Welcome once more to the global marketing weekly, our regular roundup of key happenings in international markets. This week: Google hits back after European publishers run anti-Google ad campaign; Why Yandex and Alibaba matter for your brand; China set to be 4G powerhouse; and Google Webmaster Academy available in 22 languages.
Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, took to the Google Europe Blog this weekend to answer a Europe-wide advert that appeared in several newspapers, accusing the search giant of abusing its market position as “the gateway to the internet”. Starting by rebuking the idea that Google is a gatekeeper – users are allegedly as likely to go direct to ecommerce sites and newspapers or to use mobile apps – Schmidt attempts to defend Google’s more questionable data features by insisting that their engine was always for users over websites.
Search Engine Land has some interesting points in its coverage: Google is perhaps only guilty of reducing the worth of certain information because that information should have never been a valuable commodity in the first place: users searching for football scores just want the scores. What Google is struggling to do is to strengthen its relationship with users in order to stay relevant – and despite the fact that content publishers are in a far better position to develop these relationships, they’re not putting enough effort into doing so.
Yandex is well known in international marketing circles as the dominant force in Russian search – and one that’s not entirely out of sight in Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and several other markets. Where local search engines are dominant, they can often move out of strict alignment with the SEO dictat associated with Google and Yandex is no exception. It has its own SEO practices that need to be considered if you are targeting the Russian market online. SEJ’s rundown of these key differences is a good primer, covering the following things you may not have known (and more):
– Yandex has an equivalent to PageRank, MatrixNet
– Yandex recalculates its index a few times a month, contrasting with Google’s constant crawling and indexing process
– For this reason, it is unwise to expect quick results from site improvements
– How your page appears in Yandex’s results is a lot harder to influence (i.e. it pays less attention to things like meta descriptions)
– AJAX content has to be implemented in a certain way to facilitate proper crawling
For China, meanwhile, the 80% ecommerce market share of Alibaba comes under scrutiny in AdAge, at a time when the business is set to raise upwards of $20 billion through an initial public offering in the U.S.
The article highlights the importance of Alibaba’s own ad business (first on the company’s list of revenue streams), the wariness of high-end brands like Burberry who have launched there, a trend for grassroots brands and the ongoing battle faced against China’s counterfeit goods epidemic.
4G mobile technologies may be only just entering the mainstream in many markets, but there’s already movement at the top that is worthy of note to international digital businesses. According to Counterpoint Research (via China Internet Watch) China has arrived as a cutting edge consumer of smartphone shipments, now the second largest market globally in terms of LTE smartphone volumes. The study suggests that China will overtake the US as number one LTE market in the second half of 2014, fuelled by an environment where 94% of all phones shipped are smartphones (compared with 88% in the US).
An interesting aspect of the market picture emerging in China is the arrival of low-cost, home-grown smartphone brands capable of undercutting the Apple/Samsung duopoly taking hold elsewhere. The top supplier of LTE equipment is currently Coolpad – virtually unheard of in the west, but able to leverage lower costs and closer relationships with local carriers.
Google has announced the availability of its beginner focussed Webmaster Academy in 22 languages. The short online course, released in English in March of this year, teaches some basics of making a website, creating an enjoyable user experience and getting that site to rank well in Google. Languages covered include those spoken in traditional Google strongholds (French, German, Italian) as well markets where Google’s market share is far less than total (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) – such beginner material being an opportunity to “spread the Google way” at the grassroots of the web.
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