International Search Summit – Interview with Miranda Gahrmann

Miranda Gahrmann is a well known international consultant and speaker. Based in Dubai, Miranda will be coming to Barcelona for International Search Summit. With two Masters degrees, one in in Digital Marketing and the other in Brand Management, plus working in The Netherlands, Greece and Spain to name a few, Miranda certainly knows her international search. Miranda speaks with Authoritas and shares some of what she will be presenting at International Search Summit.

Miranda Gahrmann – presenting at Conductor C3

You will be speaking about ” How to scale technical seo internationally”, how did you do this for Randstad?

Before Randstad I worked 4,5 years for Philips in their global team and they have websites across 75 markets. Randstad has websites across 39 markets. A large difference between the two companies is that Philips has a centralized approach where the development happens from the global office, whereas Randstad has a more decentralized approach and multiple markets have their own CMS and hosting, not connected to any of the sites in the other markets.

This decentralized approach brings more complexity to technical SEO. For example with hreflang tags. Hreflang tags only work if the URLs from markets are referring to each other. I prefer to automate hreflang tags where possible, but if the websites of markets are not connected with each other, then one CMS doesn’t know about the existence of a URL in another market and vice versa. 

One important approach to scale technical SEO for Randstad has been to migrate websites to use the same CMS that allows for custom plugins. The advantage of that is that although each market has their own site, we could built modules once and then distributed to each market easily.

Where did you study your masters in Digital Marketing?

I did my masters from 2012 – 2013 at IE Business School in Madrid. At that time the offer in courses and masters in digital was very minimal. I started working in SEO in 2008, so when I came across that study, I was sold. More info:

Would you recommend a masters in digital marketing? Did it help structure/put into context the work you do?

I found the master very interesting. The best learning came from broadening my scope and tapping into digital marketing rather than just SEO. I found it very valuable to get the full overview of the digital landscape and how SEO and paid search falls into that. It also helped me a lot in communicating with other teams in the company as I better understood their language, work and principles, and to look at the broader digital marketing strategy and objectives.  And in 2012, IE was already very mobile focused. With our final project, we were strongly encouraged to choose a project that had mobile as focus as that was announced to be the future.

Miranda at Digimarcon

Can you recommend any technical SEO courses for those in our field to attend?

I learned a lot from working closely together with developers, attending conferences, building sites myself, and doing online courses. Nowadays there are a lot more courses available online to speed up knowledge. I don’t have a specific technical SEO course to recommend, but I would advice to look into sites as Udemy and build a site yourself to get the hands-on experience too.

What are the biggest issues you face when scaling technical SEO?

If resources in IT are limited, it’s very hard to get SEO stories through. With one of the large companies I worked for, we had to lobby 1,5 year to get breadcrumbs back on the site. When resources are available and they understand the importance of SEO, it’s much easier to get user stories on the roadmap and show bigger impact in results. Also, when CMS across markets are not connected with each other, it’s hard to implement automated solutions for hreflang tags whereas that’s very needed.

Miranda Gahrmann on a panel

What is a common pitfall with a site migration?

As a site migration demands also quite some time from the markets for reviewing pages and in a worse case a manual migration of the content, often it gets decided that we don’t need all this content anymore and to continue with a cleaner site. Usually that is a recipe for traffic loss, especially when these pages were receiving quite some traffic. I prefer a site migration where the content is all migrated to isolate changes and to see if an increase or a decline is caused by the new site. At a later stage the content can then be updated to make sure it aligns with the company goals and brand identity, while keeping SEO guidelines in mind.

Thank you Miranda for taking the time to be interviewed. We are looking forward to seeing you in Barcelona. There are just a few tickets remaining, use the AUTH10 code when purchasing your ticket for International Search Summit.


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