Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Monster SEO: Interview with Matt Evans of Monster.com http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/seo-interview-matt-evans-monster-com/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/seo-interview-matt-evans-monster-com/#comments Mon, 31 May 2010 11:35:15 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=10209 Spotlight on Search Interview with Matt Evans of Monster.com There simply is no substitute for well rounded experience over a period of time to give a search marketer perspective and the skills to handle a variety of problems. Add to that “sink or swim” SEO training and you have a guy like Matt Evans, SEO [...]

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Spotlight on Search Interview with Matt Evans of Monster.com

monster SEOThere simply is no substitute for well rounded experience over a period of time to give a search marketer perspective and the skills to handle a variety of problems. Add to that “sink or swim” SEO training and you have a guy like Matt Evans, SEO Manager at Monster.com. In this interview, Matt is generous with sharing his experiences working agency side and in-house, insights toward code SEO, the new Google design, social media, advice for marketers that want to enter the Search Engine Marketing field and how SEO is a lot like Rugby.

You’ve worked both on the agency side and now as an in-house SEO Manager for Monster.com. Can you share a bit about that journey and what are some of the big differences between working on the client side vs. agency? What do you like most about working in Search?

Previous to Monster I was with a search agency for 6 years. In those 6 years I saw both the organization and the industry grow tremendously despite the bubble burst of the early 2000s. At a time when friends were jumping from job to job it was very easy to stick around because I believed in the services we provided and the future of the search marketing industry. I believed whole-heartedly (and still do) that search is the best way to build an audience, connect with customers, and drive business online. I think the best part of working in Search is the vibrancy of the industry, the smart people, and the value that we can bring to our organizations.

One of the biggest differences in client side versus agency is being very involved in the software development life cycle. On the agency side of things you typically provide recommendations to clients, they take them off to their Product people or Engineers and most work happens behind the curtain. Being an in-house SEO means being involved in a project from concept to release – and all the “fun” in between. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s tedious, but it’s all a very good learning experience. If I was ever to go back agency side it’s the type of experience which would give me a huge advantage in dealing with clients.

Another major difference between agency and in-house is the feeling of ownership you have over your site/s. Because you’re completely invested in one site, you feel so much more accomplished when SEO enhancements are released.

What in your past work and education experience best prepared you for your journey as a Search Engine Marketer? What advice do you have for budding SEMs to make themselves more valuable and empowered to motivate change?

My initial year or so at the agency was by far the best experience in terms of preparing me for the diverse journey as an SEM. In 2000-2001 SEM was still the wild, wild west. For some perspective, we were still submitting pages to Lycos and HotBot, doorway pages were a legitimate and successful tactic, and GoTo.com was the only paid search engine of note. The company was still small and resources were non-existent, so account managers did EVERYTHING for their clients – from keyword research, to copywriting, to directory submissions, to project management. You learned real quick that you needed to focus your energy on the tasks that were going to get you results fast. Getting results fast was even more important back then because your clients were less likely to understand the nature of search, the fluctuations, and how long it takes for content to be indexed and ranked. As a result, much of our time was spent educating the client, which forced me to learn on the fly.

I would urge budding SEMs to think less about tactics and think more about strategies. The tactics will flow from those strategies naturally and you’ll have a much easier time selling executives a strategy rather than trying to explain to them why 301 redirects, XML sitemaps, and verification meta tags are necessary. They don’t care! The strategy should take into account how search traffic will drive bottom line results, because that’s what they care about. It’s also essential for SEMs to understand the value of a search referral to their business. For instance, at Monster we measure the value of organic referrals by equating them to the cost savings driving the equivalent qualified traffic through paid search or online media buys.

Ultimately, SEMs should be trying to get away from the perception that we’re one trick ponies. Aim to create a perception in your organization that you’re a well-rounded business person rather than an niche expert in the “dark arts of SEO.” Understand the parts of the business that intersect with search – PR, offline marketing, usability, etc. Too many times SEO experts are pigeonholed and viewed as only a small part of the business when many time the impact they can have on a business is much greater than any other person in the organization. Just ask the businesses who have had their site banned from Google to understand how important SEMs are!

What tips do you have for reporting SEO performance within an organization? What KPIs do you pay attention to? What overall performance goals are most important? Any tips on reporting that agencies give their clients?

The key to reporting in an organization is to provide tiered reporting based on your audience. The reporting that me and my SEO team review is far more detailed than the dashboard that the SVPs see. Also, we provide more specific reporting for our ecommerce team, Content team, and Product Managers. It’s important to get feedback from all these groups too so that you’re providing data that is interesting and actionable and you’re not wasting your time reporting on useless data.

At Monster the KPIs we pay attention to around SEO are pretty typical: visits, UVs, page views per visit, time on site, referrals by engine, and referrals by keyword phrase. The SEO team is mainly measured on the amount of overall traffic we drive, however, in order to prove our traffic is valuable and targeted we also track the number of job searches, job views, applies, new accounts, and new resume uploads that result from SEO traffic.

Agencies need to focus less on month to month comparisons and look at year over year. Seasonality is usually a large factor in search trends, so comparing MoM trends provides little insight into actual performance. For Monster, January is our biggest month for search traffic due to New Year’s resolutions to find a new job. December tends to be one of our lowest months due to the holidays. Comparing December to January may look great in the chart, but to get a real understanding on SEO success you need to look at year over year most of the time.

How important is ongoing & proactive SEO vs triage? What do you think companies should be paying attention to on an ongoing basis to achieve, maintain and improve their SEO performance?

I need to balance between both triage and proactive strategic planning due to the speed at which the industry changes and the size of a company like Monster. Try as I might to be aware of all changes that happen to the site in a given release, it’s just not humanly possible to know everything. Also, since our site is so large it takes a while to figure out how search engine algorithm changes affect us. Much of my time is spent understanding how these changes might have affected our SEO performance. Monster is a global organization and has many, many priorities and a very competitive development roadmap. As a result I need to also be proactive and be thinking about what we need to launch 6-12 months down the line in order to hit our goals. It makes it busy, but very interesting.

Companies need to leverage the webmaster tools offered by Google, Yahoo, and Bing in order to maintain and improve their SEO performance. Beyond SEO, these tools give a company valuable information about how your site performs for users (which includes search engine spiders). Google especially has been adding a lot of great tools to their console to improve SEO performance and we’ve been trying to spread the word throughout our organization about the kinds of information that can be mined. As a result we have Product Managers in all the countries reaching out to the SEO team with problems they’ve found and it really creates a great sense of teamwork.

There’s some debate about the future interplay between code level SEO, structured data and sitemaps versus page content and social media. How do you see SEO evolving technically in the next 2-3 years?

Ultimately, because links are still so important to search engine algorithms I think that content and social media will continue to be king when it comes to SEO. Great content will always lead to more links and social is just the latest channel to distribute those links. However, I believe the number of technical levers search engines will provide to SEOs in order to improve and tweak how their site appears in search results will continue to grow. I think search engines need all the help they can get in crawling, indexing, and presenting the best results to searchers and giving more control to webmasters is one way to go about it. I predict we’ll see many more announcements from the engines supporting new technical innovations like we’ve seen in the past with canonical tags, XML sitemaps, rel=”nofollow”, and RDFa tags.

What are your thoughts on the new third column Google design? Do you see any SEO opportunities that weren’t there before? Are you planning on or doing anything differently? What are your top 3 signals of SEO influence?

As a power searcher I don’t find the third column design nearly as offensive as some users do. I see it as redundant navigation that’s aimed at luring the average searcher into exploring Google’s different engines before going back up to the search box and modifying their query, which they tend to do. I’ve found it useful when I’m trying to understand what type of content exist out there on a given topic.

I wouldn’t say there are new opportunities, but I think the opportunities that have always been there are magnified. If blended search results didn’t convince you that a universal search strategy is important, the new left hand navigation should.

There are new plans to change our strategy. We’re already on a path to improve our PR SEO and our Social Media presence to correspond with the emphasis the engines have put on real time search. We’ve built out a strong team in those areas and the SEO team regularly partners with them on initiatives.

What SEO (and/or PPC) tools would you recommend to an in-house marketer that wears a SEO hat among others? Do you have any SEO project management tools that you like?

They absolutely need to use Google Webmaster Tools if nothing at all. The data provided is just too valuable. I also am a big fan of the SEO Book toolbar for Firefox. It’s a great tool for a quick snapshot of what’s going on with a page.

What resources do you use to stay current? (Blogs, conferences, newsletters, books) What role do direct observation, testing and networking play for you in staying current?

I find Search Engine Land’s SearchCap newsletter the best source of news for the industry. It compiles all the best blogs and forum threads in one daily email. As for books, Search Engine Marketing, Inc. is my bible.  It sits on my bookshelf and I pull it down from time to time to refresh my memory on certain topics. The forecasting/modeling information is invaluable for those SEOs who are continuously asked to quantify the opportunity of an enhancement or new content.

If you were to compare SEO to a sport, which would you pick and why?

There is no question on this one – Rugby. I’ve played many team sports in my life – baseball, soccer, basketball, dodge ball – but none of them comes close to the ultimate team sport of Rugby. I played for 4 years in college and 5 years after and you learn pretty quickly that a team’s success is completely dependent on execution by all 15 players on the pitch (that’s a field for the uninitiated!). The backs can’t score tries if they don’t receive the ball from the scrum half, and the scrum half can distribute the ball unless the forwards ruck and secure the ball.

Everyone depends on each other to do their job. SEO is much the same way. The SEO can’t drive traffic to the site if the UX folks don’t design the architecture of the site right, or if the developers don’t code the page correctly, or the copywriters don’t use the proper keyword phrases in the copy. You are dependent on others within your organization to execute properly, and with a large, global organization like Monster, this is what makes the job difficult. It’s also what makes projects that much sweeter when we are successful!

Thanks Matt!

Matt Evans is SEO Manager for Monster.com, the premier global employment solution for job seekers with a presence in over 50 countries.


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Best Practices In SEO And Marketing: IMS MN 2010 http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/seo-marketing-best-practices/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/seo-marketing-best-practices/#comments Wed, 26 May 2010 12:27:06 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=10219 At the recent Minneapolis Integrated Marketing Summit, TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden moderated an exciting panel of a diverse group of SEO professionals: Alex Bennert – Chief Search Strategist at The Wall Street Journal Brian Kleisner – Search Engine Marketing Manager for FindLaw Bill Leake – CEO of Apogee Results The focus of the [...]

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At the recent Minneapolis Integrated Marketing Summit, TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden moderated an exciting panel of a diverse group of SEO professionals:

  • Alex Bennert – Chief Search Strategist at The Wall Street Journal
  • Brian Kleisner – Search Engine Marketing Manager for FindLaw
  • Bill Leake – CEO of Apogee Results

The focus of the panel was on search engine optimization best practices, and panelists discussed everything from leveraging web analytics for decision making to how to scale efforts and many topics in between.  Following is a summary of each presenter’s top points:

Alex Bennert – Chief Search Strategist at The Wall Street Journal

Alex spoke on the important of using data to make decisions, including leveraging sources such as Google webmaster tools.  The information provided in webmaster tools has grown significantly since they have implemented it.

