Moderator: Detlev Johnson, CEO, Search Return Q&A Moderator: Matt McGee, SEO Manager, Marchex
Martin Laetsch, Senior Director of Search Strategy, Covario, Inc. is first up. He starts off by saying we just all learned a ton about SEO. He said for small sites, it not that hard to put the time in to work the SEO. But what if we have hundreds, thousands, etc of sites to optimize? There is not enough time in the day to regularly audit and SEO the sites.
Doing a semi-annual audit is not sufficient for most companies. It has to happen almost monthly, he says.
So much is going on in the search landscape, algorithms are changing, competitors are changing, search is changing. Your content is changing all the time. What do we do about it?
(1) You need standards and procedures (2) You need a technology to manage this
- Standards and best practices - Implementing the SEO Program - Reporting
Steps: (1) Detailed SEO audit must be done and then you need to take this audit and set up a repeatable process so it can be automated and so you can do this monthly or more often. (2) Standards and best practices need to be set up. Document these things and once you have done the documentation then train everyone involved on how to do SEO. Take your documentation and get them into your style guide. Set up a knowledge base to document questions and answers. (A wiki works) (3) Ensure continuous improvements ongoing SEO execution. You need technology to audit your site to make sure you are complying with your guidelines. (4) Define and deploy a tool framework for analysis management reporting.
David Roth, Director of Search Engine Marketing, Yahoo!, Inc. is next up. He works for Yahoo the site not Yahoo the search engine. All the data he is showing is fake. He thanked the SMX team...
Yahoo does SEM for the same reasons everyone else does SEM. Search is the best way to get new customers. And Yahoo does a lot of it for a ton of their properties. Yahoo does tons of business models from subscriptions, ISP services, free tools, domain name sales, b2b services, lead gen, listings services and media business.
How can you apply a single metric to normalize results across so many different types of business models. The life time value of a person. How much is that worth. Just plug that number in and it is a great way to put a single measuring stick for what they are doing.
He does not get insight into how Yahoo Search works. They get no special treatment. They do get aggregate data, they have access to cool tools like Yahoo Buzz and they also can have the search team build spiders for data collection.
A lot of the work they do is to quantify the opportunity is with SEO. They built opportunity reports using a predictive model. They then chart it and show them versus competitors. They lay over the LTV (lifetime value) and then they plot projector revenue and profit data.
He then explained the process the use. He shows the organization structure they may use.
They use a score card to help measure success.
They develop a competitive visibility index as well. and they built an SEO dashboard, which looks very cool.
- Yahoo's SEO challenge is to scale easily in a complex landscape. - Quantify it and value it - Train everyone, SEO is a culture - Hold people accountable - Infuse SEO into the development process
Marshall D. Simmonds, Vice President of Enterprise Search Marketing, The New York Times is last up. The NY Times has a lot of brands including about.com, boston.com, International Herald Tribune, etc.
Not every SEO campaign is the same, even within the same company. It is just not all out of the box. There are ton of best practices and there is not a linear process. You need to look at where are you in the life cycle:
- Editorial - Promotion - Production
With the NY Times, they are constantly education, template optimization, pull down registration walls, expose archives, and monthly network wide communication. The success was huge, 223% growth in search traffic in 2006.
Hearst Digital Media has a different process. They audit the web site, actionable checklists to push SEO process, technical troubleshooting, teaching workshops. Lots of success here also.
ToysRUS/ BabiesRUS as well came from Amazon and had tons of problems. Removal of crawl barriers, training site producers on matching product titles and descriptions, giving appropriate control of content and understanding seasonal traffic. Success was good.
TVGuide needed CMS optimization, syndication strategy, search sustainability assessments, ongoing education and high level education sessions for senior management.
Time Inc, empower and evangelize, custom CMS, control to right people, build company wide awareness, getting all departments thinking about search and exposing much more of their content to the engines.
Big business makes mistakes: - Walling off content - Under communicating success - Not checking in with IT, production, design, ad sales, etc. - Meta keyword tags (automate) - Implementing the changes (who is doing it) - Manage expectations - Lack of editorial oversight