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Asia Search Update: Yahoo Algo Transition Goes to India, Google Eyes Southeast Asia

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map-asia-pacificWhile the global search alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft has completed in the U.S. and Canada, the transition is slowly making its way to Asia.

Yahoo’s organic search results are scheduled to transition to Microsoft Bing for the India market, a process that is expected to be completed by mid-September, according to a company spokesperson.

In Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand has undergone the Yahoo Microsoft transition since December 2010.

It is unclear how Yahoo’s algorithm transition will impact organic search results for Chinese speaking cities such as Hong Kong and Taiwan where Yahoo search continues to dominate.

Meanwhile, Yahoo released its Net Index Study for Southeast Asia to provide consumer insights for advertisers targeting the emerging markets.

Filipinos Search a lot for Entertainment

According to the study in partnership with Nielsen, search plays a significant role in the overall engagement on the Internet at 80 percent as Filipinos go online for leisure and entertainment activities from listening to international music (68 percent), local music (65 percent), viewing photos and videos (59 percent) to playing games (55 percent).

Social networking (82 percent) is also popular among Filipino youths and a dominant Internet activity comparable to search in the country.

With a lot of online activity focused on entertainment and social networking, it is no surprise that the 10 to 29 year old demographic remains the core audience segment that drives Internet adoption in the Philippines.

Malaysians Lead Southeast Asia Counterparts in Social Networking

Social networking (90 percent) is the dominant platform where Malaysians connect and communicate and it has increased by 29 percent since 2010, based on results in conjunction with research firm Synovate.

Accessing search engines comes a close second at 89 percent as an activity that fuels Internet usage in the country, followed by email and visiting online portals.

Malaysians are becoming increasingly comfortable transacting online with 40 percent purchased goods through the Internet using their credit cards. The report noted that the three sectors with the most e-commerce potential include offering airline tickets on deal aggregator sites, followed by clothes and mobile phones.

Google Expands Presence in Southeast Asia, to Hire 500 in Region

North Asia may be one region where Google doesn’t always dominate due to other players like Baidu and Naver. But in Southeast Asia, the search giant continues to assert its presence.

Google opened a new office in Bangkok, Thailand a fortnight ago, the second operation in the region this year after it set up shop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in January.

The Internet firm plans to hire about 100 people in Southeast Asia alone and 400 more in the region this year.

In Singapore, Google’s regional office established in 2007 employs around 250 staff.

Google has plans to open an office in Indonesia as early as this October or before 2012, targeting small and medium-sized businesses, according to media reports.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was in Indonesia in July to meet with the vice president to discuss the company’s interest in expanding in the country. He told the paper that the increasing Internet and mobile penetration in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, along with the use of its search engine, made Indonesia interesting to Google.

SEO Tactics for Naver

Naver commands more than 70 percent market share in South Korea, making it the fifth most used search engine in the world, following Google, Yahoo, Baidu, and Bing. While Naver offers a variety of results on a single page from blogs, websites to images, a key challenge is in how it treats SEO listings. Andy Radovic, head of digital GroupM Japan shares three tested strategies to help gain more visibility in Naver and improve overall SEO approach in the country.

Smartphone Search for Japan

Based on an annual white paper from Impress R&D on Japan’s latest Internet data, Motoko Hunt, search consultant for AJPR and chairman of SEMPO Asia Pacific Committee, outlined the rise of Twitter and Facebook in Japan. She advised including smartphone search marketing in the online marketing mix if you are targeting the 20- to 40- year-old demographic. Tablet use is also on the rise with iPad a clear leader and competitor Galaxy Tab needs to work harder to close the gap.

Google Analytics Faces Big Challenges in China

Although Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool for online marketers worldwide, not so in Mainland China, Michael Xu, senior VP of business operations at Gridsum and co-chairman for SEMPO Greater China said. From client interactions in the field, he stated two reasons why. Will this present more opportunity for other analytics firms to enter China – the world’s biggest Internet population at more than 485 million users?

SEM Tools to Target China

To do online marketing in China, you need search and social in the mix. Microblogging, in particular cannot be ignored because based on the latest CNNIC study, more than 195 million users are currently on the platform. Gordon Choi, senior manager at local online travel portal Ctrip offers three steps for advertisers to plan their search campaign from trend research, keyword research, and process automation on Baidu and Sina Weibo, one of the more popular microblogging site in the country.


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