Her favorite addition is the “breaking data” feature, which tells you all of your top keywords driving traffic to the site.  You can use this to see terms that gain a high volume of impressions but a low volume of clicks.  From this, you’ll know that the page can be optimized better to potentially get more clicks.

And it doesn’t even have to be on page or changing keywords.  Sometimes, just testing changes in meta description can help gain additional clicks.  It’s something we have control over and can see near immediate results for changes.  Leverage meta descriptions for clicks, and to help promote your brand and spread key messages.

Have you given access of webmaster tools to members of your team?  You should consider this so they can act on data.

Additionally, branded searches and navigational queries are extremely valuable for a brand and should not be discounted.  At the WSJ, hundreds of thousands see our search result monthly from brand terms.

Alex then proceeded to speak on sitemaps.  She noted, if you have a large enterprise level site with frequent information that’s added/deleted, a sitemap is vital.  That’s because you don’t have to wait for search engines to re-crawl your site, you’re providing it to them in a format they’ll immediately get.  At the Wall Street Journal, we organize our sitemaps into specific types of content – i.e. stock queries, articles, etc.  Then we can see immediately when problems crop up.

In terms of getting “old school” reporters to create additional content, like to help them see the value of SEO by showing examples of their own content.  For example, I find a headline they wrote and show them how not at all findable in search, whereas others are easily findable.  By showing examples, Alex is able to be persuasive and help reporters create SEO friendly content.

Brian Kleisner – Search Engine Marketing Manager for FindLaw

Brian spoke on the balance between search, and how search interacts with usability.

“Arriving from search is to enter the unknown:”

1.  The searcher’s expectation for what they think they’ll find must be met.

2.  Information must be presented to enable a decision or make choices.

3.  The next steps must be clear.

4. The entire experience must feel safe, secure, authentic and believable.

Usability and search both share common concerns:

  • Findable
  • Credibility
  • Usable/useful
  • Valuable/desirable
  • Offering choice

Addressing this, Brian went on to cite several SEO tips:

SEO Tip #1:  Use a keyword oriented tagline with the “Who” and “What answered.

SEO Tip #2:  Use content to answer the questions naturally making sure to include the appropriate keyword.  For example:

  • Where is your company located?
  • When is the next release for “keyword”?
  • Why are you an expert on “keyword”?

Asking these questions helps generate fresh content, better defines anchor text, provides new ideas for navigation text link labels and increases understandability for humans, search and those using assistive technology to interact with your website.

SEO Tip #3:  Consider local SEO

Local search has special rules for SEO:

  • Claim your listings on the search engines and beyond (Yelp, CitySearch, etc.)
  • Be consistent, use the same address and phone number across the web.
  • Monitor and manage you and your competitor’s reputation.

Bill Leake – CEO of Apogee Results

Bill spoke about integration opportunities between Search and other marketing tactics.

He started by speaking at a high level, and that “more arrows are generally good.”  Marketing works best when it works together.  As we talk about ways to improve search, remember it is just another piece of marketing.

Start by defining what you really want from your marketing efforts and create a key objective.

Bill then shared integrated tactics that will improve ROI of search.

1.  Integrate paid media and “earned media” for better results.

2.  Consider event and name driven paid and natural search.

  • Leverage a national events and names for dirt cheap search traffic.

3.  House list/direct mail tie-ins:  integrate online marketing with more traditional focused direct marketing (think online mail-merge).

4.  Create a more integrated search – use PPC traffic with your web analytics and your lead forms for list building and enhances lead generation.  Leverage services such as

  • DemandBase
  • Jigsaw
  • Other list building via web traffic

Most B2B terms are not looked at “for fun” they are looked at due to pain points on the part of the searcher.

5.  Improve spending by using down-funnel data.

One client was spending 110K per month with well understood and optimized CPL metrics.  They started doing PPC optimization using human scrubbed lead data (not web forms).  Results:  43% shift in PPC spend allocation, 31% software sales uplift.

6.  Choose keywords on conversion metrics, not on search/reach/volume metrics.  If you have paid search data, use that to determine what the money keywords are.


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SEO at Turner Broadcasting: Dan Perry Interview http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/seo-interview-dan-perry/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/seo-interview-dan-perry/#comments Wed, 19 May 2010 12:37:56 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=10048 Spotlight on Search Interview with Dan Perry, SEO Director at Turner Broadcasting Working with Enterprise SEO projects is compared to smaller company sites is as different as marketing to BtoC vs. BtoB customers. This interview with Dan Perry, the SEO Director for Turner Broadcasting covers his SEO dream job, in-house SEO career advice and skills, [...]

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Spotlight on Search Interview with Dan Perry, SEO Director at Turner Broadcasting

SEO expertWorking with Enterprise SEO projects is compared to smaller company sites is as different as marketing to BtoC vs. BtoB customers. This interview with Dan Perry, the SEO Director for Turner Broadcasting covers his SEO dream job, in-house SEO career advice and skills, enterprise SEO, the future of outsourcing to agencies, being persuasive inside organizations and of course, Golf!

We met while you were with Cars.com and now you’re with Turner Broadcasting. (Congrats) How did you get into the SEO world and what is it that keeps you there?

