Berlin, the capital city of Germany, is arguably the most competitive market for business in Europe. With a population of almost 1.9 million people and nearly 300 days of sunshine a year, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for your business to thrive.
In our view, one of the best places for a foreign business to start an operation is in Italy. However, until recently, it has been difficult to gain exposure and develop a strong online presence in this market. That is, until Local SEO in Italy took off. Now, with the right tools and a little bit of ingenuity, it’s possible to rise to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Why Are Search Engine Results Important?
If you’re unfamiliar, search engine results pages (SERPs) are the organic results that pop up when a user enters a keyword into the search bar of a major search engine.
These are the pages that Google, Bing, and other search engines rank and display in their results. Essentially, they’re what you’d get if you entered a keyphrase into a search engine and chose “An image-based search for [keyword]”.
In other words, these are the pages that a potential customer clicks on after they’ve performed a Google search.
Now, it’s important to note that not all of these clicks will translate to paying customers or revenue. However, they all have the potential to do so. In other words, the more organic traffic (and potentially, revenue) that you get from a single source, the better. Especially when that source is a top-tier search engine.
The Growth Of Organic Search Engine Results In Italy
To prove our point, let’s take a look at the growth of organic search engine results in Italy over the past few years.
As shown in the graph below, from January 2015 to April 2019, searches performed on Google and Bing increased by 123% and 75% respectively. Additionally, the average order value per search increased by 111% for Google and 49% for Bing. Finally, searches performed on mobile phones quadrupled for both Google and Bing.
What’s interesting is that while exact-match searches (entries with the exact keyword) grew by 123% for Google and 75% for Bing, expanded-match searches (keywords plus wildcard characters) grew by only 49% and 24% respectively. Which indicates that while exact-match searches grew due to increased competition and consumer demand, expanded-match searches probably grew due to new channels and platforms which weren’t included in the search engine’s index.
Put simply, the growth of organic search engine results in Italy is undeniable. Especially considering the steep competition and digital marketing overhead in Berlin. Which begs the question: is it possible to beat the European market and enjoy a similar type of growth in a remote location like U.S.A or Australia?
The Evolution Of Online Marketing In Italy
To answer that question, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Back in 2012, Google estimated that there were around 600 million unique users visiting the platform on an average day. In 2018, that number grew to 1.7 billion.
Bing saw similar growth, estimating that there were around 650 million unique users as recently as 2018. However, due to the platform’s limited capabilities (it was originally built for computers), that number is slowly declining as people turn to more specialized search engines like YouTube, Amazon, and Instagram for search and discovery.
2018 VS 2012: THE DIFFERENCE
Here’s a fun fact: from June 2018 to May 2019, YouTube views increased from 300 million to 500 million per day. That’s an increase of 75%.
However, while average daily views on YouTube increased from 300 to 500 million, Instagram posted an increase of 109% with daily average views going from 20 million to 35 million.
Overall, the line between video (e.g. YouTube) and social media (e.g. Instagram) has blurred as content can now live across all platforms. This content is consumed on all devices and can be tailored to fit any screen size.
Additionally, the platforms make it easy for businesses to become visible to consumers. Especially now that businesses can purchase ads, sponsored content, and image credits through various tools on the platforms.
The Role Of Search Engine Optimization In Online Marketing
To get a strong footing in the Italian market, it’s important to note that search engine optimization (SEO) plays a pivotal role in online marketing.
Optimization, in this case, refers to the process of raising the search engine ranking of a given website. The higher a website’s ranking in search results, the higher the number of visitors the business will receive.
There are different approaches to SEO, but the two primary strategies are on-site and off-site optimization.
On-site optimization focuses on the structure and content of a given website. Which include things like the HTML (hypertext markup language), the heading, and the body of a given article. While off-site optimization focuses on the quality and volume of links pointing to the website.
Additionally, SEO considers how search engines work and what makes a website unique and relevant to its target audience. For instance, if you’re targeting investors, it’s likely that you’ll want to optimize the site for finance-related searches.
There are several tools businesses can use to perform SEO, including Google’s famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) SEO tool, Google Analytics. With Analytics, you can track the performance of every SEO effort you make, from raising your site’s rank to attracting more organic traffic to your site.
Local SEO: THE ULTIMATE MARKETING STRATEGY
Thanks to the rise of local SEO, marketing to consumers near you has become much easier.
Instead of searching for global keywords and hoping that your website shows up on the first page of search results, you can target local keywords and be sure that you’ll find relevant results in a matter of minutes.
How Do Search Engines Work?
To understand how search engines work, it’s important to know a little bit about how digital marketing works.
When someone types in a search query into the search bar of a major search engine, the search engine immediately identifies their intent and seeks to fulfill that intent through results it displays.
To identify their intent, search engines utilize a combination of factors, including the keywords (word or phrase) that the person entered into the search bar, the location of the person entering the search bar, and the device the person is using to search.
When a user enters the location ‘Berlin’, one of the first results that will pop up on a Google search is a map with local listings, as seen below:
How Can I Practice Local SEO?
As mentioned, the first step to practicing local SEO is identifying the right keywords relevant to your niche. That is, you’ll want to find keywords that will make your business stand out and allow you to draw in potential customers from all over Europe.
What’s Trending In My City?
While you may not always want to rely on keyword research alone to get results, it’s still the most effective tool for digital marketers.
Taking the query ‘trending in my city’ (in this case, Berlin), we can see that the top result is none other than TripAdvisor’s special listing of the top restaurant trends in Berlin. As seen below:
An Example Of A Successful Local Campaign
Let’s take a look at what one of our clients in New York, USA, achieved through local SEO.
On behalf of one of our clients, we will use the name ‘Lisa’ to protect the client’s identity.
During the week of April 15, 2019, the client launched a digital marketing campaign with the goal of driving local organic searches for their brand, Lisa.
To kick things off, they optimized a website for their target audience, focusing on the keywords and phrases they determined to be most impactful to their bottom line.
Specifically, they aimed to rank for the following competitive keywords and phrases: