I recently interviewed Motoko Hunt of AJPR for Search Engine Strategies Chicago where she will be speaking in the Search Around the World: Europe, Asia/Pacific & Latin America panel.

Motoko Hunt

Motoko Hunt

1. What is your background and what do you do for www.ajpr.com?

On my first “real” job, I was a corporate interpreter/translator. Then I got into marketing, and worked as Senior Marketing and Procurement Manager at Japanese trading firm in California. I managed marketing and procurement contracts between the Japanese Government, Japanese Defense Agency, top companies in heavy industry, and the manufactures/suppliers in US. I learned great deal about how the business works locally and Internationally.

Back in mid 90′s, I started to do some web site localization and press release translation work for US businesses targeting Japanese market. Did some display ad purchases, e-mail marketing, site submissions… all the good stuff.

It’s great that now as a Search Marketing Strategist, I get to use my past experiences with language, International business and online marketing work to create search strategies for my clients.

2. International SEM and SEO have become more important in the last few years – what areas should people focus on?

With both SEO and SEM, you need to research the market before you enter. You’ll need the data from keyword research, competitive analysis, market trend, etc. to create effective campaigns.

In Japan, more than 85% of people search to gather information about the services or products that they plan to purchase. Search is what make or break your business now. If you are not sure of the market, the paid campaign is a good way to test the market, keywords and the messages.

If you are targeting Japan, China and Korea, the mobile search is something you should look into as it’s driving so many traffics in these markets.

International SEO and SEM are not just for Multinational Corporations, but also for mid-small businesses. I know many small businesses in US are doing great targeting Europe and/or Asia.

3. What are some resources US search marketers can use to get up to speed on International SEM?

You can find some great information on web. ComScore, Nielsen and eMarketer have great market data. Government websites such as Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has some good data, too.

Many blogs out there are good resources, too. I write about Asia and Japanese markets on my blog and Multilingual Search. WebmasterWorld.com has forums about International markets including Asia.

Also, if your company has offices or partner companies in other countries, talk to them. They know the market and their target audience.

4. What are some campaign successes or failures you can share recently involving a campaign both inside and outside the US?

It’s not a US company, but H&M just landed in Japan this Fall, and creating a good buzz in the market. They opened mobile site back in July about 2 months prior to the opening of the first store in Tokyo. Through online and off line advertising, they pushed people to mobile site where they ran the pre-opening campaigns to draw interests and create an initial customer base.

The press release was picked up by many bloggers and shopping related websites, which created more buzz for them. As a results, when they opened a website (PC version) in September, they had almost 600,000 accesses to the site in the first month.

This example is not just about SEO and SEM, but a great example of how SEO, SEM and mobile marketing should be integrated to bring a success.

5. What are some tips for optimizing your site for multilingual compatibility?

Once you optimize your site structures and templates, you can use the same one for all markets. You shouldn’t need to optimize the same structure and templates again and again. You do need to optimize the content for each market, and here are some issues to keep in mind:

SEO/SEM Guideline – Create a guideline for SEO and SEM campaigns, and train everyone involved in the process using that guideline. Once the process is started, enforce it so that everyone keeps following the guideline. Setting up a good reporting/monitoring system helps, too.

Domain structures – Engines are set to determine the country of the website using the hosting location and the domain’s country code extensions such as “.jp” and “.uk”. Even if you have a site targeting UK, if the domain is structured as www.companydomain.com/uk the site won’t show up in the UK search results when the users set it to search UK websites. At least with Google, you can now set the Geo Targeting to tell Google that www.companydomain.com/uk/ is their UK site.

6. What are the latest flash in the pan “memes” in International SEM and SEO?

“Globalization”. There are numbers of great benefit of Globalizing SEM and SEO campaigns. You can save time, money, manpower, etc. But at the same time, it is a huge challenge especially for a large size corporation to “nail” it at each market. Perhaps, there is less room to localize content, etc. to make it work better in each market. Perhaps, they don’t have enough manpower or budget in each market to take on the localization part of the work.

In Asia, mobile search market has been doing really well, in many cases, more effective than regular SEO/SEM campaigns. But, I haven’t seen it taking off in US at all. Even in Europe, mobile search is not as big as it should’ve been.

7. Where can people find you and get in touch?

I speak at SES Chicago and other conferences in US, Europe and Asia including SES, SMX and AdTech. I’m managing SEMPO Asia committee, and attend SEMPO meetings in US especially the ones in NY and New England. I can be reached at motoko “at” ajpr.com. E-mail is the best way to reach me at least initially, since I’m out of US frequently. I’m on Facebook, Twitter (motokohunt) and Linkedin.
Marketing.fm is a Media Partner with SES

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