I started building very basic websites in 1998, but didn’t get into SEO until the summer of 2000. I built a site for a local golf course and a few months later, typed “Michigan golf” into a search engine. The site I built was on the first page! The light bulb went off immediately, and I’ve been promoting sites online ever since. The satisfaction of success is what keeps me in the industry. I’ve done enough SEO on sites of all sizes to know that it clearly works. Watching it work and seeing the baseline numbers for a site consistently increase over time is extremely satisfying.

What do you like best about your current position and company?

I’ll answer that with an example of a semi-typical day for me: Have an early conference call with London to discuss international SEO for Cartoon Network, have a meeting with PGA.com to discuss ongoing SEO Initiatives, meet with Topher Kohan (SEO Coordinator at CNN) to discuss strategy, have a call with NBA.com and TNT.tv to discuss the playoffs, and end the day by providing some Editorial SEO training to the team at Adult Swim. To have the opportunity to move the SEO needle on properties like these is truly a blessing. From an in-house SEO perspective, this job is as good as it gets.

You’ve spent a lot of time working on the client side with SEO. What advice do you have for individuals that would like to break into that kind of career path?

Doing in-house SEO in a large company is much different than doing it for yourself, or at a small company. I haven’t “done” SEO in years. My job is training others how to do it, and having them keep SEO top-of-mind. It requires an even temperament, the ability to explain why SEO should be prioritized to developers, executives, and everyone in-between, and a love of PowerPoint and Excel. 🙂

What skills should a corporate marketer develop in order to be capable of handling in-house SEO duties?

The ability to sell SEO internally. You may have to convince a developer to change the way they’ve always done things. You may have to convince an executive that SEO is a good business decision, and be able to back it up with numbers. I don’t believe that SEO starts at the top and works its way down, or vice versa. It has to happen at both ends (and in the middle) and then you need to keep it top-of-mind throughout the organization. To sum it up, a strong ability to sell internally, a logical approach, and an understanding of the SEO potential and the ability to put that potential into realistic forecasts.

Do you look for specific backgrounds, experience or skills when you hire in-house SEOs?

First of all, there has to be a base SEO skill-set; this cannot be overstated. There needs to be a level of SEO confidence that one can only gain with years of trial and error, dealing with algorithm changes, etc. Also, the ability to take a complex SEO element and describe it in a simple and easy-to-understand way is an under-rated skill. Finally, a diplomatic personality is key.

With enterprise SEO, you don’t get to roll up your sleeves and jump in with a program in most cases. What do you see as some of the more common challenges with achieving end-goal results from search engine optimization in a large or complex organization?

Prioritization. You and I both know that SEO is valuable, and can produce impressive results. My job is to convince an executive that SEO should be prioritized above the dozens of other possible projects. I need to pull together an SEO plan, forecast potential gains in traffic, and explain why this should be prioritized over other projects. The funny thing is that once that happens and you get approval, THEN the real work starts.

I’ve seen you present many times on in-house SEO panels, which btw, have been priceless for SEO agencies that work for large companies. Will companies still need to outsource SEO in the next 2-3 years?

I think so. There’s a lot of value an agency can add, even when there’s an internal team. For example, agency folks can see how an algorithm change affects many different companies and industries. Over time, the lessons learned from this broad collection of sites are invaluable.

What role do you see outside agencies playing?

Depends on the level of need within a given organization and the size/bandwidth of the internal employees.

Where are SEO agencies usually the most helpful?

Every property’s needs are different, so it needs to be property-specific and driven by the unique goals and needs of each. It can vary from assisting with major initiatives like a redesign to keyword research to spillover work.

What’s your best tip for getting other departments in an organization on “your side” when it comes to content creation, approval and promotion for advancing search marketing goals? Any examples?

Showing the opportunity lost in terms of traffic and revenue. For example, if one of our sites is on the second page of Google for a set of keyterms, and I can provide data that shows the potential gains they should receive (traffic gains, and revenue gains) by getting on page one, it makes the selling process much easier.

What are some of the common “low hanging fruit” SEO suggestions you see the most often with large site SEO? The classic of course, is updating one robots.txt file to stop blocking all bots. 🙂

The SEO maximization of publishing templates is a great place to start. Relatively small changes at the template level can have a big impact. Secondly, finding inbound links that produce 404 errors and converting them to 301 redirects.

Please share some of the SEO and Social Media tools that you like most:

Working with such big brands, a lot of the tools aren’t as important as they used to be. Because of that, I spend more times in our analytics package then I ever have before.

How do you stay current with SEO and all the marketing, technology and communication channels that come with it? What are your favorite conferences, blogs, newsletters, organizations, books or networks that you rely on?

I’m a big fan of David Meerman Scott’s book on the New Rules. He took a relatively complex subject and boiled it down into easy-to-understand language. My favorite book of all-time is Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. One of the few books that made me look at a website in a completely different way. When I attend conferences, I usually choose the sessions I’ll attend by speaker name rather than session description. Finally, the Planet Ocean SEO newsletter is one of the most consistent, well-written newsletters I’ve ever seen.

Since you’re a huge golf fan, do you have any interesting golf metaphors for SEO?

Love them both; here’s my top 10 list of similarities between golf and SEO:

  1. Accept that you don’t know everything.
  2. Learn by doing.
  3. Measure often and pay attention to the numbers.
  4. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
  5. Learn from your mistakes.
  6. Stick with it, even during the bad times.
  7. Seek out good advice.
  8. Luck is just that.
  9. Use the right tools.
  10. Be patient and think long term.

Thanks Dan!

You can find Dan online on his BlogTwitter or LinkedIn.

