I was able to ask Martin Sinner from the price-comparison site Idealo a few questions centering arround SEO and the price-comparison market in the run-up to the Search Engine Stragegies in Hamburg.
SISTRIX: Hallo Martin, if you could please, for all those who do not know you, give us a short introduction on your background.
Martin: I believe the essentials are these: Established Idealo in the beginning of 2000 and put it online at www.idealo.de in the end of 2000. The company has become profitable in 2003 and in Juli of 2004 we started our first foreign page at www.idealo.at. In 2005 we started our flightcomparison: flug.idealo.de. The Axel Springer AG became our majority-owner in September of 2006 and with their help we started our first print-advertising campaign through various Axel Springer-media outlets in November of 2006 (at a gross-volume of 4 Million EUR). In the meantime we now have more than 100 employees, all of whom work in Berlin and are administering and developing price-comparisions in 5 countries. We have about 4,5 million users a month who use the content Idealo provides, more than 3 million of them are from Germany.
Idealo is one of the few price-comparison websites who are continually successful in searchengines. Do you have any advice for inhouse-SEO-work?
First of all, we always try to build a good product with original content. This, in my opinion, is the elemental prerequisite for a good listing. Google is doing a lot to identify the creator of the content to put them in a better position than those who only copy the content. This is especially good for us since we research the product information ourselves. We are, furthermore, making sure that searchengines are able to easily reach our content and that we have a clear navigation structure and that we do not (accidentally) duplicate our content ourselves.
While Google has been very successful with its own services in many categories, Froogle, Google’s product-index and price-comparison, failed. What do you think are the reasons for that?
I do not see Froogle as failed. Google Products (the new name for Froogle) has already been expanded by a catalog in the US. Google ultimately has a conflict of interest here since the large price-comparison sites are excellent customers which Google does not want to drive away.
You are keynote-speaker in the forthcoming SES in Hamburg. How do you evaluate the development and professionalizing of Germany’s SEO-scene over the last few years and in which direction will this voyage continue?
The professionalizing has advanced enormously and is surprising me in many areas. The industry will surely become more diversified while at the same time it will become harder and harder to gain access to Customers. Large network-agencies will strengthen their position by acquiring SEO-agencies who will, in turn, get access to the networks customers. The Stars will not be bothered by this but those who are unable to diversify themselves will have a hard time ahead of them. The exciting developments in the areas of SEO/SEM are naturally also a reason why I am happy to be at the SES. The flood of information has long ago become so comprehensive that this kind of event is quite helpful.
Concluding, what trends do you see heading our way in the SEO-area and which other developments are you watching with interest at the time?
I find it exciting what will happen in the area of consolidation. Lone warriors will form alliances, expand their portfolios and thereby become more efficient. Not everyone will be able to develop (or enhance) their own analytical-tools since the requirements will keep getting more complex. As far as SEO trends are concerned, I do not see anything that goes beyond the currently discussed themes of punishment for link-purchase and -sale and the influence of the quality-raters.