In October our SEO and PPC team attended the 2023 International Search Summit at Barcelona’s World Trade Centre. This summit, tailor-made for techy folks in SEO and PPC, revolved around the latest trends in global search marketing.
The ISS conference was host to an absolute goldmine of digital marketing talent – and in the spirit of knowledge sharing, we’re going to walk you through what we learned, and how it could shape your marketing game plan for the upcoming year.
1. Domain Consolidation
Domain consolidation was a hot topic of conversation at the conference, and perfectly timed for us as we embark on a big brand consolidation project ourselves!
Damien Robert from Convatec touched on the top reasons for choosing domain consolidation, all of which are linked to business KPIs. Not only does this process boost perceived domain authority, it also shows brand consistency across markets and reduces business costs when scaling at an enterprise level.
2. SEO Website Migrations
We enjoyed Nitin Manchanda’s “Good and Bad” examples of domain migrations, highlighting successful projects such as ASOS and Ray Bans, as well as failed migrations such as Zando or Clarks.
There was significant stress on the importance of involving SEOs before starting a site migration – something our Technical SEOs know all too well! Three key stages before technically implementing a migration include pre-migration preparation, keyword and content analysis, and a clear URL mapping and redirect strategy.
3. Revenue-Generating SEO Initiatives
The search summit also reinforced the importance of revenue-generating SEO initiatives – which can be achieved by identifying and improving page types that are likely to generate revenue. These types of pages will be different for each website, whether it’s eCommerce or lead gen.
Some common examples of revenue generating page types include Industry Pages, Location Pages, and Statistic Round-Ups.
4. Landing Page UX
Kayleigh Dibble from Hotjar gave a great talk on landing page design for international success, highlighting the importance of localisation, translation, and transcreation to provide better UX. Her talk also emphasised the importance of progress over perfection – a great reminder for us.
Key tasks for improving global landing page UX include localising copy, CTAs, and all linked-to pages.
5. Google Ads Quality Control
For international PPC campaigns, there should be importance placed on quality control- which is something we take pride in. The concept of “national culture” by Geert Hofstede was referenced at the summit – it’s important to consider different cultural dimensions and how these can even be used as growth opportunities.
It’s essential to have a keyword research tool you can trust – we use Ahrefs!
6. Google PMAX Campaigns
Another significant takeaway was that Google recommends pairing a PMAX campaign with traditional campaigns, using a healthy account structure which makes sense. Using Search Themes in PMAX campaigns should also result in a direct uplift in traffic and conversion performance.
7. Multimedia Content
Crystal Carter from Wix emphasised the growing importance of multimedia content in search strategies, with users increasingly seeking a richer search experience through imagery, video, and audio content.
When catering to these content formats it’s important to keep cultural nuances in mind. Crystal shared an amusing anecdote about Wix’s German campaign, cleverly turning a linguistic quirk to their advantage with a humorous commercial that resonated well in the German market.
8. Emoji Content
Sara Fernández Carmona brought an engaging twist to the International Search Summit with her presentation on the use of emojis in search. She explained that while Google indexes emojis, they don’t directly impact rankings, making their use more of an aesthetic decision.
Emojis can resonate with specific niches and audiences, but it’s crucial to consider cultural interpretations. For instance:
😇 The “angel” emoji suggests death in China, and is therefore seen as a threat.
🤘 The “rock on” sign implies adultery in Italy and Spain.
💸 The “flying money” emoji in Japan symbolises financial loss.
9. Search Intent Variance
Miruna Hilcu from Otova highlighted the nuances in search intent across different markets, using “solar batteries” as an example.
In Spain, the term “solar batteries” has a commercial intent with people wanting to purchase. However in the Netherlands, this term is informational because solar batteries are not typically bought online there. It’s also important to prepare for shifts in intent as markets evolve.
10. Google Ranking Factors
The Search Summit ended with an interesting Q&A session, with Gary Illyes from Google. Gary shared insights into Google’s ranking factors, reinforcing that content is the number one ranking factor. With the surge of AI-generated content, Google’s approach to indexing will become more selective.
He also commented on the evolving importance of links in SEO – according to Gary links apparently might not be in the top three or even five ranking factors on Google. The jury could be out on that one!
Concluding thoughts on the International Search Summit 2023
That’s a wrap on our top 10 insights from the 2023 International Search Summit! A special thanks go out to all the organisers and speakers who brought the conference to life.
It’s reassuring to see that our strategies align with much of the advice from summit leaders. Nevertheless, we love keeping track of SEO new trends and PPC tactics to ensure our strategies are constantly evolving in line with industry developments.
Find out how our SEO, PPC, and content services could help benefit your business this year, with a tailored marketing strategy that helps achieve business goals that matter to you.