When Search Engines Do Search Marketing (AOL, Business.com, Yahoo! & Local.com)

Aug 9, 2006 - 5:18 pm 1 by

Detlev modded up this sessions.

AOL was up first, The old was in the business of sending out CDs. AOL is giving everything away for free. They are going from being an ISP to a portal. They changed their entire business model. 2006 goals include to publish and SEO their content to everyone can discover it. The are basically taking a bottom up approach these new days. They look at the different search engines, and they drive people to their properties, then they drive people to AOL Search to drive people to other AOL properties and so on. The SEO/SEM Team becomes part of their DNA. They have two teams, SEM is more centralized (business priorities, holistic view), SEO is more cross functional. They developed SEO standards and education. The look at optimization and then track and measure. With paid search they look how do they monetize search? understanding the traffic quality and recirculation and lifetime value, ads, search revenues and commerce. They also look at internal reporting. The then back this data into CPC to meet ROI. Can AOL really make this work? AOL sees that SEO pays off, they continue to see month over month growth with the majority of the traffic coming from non-members. She shows a Google search on superbowl commercials and how they rank number two. They saw a 60% increase in traffic from organic search and 130% increase in page views from organic search. SEM, paid search, 18% increase in traffic from paid search and 39% increase in page views from paid search. AOL is serious, look at the NY Times headlines that says so. She shows how Yahoo! almost directly copied AOL's home page.

Todd Simms from Business.com. Business.com built 65,000 business categories and subscategories, prior to thinking about SEO. Their approach is to do well by users, will lead to doing well with search engines. On page SEO - category page treatment. Title before was "accounting information" and after SEO it was "accountants and accounting services." Pretty name; before it was "Customer relationship management" and then "CRM." Description before was "Resources for getting a business started" and changed to "Vendors that specialize in helping entrepreneurs start a business. Resources for how to start a small business and providers of new startup business ideas." #2 was the PageRank distribution, the internal linking, they made links to the most important sections of the site on the home page. #3 is off page SEO, with a clean link strategy, shows the business directory link on Forbes.com, "powered by Business.com."

Joe Morin is next up. They renamed the main directory categories of business.com, they did keyword research using their own directory's conversion rate and ROI, WordTracker, Keyword Discovery, Yahoo and Google suggestion tools and end user paid directory listings. They move content to the root domain, less clicks to conversion and higher PageRank. Issues include; canonical issues, internal link popularity is channeled to the home page, redirects using 301s. Local.com review: Launched a year ago, it is a search engine and directory, with a challenging structure. There were robots.txt issues, canonical issues and redirect issues. Search engines are learning how to play on each other (shows the SES Party Rule #1 in 2003). He then shows some candid pictures of search engine reps. That is all.

David Roth the SEM Directory of Yahoo!. He snagged AOL back saying that I am happy AOL learned that you don't have to require people to pay to access your home page. Funny guy. He was a search guy from way back... he talks a bit about his personal history as a rock star, seriously as an SEM. He joined Yahoo! about four months ago. Yahoo! is an online company with a lot of products to sell. Why SEM?; everyone knows SEM is the best way to acquire customers, Yahoo! has extensive SEM campaigns and more. Yahoo! is engaged in SEM for a large number of properties like; personals, small business, domains, stores, shopping, travel, autos, broadband, music, etc. Within paid search they have lots of campaigns, lots of keywords, lots of marketing. With SEO they are developing a centralized program, SEO guidelines, standards, etc. Yahoo! also does affiliate stuff; he recommends you have keyword policies for your affiliates. Business models; subscription models, conversion (messenger), transactional, lead generation and CPM revenue (media). LTV optimization; what is the lifetime value of a conversion (subscription, referral, CPM/CPC), What is the net present value of that lifetime revenue stream, what is the acceptable profit margin on NPV, monthly scorecard for all business units and channels. Managing; which should be centralized versus decentralized? Business owners know their business. SEMs know SEM. Managing the tradeoffs. Adding the centralizes resources; mac efficiency and scale and maintain business knowledge. Manage against a single standard. Also allow budget mobility to incentives stakeholder between channels and business units. What should be done in-house versus outsourced? Yahoo! uses a mix between in and out house. SEM infrastructure exists within Yahoo!. Yahoo! will continue to leverage agency relationships to gain industry expertise, time to market. Yahoo! has built and will continue to build, strategic pieces of SEM infrastructure.

Q & A now, so I will be leaving...


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