Detlev Johnson is the moderator for this session and opens up talking about how marketing needs to learn about the search space and bringing back those ideas to the IT department to help do their job better.
The session starts with Bill Hunt from Global Strategies International with his presentation titled: Working Together – Selling Your Plan. He will be talking on both points and covering another speakers material. He starts saying you need to start a centralized search marketing program. Your central team handles everything you need to do in one place in your organization. They build out a search engine marketing leadership council. They also put in place a management system for search engine marketing. Established to govern SEM activities and communications. This helps improves collective results and various expectations. The first thing they ask for with a new client is ask for a style guide. Set technical standards to control spider traps such as frames, pop-ups, flash, cookies, and so on. If the client doesn’t have a style guide, then they help them create one. They keep it up to date and keep it fresh. The other thing is the program needs to be broken down into layers such as a pyramid structure who tasks for each group. Infrastructure at the bottom, coding in the middle, and content at the top. He says to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder.
You should also train your team. Explain why search is important they all want the site to be successful and they all search themselves. Training is important to help set the fundamentals. The specialists on your extended search team need different training in their own languages. Bill next talks about tops for getting your SEM budget. There is rarely any “new money” so give solid justification of what should be and the business case for change. SEM money usually comes from other projects that have been cut. Be sure to understand the goals of the current budget allocations and show how search can compliments or increase results over current spend. Also, explain competitive pressures and missed opportunities. Provide details of “total cost of ownership”. Often how much internal money is not accounted for. At IBM, they call is blue dollars. Prepare for turf warfare and budget battles.
The first things they do is try to explain search. Example, US paid search expenditures 2003 was 2 billion. He also explains that if we are not ranked well we will lose. Portals are the number one way customers find new web sites (Forrester). 55% of web users expect to find top brands in the top few results (iProspect 2002 Survey). 95% of corporate purchasing agents use the web to research products and services before selection. Also if they can’t find it, they can’t buy it. So how many search visitors come to buy? The right search result puts the visitor in the “learn” stage to view a product page. The other big one is that most executives are competitive. “The competition is doing it or doing it better”. Be sure to show competitors ad and positions.
One of the best ways to make people play along is a missed opportunity matrix. Is it a carrot or a stick? The matrix shows a list of keywords, there monthly and annul searches and also how much traffic they are getting. You can show areas for improvement and for flavor show where they currently rank in Google. So what is the best tactic he asks. It’s a more effective tactic vs. other forms? Tell them we’ll spend the money well”. We will experiment with small amounts of money. We can buy second teir keyword phrases at lower cost per click. Once we make the major changes major benefits. We will measure constantly for keyword, bad performing keywords, spend, and so on.
The second speaker is Marshall Simmonds from New York Times Company. When you think about the NY Times as a company its big and well organized. Instead he found there was a big ego, and a good deal of challenges. In there whole network of 11 million articles, it’s a huge amount of content. Most of it is unoptimized. The NY Times has an IT department and high security on their website. There isn’t much room for big changes, it has to be small changes. Some more challenges include working with “old school” marketing and getting them to “get” search. Coping with turf wars/budget grabs and egos.
Working together is important and this includes internally and externally. At the NY Times they are all about integrating search into the work flow. It has to be as common as email. They can not chase algorithms, and the changes have to be global changes, they can’t make page by page changes. At NY Times they don’t say “change” they enhance their writing. The change in words is big and works a bit better. They make everyone part of the SEO process so that each has a job or part. He says they get a hold of the templates for the site, no spider traps, and so on.
They sell the IT teams by showing them results. Example is titles writers use, they are not effective for search. Example: About.com 1095% increase in search refers since SEO initiative began in December of 1999. So how are they communicating? Getting them to move in the same direction. Example is that the NY Times told there writer to call the tsunami event as “Asia’s deadly wave”, so all writers had to refer to it like that. But in reality it’s a tsunami and a search engine needs to understand this. He says they send out a check list, and everyone gets a checklist to complete and it gets into the workflow.