Search Landscape in The UK & Europe, SearchEngine Strategies NYC 2008

global searchAs mentioned in part 1 of the “Search Around the World” Series, what do you do when your primary markets are hyper competitive, and increasing sales or marketshare is extremely difficult or expensive? Answer … expand to secure a presence in different countries.

In many cases, the economic and business climates of Europe and the UK will be closest to our own here in North America, and therefore make the most logical first step to expanding abroad.

If this is something you’re considering as a firm, or might consider, then understanding more about the intricacies of those regions is crucial. Here are some opinions from experts currently operating in those regions.

Andrew Girdwood, Head of Search, bigmouthmedia
Brits love cell phones. There are more cell phones in fact in the UK than people. Text messaging is really big too. Other unique factors include the fact that UK media is nationwide, not really regional.

Total UK population is roughly 60.5 million. For the most part, Brits do trust the internet, and do alot of e-commence online. They will willingly purchase online.

How do Brits perceive Google quality?
When searching Google:
paid 2007 82%, 2008 82.33
organic 2007 6%, 2008 4.66%
Perception of quality of paid search is decreasing, organic search is increasing on the other hand.

Google currently has a program to bring agencies into Adwords … they pay UK agencies 15%. This is ending next year, which means many large Google Accounts will be looking for new search agencies. Good opportunity for quality companies.

Another interesting phenomenon is that the FSA has a role in Europe … when Google won’t respond quickly to complaints of paid links, the FSA will act almost immediately.

Some other internet issues in the uk
– child safety
– privacy and data security

Thomas Bindl, Founder and CEO, Refined Labs GmbH
Thomas Chosen as 1 of Germany’s top 52 internet people … congrats Thomas!
82.3 million population, with a GDP per capita of $33,200. 53 million Germans online, and $49 billion spent online.

Search Engine marketshare; Google – 95-98%, then Yahoo, Ask, and MSN in order.

Rough keyword cost per click:
loan 4.99 lbs
mortgage 3.87 lbs
online marketing 3.93 lbs
contact lenses 2.44 lbs

State of the industry in Germany; 94.1% of advertisers use Google. 48% of advertisers do ppc inhouse. Results tracking is used by over 80% of advertisers.

THere are some language intricacies. Fluent Germans should be utilized to ensure keywords and descriptive text is optimized. Key distinctions

Sebastien Langlois, CEO, Aposition
More than 30 million French connected … most in broadband.

google 87%
MSN 3%
Yahoo 3%
Voila 2%
others 5%

Top subjects requested in FRance
entertainment 1/3
computers and internet 28%
business and economy 20%

Of interest: Women are more looking for holidays/vacations, where men look much more for technology. Teenagers also look for technology and jobs.

Mobile search is not prevalent.

Specific French issues:
a. word accentuation (the same word with different accentuation can mean “to sleep with” or “diapers” or various others meanings too.
b. Polysemy (pronunciation c hanges the meaning of a word).
Again, it takes someone fluent in French to optimize campaigns, and not risk insulting people.


Joost de Valk, Search Strategist, Onetomarket
4rth largest country in Europe in terms of ad spend, so do not discount it. Many multinationals based in the Netherlands. TomTom, Heinekin, ING, etc.

Internet penetration of 87.8%, 16% more than the U.S. Online ad spend is $6 billion. 52% of which is spent on search.

Marketshare; Google 93%, 2%, Ilse 1% (carries Google ads).

Dutch language is halfway between German and English. 6 million in Belgium speak Flemish. Keywords must be targeted in both singular and plural variations.

Interesting sites: is the start page for many in the Netherlands.

There is lots of spam:
– aggressive link buying
– link farms

Jeff Quipp is President of Search Engine People Inc..

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