Spotlight on Search is an interview series that shines a light on search marketing professionals to learn more about the nature of their work, differences in SEO amongst categories of web sites and of course, SEO tips, tactics and useful tools. We do not take PR firm pitch suggestions or or solicitations for these interviews. They are by request from TopRank Online Marketing Blog editorial staff only.


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Pubcon: In-House SEO and PPC http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-in-house-seo-and-ppc/ Thu, 13 Nov 2008 23:31:46 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3677 The last regular session of the day I decided to attend was on In-House SEO and PPC which was moderated by Melanie Mitchell and included Jessica Bowman, Dan Perry, Ana Schultz, Allison Fabella and Jill Sampey. The issues that in-house search marketers experience are the same issues that SEO agencies experience when performing enterprise SEO [...]

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Jessica, DAn, Ana, Allison & Jill

The last regular session of the day I decided to attend was on In-House SEO and PPC which was moderated by Melanie Mitchell and included Jessica Bowman, Dan Perry, Ana Schultz, Allison Fabella and Jill Sampey. The issues that in-house search marketers experience are the same issues that SEO agencies experience when performing enterprise SEO and PPC programs.

I walked in at the start of Jessica Bowman’s presentation who was talking about roadblocks to internal search engine marketing efforts:

  • Adds projects to man hours
  • Inconsistent with other goials
  • Goes against existing progrtamming standards
  • Were not technically feasible
  • Added to the project timeline and cost

Once you get executive buy in, you cannot stop. Most opposition stems from lower and middle management. Middle managers need to get upper level support.

You plan of action needs to constantly and consistently reiterate the SEM message to all employees. The buy in includes a preview that SEO will run into roadblocks. It will take time and there will be complaints. Prepare executives for obstacles before they happen.

  • Devlop a 24 month internal PR campaign for SEO
  • Create a SEO presentation you can use internally: Why it makes sense and that it gets high priority and give to anyone and everyone
  • Offer SEO Brown bags
  • Train everyone on SEO
  • Have regular SEM update meetings for all levels
  • Use the same slides you used to get buy in
  • remind them of the timeline and progress
  • The internal PR campaign for SEO never ends

Now up is Allison Fabella, SEO Manager for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who discussed SEO at the middle management level.

There are four sections to consider for middle managment in-house SEO::

1. The product manger – Your first and last defense for the longevity and success of a SEO effort. They approve each phase of the project.

2. The developer – The backbone of your SEO and can directly impact traffic positively or negatively.

3. The designer – Plays design cop to the layout and aesthetic of your web pages. Educate them on how search engines “see” web pages

4. The content producer – Directly affects whether content has a chance of ranking. Give them examples of how ironic or clever headlines show up in search compared to literal references.

Achieving SEO Harmony

  • Estahlish your credibility by making quick changes that will show results. This is critical when you are new to the organization.
  • Document your successes. Theirs, not yours. Emphasize how SEO benefits them, not you.
  • Be omnipresent and locate your SEO at the intersection of development, design and content if possible.
  • Goals and Accontability – attach success to the productivity of those in the organization helping implement SEO.
  • Make sure SEO gets included in the life cycle checklists
  • Training – train everyone in your organization on SEO. More education and awareness the more they will appreciate SEO.
  • Compromise. “Well, what CAN be done?”

SEO in middle management isn’t so much about writing content, coding pages, desiging grapihics. It’s about leadership.

Next up is Dan Perry from Cars.com who says when you’re first meeting company executives, to stay at 30,000 feet and speak their language. Show them the math that demonstrates financial opportunity for SEO implementation.

Train everyone on SEO. With marketing and PR, explain you can influience brand perception by optimizing the display of brand messaging. IT needs to know that small changes can have large impact. Biz Dev needs to be realistic. SEO is built in to new hire training to let them know the company puts a lot of value in SEO.

Build SEO into the process for new content development and publishing. Seek out SEO Superstars that will help evangelize the benefits of SEO to the organization. Be available to people in the organization who have questions about SEO.

Have a plan and show the math (opportunity to generate revenue), show what the competition is doing, be ready because it will involve a lot of work.

Next up is Ana Schultz Marketing Manager at Qwest who talked about the pros and cons of in-house and agency PPC.

For PPC the pros of in-house include better internal communication and product offer knowledge. The cons include the difficulty of staffing and the available talent pool. Technology and information sharing can be a challenge.

Do the due dilligence for SEO budget justification. Quantify the results for each initiaitive. Ensure the implementation process is clear and too many page owners can mean content can easily get overwritten.

Last up is Jill Sampey from Blast Radius and previously an in-house SEO from ThomasNet.

Use an agency or not? Look at the specific goals at a specific point in time. How complex is it? What is the learning curve and is it unique to the business? What bandwidth, talent and time available. Who are the stakeholders involved? Do you have the right access to the stakeholders who will evaluate success of the program.

The Agency Advantage: Training is less of an issue because the agency will have expertise that can hit the ground running and less overhead to get started. Many agencies will have proprietary tools of benefit not present within the company. An outside party like an agency often carries more respect than someone in house to champion a project. Agencies can be a catalyst for change to provide outside perspective and involvement. An agency can offer another set of eyes and a perspective as a result from working with many different companies and industries that are not as obvious for people in-house.

Potential Issues with Hiring an Agency. The agency is external and removed from the core business. Agency engagements can be expensive if objectives aren’t clear. Hiring an outside agency requires management of the agency. Finding the right agency is difficult and should be considered according to the specific needs.

