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How a localized SEO campaign delivered global market share, lifted revenue



Wolfgang Digital’s SEO team. Image: Wolfgang Digital.

For businesses looking to expand and grow internationally, SEO can play an important role in scaling growth. Last year, the London-based Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) was looking to gain market diversity to protect against macro-environmental factors such as the Brexit referendum.

Looking at search volume for high-volume keywords relevant to the digital marketing training provider’s offerings, its digital agency Wolfgang Digital suggested focusing on the U.S. market to scale the business. “With responsibility for global expansion resting on search channels, the tactics had to focus on scaling quickly, regionalising the messaging, and driving efficiency,” said Wolfgang Digital, which won the 2019 Search Engine Land Awards for SEO agency of the year.

The objective was to increase leads and revenue from the U.S. market quickly within a limited budget.

SEO localization tactics to spur growth

Wolfgang Digital used a mixed of technical SEO efforts, including creating internationalized subdirectories, hreflang tag implementation and Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools localizations.

The team also developed a content calendar process that focused on interests, geography and calendar event data. To meet DMI’s international search goals, the agency knew DMI’s online content would have to have a hyper-localized approach and take cultural nuances into consideration, even across English-speaking markets. Automated reporting pulls search volume, Google Search Console and Google Ads data together, “displaying insights to fully internationalise a website based on user intent and conversion-likelihood,” said Wolfgang Digital.

The campaign encompassed “international SEO implementation, and how to spot opportunities within global markets,” said Luke Fitzgerald, Head of SEO for Wolfgang Digital about DMI’s SEO campaign, “It had content optimization and localization, and how to differentiate offerings to different geographic user bases. And, it had off-page SEO strategy, and how to outreach different, relevant and authoritative publications within different regions.”  

New market becomes top performer

In seven months, the campaign generated a 75% increase in total organic traffic across DMI’s international markets, including the U.S., Australia and Canada, resulting in a 15% year-over-year increase in overall business revenue. The U.S. has overtaken the U.K., which had been the top performing market in terms of sales-qualified leads.

Conversion rates increased significantly, even as traffic rose. The team incorporated conversion rate optimization and UX testing as part of the campaign efforts.

Fitzgerald credits much of the campaign’s success to his agency’s internal cross-functional communication paired with external client communication. “Through innovative conceptualization and close integration with the paid search team and constant communication and collaboration with our client’s own great in-house team; the performance element was only a matter of time,” said Fitzgerald.

“With this balanced blend of technical, on-page and off-page SEO, we felt it represented the best of our work as a full-service international SEO agency, and it helped demonstrate that it’s important to get each of these elements right for a sustainable, prolonged growth and expansion within a competitive market and help grow the client’s organic visibility and, ultimately, their bottom line,” said Fitzgerald.

The team identified a set of top priority keywords and split them into tiers based on feasibility as well as where ranking improvements would drive the most value. DMI’s search visibility across the keyword set increased from 31% to 42% during the campaign.

A backlinking strategy included building links to the localized /us/ subdirectory throughout the campaign period.

Tools of the trade

In addition to Google and Bing’s native tools, Wolfgang Digital used SEOmonitor for reporting, Screaming Frog to identify technical site issues and pages lacking localised metadata and hreflang reporting. Sitebulb further helped validate hreflang across multiple domains and sitemaps.

The team also used SEMRush for keyword research and tracking and BuzzSumo for better understanding what’s working in DMI’s vertical in the U.S.

“Often times, as we get caught up in the day-to-day of running a team or client campaigns, we don’t take time to reflect and take a holistic overview of how we’re performing and what the growth trajectory looks like,” said Fitzgerald in considering the team’s Search Engine Land Award win.

“The hard work starts now in knuckling down and maintaining this high standard and ensuring the lessons learnt from this success are effectively disseminated and applied to other clients as part of a virtuous circle of learning and continuous improvement,” said Fitzgerald.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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Want to speak at SMX West? Here’s how



Want to showcase your knowledge of search marketing to our SMX West attendees? We’d love to hear from you, and if you wow us with your proposal we’ll invite you to speak at the conference. To increase the odds of being selected, be sure to read the agenda. Understand what the sessions are about. Ensure that your pitch is on target to the show’s audience and the session. Please also be very specific about what you intend to cover. Also, if you do not see a particular session listed, this is because there are no openings for that session. Use this form to submit your request.

