A bloggers view on search in Europe: Evert Veldhuijzen

Tue 18 November 2008 21:58, Evert Veldhuijzen

A bloggers view on search in Europe: Evert Veldhuijzen

[Editor]In the series of getting to know our bloggers today Evert Veldhuijzen takes the stage. We've asked him the same as we asked all our bloggers: to write a post about their view on the European Search Market. Their thoughts, how do they see the future of Search in Europe and what else is on their mind.

Evert Veldhuijzen started working on the Internet in 1992, while still studying. In 1999, as an employee of German tour operator FTI in Italy, he established the Italian webdesign company MLW services, which became Veroworx, when Evert moved to Berlin in 2001. Veroworx' focal point was especially the creation of Websites, while Evert himself specialized increasingly in the area of online marketing supporting more and more search engine marketing campaigns for Italian, Dutch and German customers.

At the beginning of this year, he was commissioned by the Dutch online marketing agency Onetomarket to establish a German branch office, which he has led since then as Managing Director. He still supports his own company Veroworx, in developing online marketing strategies for their own websites and some customers.

It's all about differences

When Bas asked me to become a “Searchcowboy” and blog now and then for Searchcowboys.com, I was really enthusiastic. But then he wrote me “Please write a post this weekend containing your view about Search in Europe”.  I thought “Oh my god, that’s really difficult.”

Actually it is strange that this subject is so difficult to me. I am running PPC and SEO campaigns in Italy, Germany, Austria, Holland and sometimes in the UK for almost 7 years now.  And I speak the languages of those countries fluently (at least I think so, correct me if I’m wrong :)).

So, why is this subject that tough?

First of all it’s the interpretation of the subject. In my opinion “a view on search in Europe” can mean:
- looking at numbers / comparison
- looking at the future development of search in Europe
- looking at the difference in search between the various countries.
I chose to write about the last one. What’s the difference in search over the various countries? And that’s really a tough one. But why is this question that hard?

Now, the answer to that question is pretty easy: Because it depends. It depends of your industry, it depends of seasonality, it depends of your target group, it depends of … a lot of things.

Let’s look at some examples:

1. Car insurance:
Let’s compare the search volume of the word “car insurance” in the UK with the German equivalent “autoversicherung” in Germany:


In Germany you’re only able to change your car insurance one time a year on the 30th of November.

So which line is Germany you think?

2. Camping:
Another nice example is the word camping. Here you see a comparison between the Netherlands and Italy:


In this example you see two interesting things:

a. The early booking season in The Netherlands starts short before Christmas and has its peak in the beginning of January. (Note: this is also when the biggest Holiday Trade Fair “Vakantiebeurs” takes place)

b. The main holidays in The Netherlands (also known as “de bouwvak”) usually start in July, so searches rise until mid of July. In Italy one of the most important holidays of the year is “Ferragosto” (15th of August). That’s why you see searches rise to approximately that date.

3. Private investigator:
Don’t ask me why, but the keyword “Detektiv” for example has always been very expensive in Germany. Look at these stats the German SEO (one of the best I actually know) Sistrix published only a few months ago:


Now compare that with the CPC’s of your country.

So if you run an international campaign in search keep in mind these things:

1. Dig into the market: use Google Trends, Google Insight for Search, Traffic Estimator, Keyword research tools and everything you can get to understand the market. If you are working for clients: talk to them! Usually they know their markets.  Ask them about country-specific things to know: trade fairs, holidays, laws, contracts etc.

2. When you are working with translators, who translate your keyword list: be careful!
Look for synonyms: in some languages you can have one keyword, but it often happens that in another language there are more synonyms for that word. Let’s take an example I came across this week: we got a Dutch keyword list for an international tour operator containing, among others, the word “vakantie” (which means holiday or, there you go, vacation). We also got a German translation of that list which contained the word “Urlaub”. That makes sense, but there’s another German word with a slight difference of meaning, but still important for tourism companies called “Ferien”. This keyword was missing.

3. Learn the visitors “slang”: I had some discussions with my colleague when I was investigating the “Camping” example. Because Italians can use “campeggio” and “campeggi” too.  In this case it was no problem, because I was not talking about search volume, but search trends. When you are running a campaign it is important though!

These were my examples, but maybe you know some great examples from other countries? Let’s discuss them in the comments!

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