Make your own ROI goals instead of putting it on the agency to come up with ROI. Emphasize the value and importance of analytics and make sure you have access to the data/reporting.

Take a look at all of TopRank’s Pubcon liveblogging coverage here and Pubcon photos on Flickr.


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Search Engine Optimization is a Team Effort http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/07/search-engine-optimization-team/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/07/search-engine-optimization-team/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2008 18:38:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=2474 TopRank’s SEO Team in Paintball Gear As much as companies find the need to outsource part or all of their SEO efforts, many do not have a clear picture of the value that comes from hiring an agency versus a full time, in-house SEO. While many consultants and some agencies offer “value meal” pricing and [...]

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TopRank’s SEO Team in Paintball Gear

As much as companies find the need to outsource part or all of their SEO efforts, many do not have a clear picture of the value that comes from hiring an agency versus a full time, in-house SEO. While many consultants and some agencies offer “value meal” pricing and packages, the cost for a search engine optimization effort will vary based on the scope of the project, hours allocated, client side resources, web site technology and competitiveness of the market.

Web site managers that balk at monthly SEO retainers claiming they could hire a full time person for those costs to do SEO in-house don’t really understand all that’s involved with marketing a web site through search engines. Client side SEOs are more Project Managers than they are implementation experts and often get burdened with related tasks on top of continued internal education and evangelism. It’s a lot for one person to do and do well.

What’s important for companies to understand is that when hiring an agency for SEO, the value of the search engine optimization consulting service comes from a team effort. Agency structures vary, but my own experience is that when an online marketing client that involves a SEO component is brought on, it’s through the coordinated efforts of multiple people, disciplines and expertise that result in a successful program.

In the case of TopRank, when new SEO clients are brought in, an Account team is assigned. The account team includes a lead consultant and a project manager that are dedicated to the client project. There are also service specialists focusing on any of a number of different areas including: keyword research and list building, copywriting, code and server side SEO issues, web development/design, content promotion and link building, online PR and blogger relations, social media marketing and analytics. Some or all of the expertise array will be used depending on the project.

Finding a single person that has numerous client engagements under their belt with expertise in each of the areas above is unlikely. Certainly not for what it costs to hire the entire SEO team from a capable, experienced agency.

Here’s a quick check list of what functions and expertise a SEO team brings to a project:

  • SEO/Online Marketing Strategy
  • Client SEO Education and Training
  • Provide Tools for Client to “Sell” SEO Internally and Report Successes
  • Defining Campaign Goals
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Assessing Previous Tactics (Non Search Engine Compliant and Potential Spam)
  • Keyword Research
  • Inventory Digital Assets
  • Web Site Content Optimization
  • Coordination with Interdepartmental and Cross Functional Teams Client Side
  • Digital Asset Optimization
  • Code Optimization
  • Site Architecture and Server Side Issues
  • Oversight of Client SEO Implementation: Editorial and Code
  • Link Building
  • Content Marketing/Promotion Plan
  • Content Creation/Mashups/User Generated Content
  • Content Syndication
  • Web Analytics
  • Ongoing Performance Monitoring (Rankings, Traffic, Conversions)
  • Revising Optimization and Content Promotion Efforts and Consulting

That’s a tall order to fill for a team let alone a single individual.

Before all the talented solo SEO practitioners reading this post get too excited, I do want to emphasize that in many cases a single consultant or in-house practitioner can be the ticket for a SEO campaign. Web sites that only need tweaking and that already produce a variety of content can see progress over time without an entire agency team.

However, when dealing with a complex organization and web site, there is no substitute for the depth of experience, established processes and speed at which a SEO team can deliver results.


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SES NY Keynote: SEO Lessons and the Wall Street Journal http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/03/seo-for-the-wall-street-journal/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/03/seo-for-the-wall-street-journal/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2008 16:23:27 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/03/seo-for-the-wall-street-journal/ After gathering around the caffeine this morning for Day 3 of SES New York, attendees gathered to listen to a keynote from Gordon McLeod, President, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Gordon led the audience through the evolution of SEO within the Wall Street Journal organization, noting that they didn’t necessarily do things right the [...]

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SES NY Attendees, Keynote Day 3

After gathering around the caffeine this morning for Day 3 of SES New York, attendees gathered to listen to a keynote from Gordon McLeod, President, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.

Gordon led the audience through the evolution of SEO within the Wall Street Journal organization, noting that they didn’t necessarily do things right the first or second time.

Since 1996, The Wall Street Journal has grown to incorporate SEO as a strategic business decision, not a grouping of tactics.

Here are some of the lessons they learned along the way:

1. Website is 1.0
Content has to be in places other than the company’s website. So stop holding onto it for dear life. Let your content transcend online channels including social.

This social channels are often hard for clients to grasp and get behind. Especially in the B2B market, companies don’t want their content in social media channels, they don’t need the ‘young audience’ who is known for interacting with social content.

This is a mistake. First, there is an increasing number of social users 25+, but that’s a whole different post. 🙂
What companies are overlooking is that the ‘young audience’ will be THE audience in the next couple years and why wait until then to build the relationship?

2. SEO is not a project
To get the most out of SEO, it really needs to be an integrated, longterm effort.

TopRank clients performing SEO longterm experience better results, because it takes time to make changes, measure, test and repeat.

In addition, you have someone on your side. You have a team, skilled in SEO and up to date on the latest information helping you adapt and be as effective as possible.

3. Free is good
For content sites,breakdown the barriers to users getting the content. As the Wall Street Journal did, let folks read 1-2 paragraphs and then ask for a subscription, increasing overall subscribers.