PLEASE NOTE: We have changed the pitch process. We’ve put together session titles that we plan to run at the show, and we’re looking for you to tell us what key learning objectives and takeaways you’ll offer to attendees. Detailed instructions are on the pitch form.

As you might guess, interest is high in speaking at SMX conferences. We literally sift through hundreds of submissions to select speakers for the show. Here are some tips that will increase your chances of being selected.

Pitch early: Submitting your pitch early gives you a better chance of being selected. Coordinators accept speakers as soon as they identify a pitch that they think best fits the session, just like colleges that use a rolling admissions policy. So pitching early increases the likelihood you’ll be chosen.

Use the form: The speaker pitch form ( is the way to ask to speak. There’s helpful information there about how your pitch should be written and what it should contain.

Write it yourself and be specific: Lots of pitches come in that are not specific to the session. This is the most effective ways to ensure that your pitch is ignored. And this year, we’re no longer accepting pitches written by anyone other than a proposed speaker. If you’re a thought leader, write the pitch yourself… and make certain that it is 100% focused on the session topic.

“Throw your best pitch:” We’re limiting the number of pitches to three per person, so please pitch for the session(s) where you really feel you’ll offer SMX attendees your best.

NEW: SMX Insights Sessions. What are they? 8-10 minute solo sessions that pack a punch and wow attendees with content they can’t and won’t see anywhere else. Tactical. Specific. Actionable. Speakers are challenged to deliver the goods in a limited amount of time: one must-try tactic, one nugget of sage advice, or one takeaway that makes you more productive. Have a gem to share with your colleagues? Pitch your idea and you may make it to the SMX stage!

You’ll be notified: Everyone who pitches to speak will be notified by email whether you are accepted or not.

And don’t delay—the pitch forms for each session will close as sessions are filled, with everything closing Friday, November 29.

About The Author

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Video: Danny Sullivan, Google Public Liaison of Search, on his transition from Search Engine Land to Google



We have a special video interview for you all at Search Engine Land. We interviewed Danny Sullivan, the founder of Search Engine Land and the search community, in a two-part series.

In part one, we asked Danny about his early days in the industry to him ultimately deciding to retire from his role at Search Engine Land / Third Door Media. Then accepting a job a few months later to work with the Google Search team as the Google Public Liaison of Search.

Part two is more about what it is like to work at Google and how he sees things differently as a Googler than when he was working on search from outside of Google.

Here is part one:

I started this vlog series recently, and if you want to sign up to be interviewed, you can fill out this form on Search Engine Roundtable. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here.

About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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Google Ads Editor update includes support for Discovery campaigns



Yes, the editing pane is still awkwardly placed to take up a giant chunk of the right side of the screen, but Google Ads Editor’s latest version does offer some handy updates.

Edit pane. Speaking of that edit pane, now you can at least condense some fields to hide them so there’s a bit less scrolling. (That doesn’t mean irrelevant sections no longer show, however. You’re still going to have to scroll past a grayed-out “Shopping settings” when you’re in a Search campaign, for example.)

Shared negative keyword lists. If you’ve built out broadly applicable negative keyword lists, you can now share those across accounts in the Shared Library in Editor. (Shared Library is located under “Account-level” in the left navigation pane.)

Search for errors. You can search for similar errors across your campaigns or accounts. In the search bar, type “rule” or “violation” and you’ll see a list of options. Similarly, when you find an error or warning, you can click on the “Show violations” link at the bottom of the screen to see them all.

New campaign support. If you are running App campaigns for engagement or have access to Discovery campaigns in beta, you can now create and edit them in Editor.

Why we should care. These changes are relatively minor, but may save you some campaign management time, particularly if you’re using the newly supported campaign types. It’s also a pretty good sign that the Discovery campaigns beta is coming along. At the very least, it’s a good reminder to check how and if you’ve applied your negative keyword lists.

About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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