SEO and Big Search

Nov 12, 2008 - 5:29 pm 5 by
Filed Under PubCon 2008

Moderator: Joseph Morin said they changed the title to making search work on many levels.

Melanie Mitchell, Vice President of Marketing, Foliofn Investments, Inc. is up first. She first worked at AOL earlier this year and left.

The consumer is in control of your content, that is why search is so good. The power of search is it is the marketers holy grail. Search is one part of the whole mix. She shows examples of how offline drives online sales. She gives a few case studies.

I totally was distracted on this panelist, I am sorry. Focusing now...

Dave Roth, Director of Search Engine Marketing, Yahoo! Inc is now up. He is Yahoo the web side, not the search engine, i.e. he is an SEM.

They have tons of properties, and this is their main challenge, he will take you through it. Yahoo does SEM for the same reasons you and I do it, because it is a great marketing angle. They do paid, organic and affiliates across a lot of businesses. Specifically with SEO, they do talk to search product managers, they do benefit that search is part of their property, but they do not get to talk to the engineers, they don't know the algorithms, they don't know CTR by position algorithms.

They have a lot of properties. Lots of these businesses are different, some are subscriptions, some are downloads, some are e-commerce, some are lead gens and some are display ad revenue. To measure them all, they use a Life Time Value metric, what is the value a conversion for a subscription, referral, CPC/CPM? What is the net present value of that lifetime revenue stream? etc.

How much opportunity is there out there for me to get? What your trying to get is what is that opportunity that I can capture? They created a predictive model, based on click data, search data, etc. They want to figure out how they are doing against their competition. Then you can figure out how much a click is worth to me. Then you can do this for all businesses. They were able to see the competitive gap and they figured how much it is worth. Then they can show you the money, how much it is all worth, by business line using SEO/SEM.

Yahoo decided to stop fixing things that were broken. Instead, they try to make SEO part of the product development process (i.e. web site development process). You need to insert yourself into this process. They developed about 6 different check points.

Paid Search Execution is easier. The decisions he makes is to do it in house versus outsource, build or buy, leverage LTV model, measure everything, etc. They do both of everything.

They standardized a workflow document, which looked complex, but isnt.

Then they do a marketing scorecard for all their businesses. It helps them decide where to move money to and from. It helps them keep track of things and they do this weekly. They also do an SEO dashboard to keep track of things at the VP level.

Hit blog is, so check it out.

Derrick Wheeler, Senior Search Engine Optmization Architect, Microsoft is now up. He does SEO at the lowest possible level, but there should be involved throughout. is one web site, but they treat it as hundreds of individual web sites. There is windows, there are micro sites, there are directories ( and even that is not consistent. Optimization has been done on a site by site basis, which causes issues. They have at least 9 CMSs to deal with.

They work every day to make their site better for search engines. They have 100 billion plus URLs or so, it is a huge challenge. He said how Live has a ton of pages, Google has a lot less and Yahoo has very few. This shows them they have structural issues they need to fix.

Three levels of SEO: (1) Sitewide SEO initiative (2) Then individual web sites need to do SEO (he cant do it all for all sites) (3) Page level SEO, he doesn't focus much on this

He said, Microsoft does not know how much traffic gets from organic versus paid search. Can you believe it?! They are working on fixing this. Plus they are trying to standardize the metrics they use throughout sites. They are also doing a lot of training and travel all over the world. Some of the out of the box SEO tools don't work for Microsoft, they don't scale for it. So they built internal tools to manage this.

SEO Initiatives: - Duplicate and undesirable pages (big issue for Microsoft) - Excessive use of redirects - Improper error handling - Structure of subsidiary content - Low quality page titles and meta tags

Good SEO is about structure, content and authority.

They built their own spider, not from Live search. They are crawling their web site, to figure out what a search engine is experiencing. So they can fix issues.

Site Level SEO's 6 Steps: (1) Business Outcomes and Metrics (2) Keyword Research and Selection (3) Structural and Technical Audit (4) Content editing for keyword integration (5) Link building strategies and tactics (6) Outgoing optimization

Maile Ohye, Senior Support Engineer, Google is last up. Search is part of webmaster central and tools.

YouTube gives each video a unique URL, they have titles and a real description. It has easy search and great navigation. It has a social aspect and embed URL. It has great features...

Created an SEO starter guide, it is now live at over here. This is the guide they used internally for best practices, and it is now available to everyone.

If you have an image link, they will use the alt tag as the anchor text. Interesting...

Make sure to provide value, act responsibly (yes, large sites can be penalized), and have fun - they also did the halloween joke in the robots.txt file.


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