If you are currently leveraging SEO, keep going and be open to the new approaches that are offered up by your consultants. SEO results are deep-rooted in the ability to test and refine.

If you are not integrating SEO into your business, consider it. Perhaps I’m biased, but managing clients day to day I see first hand the impact improved search engine visibility has on the bottom line of the business.


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Tips for Overcoming Client-Created Roadblocks http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/03/overcoming-seo-client-obstacles/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/03/overcoming-seo-client-obstacles/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2008 16:43:26 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/03/overcoming-seo-client-obstacles/ While sitting in sessions at any Search Marketing Conference, you will hear agency-side search marketers asking the panel for advice on how to keep clients from standing in their own way. Questions like: What if my client ignores our optimization recommendations? What if a client doesn’t see any value in social media? Some search marketers [...]

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4059499_thumbnail-1.jpgWhile sitting in sessions at any Search Marketing Conference, you will hear agency-side search marketers asking the panel for advice on how to keep clients from standing in their own way.

Questions like:

What if my client ignores our optimization recommendations?

What if a client doesn’t see any value in social media?

Some search marketers might think working with clients who won’t implement recommendations is a waste of time. I think it’s well worth a little extra work needed to understand why they are not following recommendations and finding a work around. In fact, if you’re working for an enterprise SEO client, the ability to find work arounds is a bare minimum requirement.

As an account manger for TopRank, I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of companies, managing SEO and public relations campaigns that range from small businesses to the Fortune 20. That experience has provided many opportunities to find work arounds to client created roadblocks. A few solutions I’ve discovered include these tips:

Tips to Overcoming Client-Created Roadblocks:

Commit to the RE’s:  Resend, Revamp, Re-evaluate
Realize that clients are busy. Numerous items could have come into play to explain why a client isn’t taking a recommendation and running with it and/or providing the approval you need to do the same.

Try the 3 RE’s:

  1. Resend. It’s possible that the email got skipped, deleted or didn’t even make it to them.
  2. Revamp. If after discussing with the client they are still not executing, revamp the recommendation. Perhaps they need a better example, they prefer to be communicated to in a different way (one on one, web meeting etc) or they need a bigger, better reason to execute.
  3. Reevaluate. Make a point to review email strings and conversations with clients and learn from them. Each client is unique and will respond to information that’s best formatted for their preferences. i.e. Emails with lengthy paragraphs and no call to action tend to sit in my inbox, whereas I’ll respond immediately to bulleted lists or clearly stated actions

Learn from when/what your client responds to and repeat the patterns that get results.

Provide additional resources
Often times clients want to understand the industry and what is behind the recommendation. Be sure to offer them additional resources from which to garner information.

Share relevant articles, blog posts or data with them. I’ve found that often times it’s not the main client contact that’s the obstacle but rather other’s in their organization. Information, statistics etc can be very effective in helping them advocate SEO internally.

Bring in the heavy hitter
Sometimes you have to bring in someone else to motivate the client to action.

This can be especially true for clients that receive day-to-day communication. The folks on the agency side really become part of the client’s internal team. While this is great for managing a program, you often need someone ‘new’ to sell an idea.

As Lee and I have been discussing lately, it’s like the “prophet isn’t respected in his own hometown” idea. When you edify and build respect for an ‘out of towner’, their message will more likely be perceived by the client to be credible, even if the information from the agency contact is the same.

At the end of the day, it’s about best servicing the client and helping them achieve objectives. Find out what works for your clients and then adapt accordingly. 🙂


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Industrial Strength SEO: Enterprise Do’s and Don’ts http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/02/enterprise-seo-dos-and-donts/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/02/enterprise-seo-dos-and-donts/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2008 23:31:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/02/enterprise-seo-dos-and-donts/ [Note from Lee: This is a perfect session for Jolina because she manages one of the largest enterprise SEO projects for any agency our size – over 2o different business units for a Fortune 20 company.] SEO for the enterprise requires a very different approach, than SEO for an small or medium business (SMB). Deploying [...]

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[Note from Lee: This is a perfect session for Jolina because she manages one of the largest enterprise SEO projects for any agency our size – over 2o different business units for a Fortune 20 company.]

dsc00478.JPG SEO for the enterprise requires a very different approach, than SEO for an small or medium business (SMB).

Deploying the same approach at the enterprise level, as you would for an SMB, would be like trying to clean a wine spill with Windex. You’ll end up making a bigger mess.

The Enterprise SEO panel at SMX moderated by Detlev Johnson of SearchReturn and Matt McGee of Marchex provided excellent insights into what you should and should not do with these types of search marketing projects.

Speakers for the session included:
Martin Laetsch, Senior Director of Search Strategy, SEM Director, Inc
David Roth, Director of Search Engine Marketing, Yahoo!, Inc
Marshall D. Simmonds, VP of Enterprise Search Marketing, The New York Times

dsc00475.JPGHere are the Do’s for Enterprise SEO:

Cover the SEO Basics

Covering the basics is important, but don’t think because these are the basics of SEO that they will be easy to implement. In my experience, they aren’t.

Here are few the panel referenced:

  • Template Optimization
  • Fix broken links
  • Crosslink between business segments

Be ready with the business benefit of each and solid work arounds in case you run into snags.

As well, spend some time getting to know the CMS system the company uses. More often than not the CMS will be limiting in its SEO-friendliness.

Manage Until You Can’t Manage Anymore

The bigger the company/project the more it needs to be managed both in detail and in planning. Make sure to manage both the people and the work to reach the program goals.

