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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - June 2005

In this issue we look at search engine marketing across different regional search engines and the factors that need to be considered to ensure maximum coverage of these tools. We also look at the use of online press release sites and how these can be used for search engine marketing purposes, as well as general publicity for a business or product.

Finally, we feature the newly rebranded Internet Advertising Bureau, which is an excellent resource in the UK for data and information on trends in the online market.

To find out more, please read on below. You can also browse through previous editions and if you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, just submit your details using the form at the side of the page.

On to this month's news...

Optimisation on country-specific search engines

If your business targets customers based in one or more different countries, making sure that your site is optimised and included within the main search engine results that serve those countries is a must. However, regionally-based search tools operate in a variety of ways and may not always list your site.

For a business targeting the UK market it will be important to get the site listed on all of the main search tools used in this country. However, search engines like Google and Ask Jeeves have filters for their 'UK-only' search results which can restrict how sites may appear. The best strategy is to use a .uk domain (co.uk, org.uků) as this will allow your site to be listed in both the 'web' and 'pages from the uk' listings on most search engines. For example, Ask Jeeves currently filters UK sites purely on the domain name extension.

Another alternative if your site uses a 'top level' domain (such as .com) is to host the site within the UK, as most search engines will recognise it as being a UK site through its 'IP' address. There are plenty of occasions where Google will not display a UK-based .com domain if it is hosted on a non-UK server, which can be frustrating as this will mean that the site does not also appear in front of the target audience.

If you believe this may be an issue with your site, you can check your current server location using this domain explorer service.

Google and MSN also appear to place a weighting factor on sites when searching 'the web' from different versions of these search engines. For example, a UK site may fare less well on Google.com as it does for global searches on Google.co.uk as the IP address will add a small but noticeable ranking factor for 'local' sites. This shouldn't be a problem for most UK sites however, as Google also recognises a UK user's IP address to redirect them to their .co.uk site version by default.

These factors also apply to other regionally based search engines and directories. There are localised versions for most of the main search engines across the main European countries and these will filter sites in similar ways. Google offers 3 search options on their foreign-language search sites - for example, on Google Germany the search results can be shown for the whole web, for just sites in German, and also for sites based in Germany. This latter option filters sites by domain name and IP address, in the same way that Google UK operates.

Therefore, if your website needs to target one or more different countries, the best option is to hold domain names for each country and either point these to your main site, or ideally to create sites for each individual country.

There are, however, some restrictions on who is able to buy domain names in certain countries. For example, France requires a registrant of a .fr domain to be a French registered company, whilst some other countries require a 'local contact' - a role which domain name sellers are often able to take for you! There is a useful list of restrictions for European domain names here.

If your business targets a localised area, or you are interested in using pay-per-click advertising to target a regional area, our March 2005 article may also be of interest to you.

If you'd like to know more about using search engine marketing to target specific countries, please contact us for more details.

Online Press Releases

The posting of press releases through online sites can be a valuable way to promote your business as well as another way to support your search engine marketing activity. As they grow into significant online resources, many of the main press release websites have started to support their search engine coverage by optimising their sites, resulting in the possibility for your press release to achieve some good exposure on the main search engines!

Press release distribution sites have been on the web for many years and can provide a valuable marketing channel for many companies. However, as well as helping to increase your visibility on the web through the distribution of press releases, it is also possible to use this content to support search engine rankings and to build the number of links to your site.

If you're thinking of submitting a press release in the near future here are some of the main sites you could consider submitting to:

Most of these sites enable you to publish each press release for free, although most require registration to be made. However, when using these tools, here are some tips for optimising your release:

If you'd like to know more about using press releases to support your marketing activity and to increase your search engine visibility, please contact us for more details.

The Internet Advertising Bureau UK

The IAB has been a representative body for the online marketing industry since 1997. Originally called the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the organisation has recently marked the arrival of a new Chief Executive by renaming itself as the Internet Advertising Bureau.

The IAB's website provides a range of useful information for online marketers. In particular, the 'knowledge bank' section is valuable for researching industry trends and the latest data is presented in some detail using a series of downloadable factsheets.

For example, it was the IAB who reported that online adspend had increased by 60% in 2004, and that search advertising (which is predominantly PPC listings in this survey) holds the largest share of this spend at 39.5% (ú257.8m) and the format grew by a massive 87% compared to 2003.

The IAB have also published a series of online guides on a range of different subjects related to Internet marketing, which can provide some useful introductions to various branches of the industry and techniques being used.

There are also a series of case studies for different industry sectors, latest news releases and forthcoming events and a 'jargon buster' for some of the more technical terms used in this field!

However, if all this leaves you with more questions than answers, or has opened up new possibilities for your online marketing activity, contact us now to discuss any of this in more detail!