Key Takeaways From The International SEO School

Key Takeaways From The International SEO School

7th August 2012

A few months ago the International SEO School launched. And the school (on which I myself am also a trainer) decided it wanted to give some extra attention to talents so it gave away two scholarships. We received a lot of applications and in the end there were two winners who both attended the first series of the SEO School in Barcelona.

The two winners were asked to share their experiences of their week in Barcelona. And both of them did. Below you can find the experiences of Michael Rurup Andersen and Gary Wells. They share what they have learned and why it benefitted them. Enjoy!

Key Takeaways From The International SEO School

The experience of Michael Rurup Andersen (iProspect)


I was lucky to enough participate (I was one of the winners of the scholarship competition) in an intense three day SEO training course in Barcelona, which covered a wide variety of SEO topics. This SEO School is a relatively new initiative by WebCertain, and its goal is to provide an extensive view into the international search and social landscape during the three day course.

The three days were divided into the following topic; day one was about culture & content, compatibility, and connections & conversions (the five C’s). Through the course I picked up quite a few tips and tricks but here are a few of my key takeaways.

Day 1 – Culture & Content

In an international scenario some companies are likely to copy-paste content and hence the conversion funnel when entering new market e.g. from a .com domain to a .cn domain which might not be the best of ideas. As a company wanting to market ones product or service in another country it is of must importance to take factors such as local customs into consideration when entering new markets. Therefore the first days’ lessons and workshops covered culture and content factors in an international search and social world.

The key takeaways were to construct a market roll-out scorecard before entering new markets to help ease the transition. A market scorecard could include factors from;

  • Web-analytics
  • A thorough keyword research
  • By identifying international & local competition
  • Technical challenges (usability, local hosting, infra structure and search engines)
  • Currency & e-commerce (Payment methods, currency issues, Taxation, import/export laws)

Day 2 – Compatibility

Day two offered –in my eyes – some really beefy content and learnings. The focus of this day was how to identify and what to take into consideration when a company wants to target multiple markets by insuring the compatibility to all the different search engines. The key term here is geo-targeting management and what would be considered best practice SEO when facing the issue to get the right content displayed to the right target audience.  This becomes a comprehensive issue when factors such as Google domain, keyword language tag and IP location affects the displaying of the company’s content e.g. when marketing products to both customers in Austria and Germany  – one of the main issues would be getting the right content indexed in the right search engine to the right target audience.

Key takeaways from the day;

  • Telling Google what is targeted at who and where
  • Local languages vs World languages
  • How to build a search engine and how it works
  • How and where to use Hreflang tag

Day 3 – Connections & Conversions

The subjects covered on this day were something I were quite familiar with, since spending most of my waking hours reading about or doing link building. This is a profession which has been changed dramatically over the past year or so with the different algo updates from Google. But one of the most important factors is still to rank locally. The different tactics and what factors to take into consideration when building links were discussed and what is most important to focus on – also in terms on what to metrics to measure and why.

From link building tactics we went on to cover mobile strategy in an international perspective, covering mobile behavior, structure and apps.

Key takeaways

  • How to make an international mobile strategy
  • The purchasing funnel through social, mobile and local


These were my key takeaways from the SEO international School. There were of course much more content then mentioned above but most of it I all ready knew hence not included in my key takeaways. I would recommend this three day course for anyone who is somewhere between beginner and intermediate level doing international SEO. Depending on the composition of the group of participants you can really dig into subjects and get your money’s worth even if you are on an advanced level.

This was really a good experience and I want to thank the good people of State of Search and WebCertain for the opportunity to participate in the international SEO School – I really enjoyed it.

International SEO School – Barcelona 19 – 22nd June 2012

The experience of Gary Wells – SEO Analyst – Independent News & Media (Northern Ireland).

In June this year, I was very fortunate to receive one of two scholarships to attend the International SEO School in Barcelona, courtesy of WebCertain, the company behind the International Search Summit. The course was led by none other than international search specialist and CEO of Web Certain – Andy Atkins-Krüger.

Day 1 – Culture & Content

The purpose of these study topics was to help us to gain a clearer understanding of what corporations need to investigate before making roll-out choices in new markets. The main idea here, was to show how making assumptions – based on strategies used in other markets can lead to devastating results. Researching analytics, competition, keywords, e-commerce and language can highlight cultural differences that may not have been easily identified prior to entering a particular market, and could be the difference between success and failure.

Day 2 – Compatibility

The ideas discussed during day two were based around discovering ways to ensure that we show the right content, to the right people, at the right time. Sounds easy. It’s not. However, after spending a lot of time discussing topics like: how Google prioritises certain compatibility factors, local/world and non-google languages, geo-selection etc. you leave with a better idea of how to develop an SEO strategy that can help you do just that.

Day 3 – Connections & Conversions

The final day started off by focusing on the importance of links, reputation and connections globally. This led on to how we benchmark and measure KPIs in a global environment and how, with good planning we can avoid the, sometimes unseen, risks of analysing and comparing data from different countries/cultures to make business decisions. Our focus was then shifted to Google’s knowledge graph, places/local and maps. The course ended with a big focus on the ever-growing mobile marking and how best to develop SEO strategies for mobile.

One of the most appealing factors of International SEO School, is the intimacy of the group sessions. The course is designed to have no more than 12 students – this allows it to flow naturally at the pace of the group. This is an important course for any company with or contemplating expanding their international presence. The bonding experience gained from this course alone, would lead me to recommend this course to, not just digital marketers, but full digital marketing teams.

Learn more about the International SEO School and other workshop possibilities on State of Search


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