Welcome once again to Oban’s weekly update series, Digital World. We’ve now been bringing you the most important digital marketing news for over a year – you can read about the last three months of trending topics in our recently published quarterly update. In this week’s update: position one grabs 18.5% of clicks in Yandex; BBC lists delisted pages; Hotels.com Russian market strategy; US WHOIS changes threaten brands lobbying for WHOIS changes; and Amazon brings faster cloud computing to India.
Studies purporting to show the share of clicks you receive for different rankings in Google’s search engine results pages are well known, and new studies appear almost annually. The same is not true for foreign search engines, however, despite the fact that Google is sometimes the secondary or minority engine in some markets. RussianSearchTips.com discusses a study which ran earlier in the year for Yandex.
According to the study, 18.5% of organic search traffic goes to position one, with 16.2% going to position two. This is in contrast to Google studies which usually reveal that position one earns as around twice as much traffic than position two. Instead, the Yandex pattern appears to be strong clickthrough on positions one to three, suddenly dropping to around 5-6% at position four and below. The article reiterates the importance of having a strong title and meta description, while pointing out that Yandex SERPs include a site’s favicon – having a bright one is optimal.
The BBC is to publish an ongoing list of their articles removed from Google’s search results, believing the information is in the public interest and hoping the move will “contribute to the debate about this issue.” Inevitably, the page itself has been indexed by Google. As the BBC has published only the (non-descriptive) URLs of the effected posts, individuals who have made complaints can only be vaguely inferred by reading each article individually.
As part of the process, Google notifies webmasters of pages impacted by their decisions, hence the BBC’s visibility on such a large and varied list of removals. The BBC stresses that they are not told who has requested delisting, cautioning that “we should not leap to conclusions as to who is responsible”. Many of the removed articles refer to (historical) ongoing legal proceedings, spent convictions and other sensitive but likely outdated information.
Stateofdigital.com has an article profiling the Russian market strategy for Hotels.com, a brand that has 85 websites in 34 languages and has a digital advertising-first approach to entering new markets. Among the first points made in the article is the necessity of full, culturally informed localisation, including accuracy of grammar and language nuance – a point that resonates well in the Oban office.
Unique challenges in the Russian market include: the significant cultural differences and habits of Russia’s different and widely distributed regions; the preference for Russian-made brands (Vkontakte, Yandex, Ozon); and recent economic downturns in the country effecting consumer spending. Interestingly, Hotels.com is said to have not entirely abandoned Google and Facebook despite the dominance of homegrown brands – as a point of micro-regional difference, these foreign properties are actually popular in Moscow and other western cities.
A new Econsultancy post argues that newly proposed rules aiming to remove protections for sites associated with “commercial activity” using WHOIS protection services may cause problems if adopted. The WHOIS protocol allows users to easily locate the names and addresses of webmasters and site owners. WHOIS protection services allow site owners to anonymise this information and have therefore become a target for brands protecting their intellectual property from pirates and other infringers.
However, as the post points out, many of the brands who oppose WHOIS anonymity use it anyway. The widespread use of WHOIS protection services to keep new brand launches under wraps would be one of the main losses if ICANN accepts the proposals. The blog also notes the embarrassment potential involved in defensive domain registrations, another standard practice.
Amazon is continuing its international expansion efforts in India, China, Europe and Canada. In India, they are improving their (already available) Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform. Servers based in India itself will help increase hosting speeds for Indian businesses big and small, with Tata Motors, NDTV and florist Ferns N Petals already announced as partners.
Meanwhile, a scheme where sellers on Amazon can take out loans with the ecommerce giant is being extended to Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK after a successful trial in the US and Japan. Sellers are offered $1,000 to $600,000 loans on a three or six month basis in order to purchase inventory – repayments are taken via the earnings on the platform.
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The cathedral from the Kremlin photo by Flickr user Chris
Old telephone boxes photo by Flickr user Andy Armstrong
Picnic Scene photo by Flickr user synchroswimr
Owl photo by Flickr user Mark A Coleman
Mysore Palace photo by Flickr user Sudarshan V