Jaron Schaechter - Managing Director of Skiinfo Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Benelux.

Montag, 25. Februar 2008

European Search Engine Maturity

It`s done... I have spoken at SES. First of all, I`d like to say that I truely enjoyed it and that I believe that Mike Grehan and Kevin Ryan (and all the others that are not in the spotlight) did a terrific job organising SES London. It was a great experience and I went home invigorated and with a list of action items for XNX.

During my session about European Search Engine Marketing, I provided my (purely subjective and based on gut-feeling) view on Search Engine Maturity in different markets:

•USA (SEO 2008) – Universal, Blended Search, Local
•UK / Germany / Netherlands (SEO 2007) – Leading in Europe
•Scandinavia (SEO 2005) – Skilled users, SEs are still working on local language
•Eastern Europe (SEO 1999) – Strong competition and expansion, grey hat still works

Now this has been an item I did get quite some feedback on... with people asking me about my opinions on Spain, France and South America. I must admit that I cannot comment on these as I have no experience whatsoever. However I would like to provide a couple of bullet-points on why I believe in the view above based on a few examples:

UK / Germany / Netherlands: In terms of Universal and blended Search, I see the things starting to materialise now that Mike warned us about in May 2007. Also Google gets better at understanding stemming in these languages and it is a longer process to get a very competitive positioning.

Scandinavia: In Norway we do see that small, basic measures (e.g. URL rewrite) can still have an enourmous effect within days. In Finland I see that Google is not necessarily the market leader for the long tail (watch this video to understand what long tail means in a language as complex as Finish).

Eastern Europe: Now this is an interesting one. I have two reasons for my assessment. In Poland I have seen sites applying a massive amount of grey hat or black hat tactics... with a lot of success. Subjectively I`d say, that they don`t get banned as easily / fast as they would in Germany or the US. That is probably due to the competition from local players (that do a better job at understanding the local language) such as Netsprint and Onet. In Czech Republic seznam.cz is still the market leader with just over 70% market share. And their spidering process looks 1999 to me: They still have huge problems with dynamic pages... especially if you have parameter based URLs.

I would be interested in hearing varying opinions on this.

And a last word from Thomas and myself: Jim, thanks for the great dinner!

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