What worked, What was broken
Engagement of local teams has a significant impact. Central Messaging repository now includes SEO.

In Japan they are going to expaned. In France they were less succesfull. One of the reasons was it wasn't a webteam, but a marketing team. They wanted to get back on board when they heard of the Japanese success.

Marjorie Madfis
Third is Marjorie Madfis of IBM
Madfis talkes about globalizing about the different websites from IBM.

They have websites in 80 countries. In every country they look at what has to be localized. Localization requires resources and money. Different countries have different costs.

What is content sharing? Some content can be shared. Some things can be translated, other parts have to be localized. For example the right hand column on the IBM websites is very localized.

Some international websites look a like but have different content on them. Offers are mostly very local. They looked at different search terms in different countries.

They use different kind of tools: Web presence calendar Lotus Database and Web Merchandising Calendar Wiki are two of the most important tools used.

Finally its very important to know your country level audiences and understand the skills of a country.


Erik Qualman
Last up is Erik Qualman of Search Engine Watch and EF Education. He starts of by explaining you have to know who are the power players. He explains this by using a sports-related example.

Structural build. It's important to know what your sweet spot is and were to target. He gives some examples: coca cola has got different urls (, Google has all the urls in their main url ( There is not a perfect solution. Go back to your core.

He then talkes about what questions to ask yourself in SEM/SEO/Social Media and parnterships.

  • SEM: central or decentralized, inhouse or agency?
  • SEO: central or decentral?
  • Social Media: how does it affect facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Wikipedia
  • Partnerships: Often overlooked leverage & coordination channel conflict

He closes of with a key take away:
always go back to the golden rule: go back to what the customer wants. You won't have the perfect solutions.

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