Try these tips for making sure nothing falls through the cracks:

  • Document everything
  • Create a monthly audit schedule
  • Monitor pages for specific keyword phrases
  • Build checklists for team members to follow (before content can go live)

In addition, be sure to spend a good amount of time training groups on both the benefits of SEO and how to integrate best practices into daily content creation.

Create easy-to-use reference tools you can lessen the time spent fielding the same questions over and over.

Communication Loudly & Proudly

Communication is key across a large organization and it’s incredibly important to communicate frequently.

Be sure to repeat messages over and over to ensure groups are buying into the program. Get them saying the right things about search and they’ll become internal advocates for you.

The best advice I can give to someone managing SEO at the enterprise level is to identify a key contact, get he/she evangelizing your message and do everything you can to make he/she look like a rock star.

As well, make sure to spotlight results and accomplishments. It’s not bragging, rather it’s making sure the company understands the value you bring to the organization. If they don’t value the program from its inception, you will have an uphill battle the rest of the way.

Tips from the panel, which really do work, include:

  • Monthly communications to all stakeholders
  • Continually craft messages that stakeholders can use within their own circles
  • Keep the team up to date with the latest industry news

Here are the don’ts of Enterprise SEO

Do not assume that because a company is engaged in SEO, that everyone is bought into it as a strategic business decision.

Reiterate the benefits often and to everyone you come across to ensure SEO isn’t a blip on the radar that eventually fades.

The IT guys need to be as bought in as the marketers.

Other Don’ts include:

  • Under communicate success
  • Not checking in with design/IT/production/ad sales

I love Enterprise SEO and the tips above are those which implement, refine and execute every day. If you take nothing else away from this post, then at least take this:

Do make SEO education a staple of the program mix
Don’t be afraid to create training, processes and content just for enterprise clients. That’s what it takes.

If you would like more tips on Enterprise SEO, check out my previous blog post on the topic.


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Optimizing the Fortune 100 – Enterprise SEO http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/01/enterprise-seo-2/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/01/enterprise-seo-2/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2008 22:22:09 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/01/enterprise-seo-2/ [Note from Lee: While Susan, Jolina and I are in Miami at a private client conference for one of the largest companies in the world, it seemed particularly relevant for Jolina to write a quick post about enterprise SEO. Jolina’s presentation today to roughly 30 different business units as well as corporate communications, PR and [...]

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[Note from Lee: While Susan, Jolina and I are in Miami at a private client conference for one of the largest companies in the world, it seemed particularly relevant for Jolina to write a quick post about enterprise SEO. Jolina’s presentation today to roughly 30 different business units as well as corporate communications, PR and IT simply kicked ass.]

While the vast majority of search engine optimization projects performed by search marketing agencies are for small and medium sized businesses, SEO for large and complex organizations takes a unique combination of finesse and consideration.

For example, small and medium sized companies are typically much more nimble, make changes quicker and are often more open to leveraging new online marketing channels. Within large corporations such as the Fortune 100, this is not usually the case. Sometimes the pace of change with multiple stakeholders, layers of approval and strict messaging guidelines can seem counter productive.

However, the slow moving approach is not without reason. Corporations that have invested considerable time and money at building their brand need to make sure the credibility marketplace reputation that they have spent so much time to achieve doesn’t get a black mark after moving too quickly on an idea or tactic.

This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make significant progress in a reasonable amount of time with an enterprise SEO project. With the right mix of planning, communication and agency expertise, large organization web sites can get the various departments or business units that make up a the corporation’s web presence working and moving in the same direction at a much faster pace. They key is to empower the client side contacts responsible for work flow, approval and implementation.

5 Tactics for Empowering Enterprise SEO Projects:

  1. Education – “ There is no substitute for an informed SEO client. Explain overall how search engine optimization works and the benefits to the individual you’re working with. Help them understand more about the process along with the benefits to the overall organization and their area of responsibility.
  2. Advocates – “ Leverage those individuals that catch on quickly and are excited about the program to help “sell” SEO to the rest of the organization. As evangelists for corporate site optimization, give these client staff members tools to spread the SEO message within the organization. Doing so helps create excitement and an accurate understanding of expectations.
  3. Results – “ Show results at multiple stages in the program. SEO within large organization can take time, so it is important and motivating to share milestone results along the way to keep individuals engaged. i.e. “Your CMS templates used to say ‘insert content here’ in the title tags and are now optimized by dynamic keyword insertion.” and then show the before and after search results. There can literally be hundreds of SEO improvements with a large site. Showing progress from small steps will help create momentum and buy-in from others in the organization.
  4. Availability – “ Be available to client contacts in various mediums. For example, being available to the main point of contact via IM or text messaging so when he/she needs information about search engine optimization RIGHT NOW, you can provide that information and answer questions on the fly. This not only makes your point of contact an internal SEO champion, but helps proliferate the right SEO messages throughout the organization. It can be very demanding and time consuming performing as an on-demand SEO resource, so such client engagements are not for everyone.
  5. Content Creation – “ Be prepared to create content specifically for the enterprise. This can include the creation of images to be used in internal presentations to C-level executives that want to know more about the SEO initiative or creating on-going education materials and content to be leveraged in newsletters, on intranets and during company training.

It takes considerable resources and talent to execute and manage a successful enterprise SEO project. Not many SEM consultancies are prepared for the demands in communication, education and patience. Large scale SEO takes an equal measure of search engine knowledge as it does the ability to navigate complex organizations. By empowering client side advocates with education, tools and ongoing resources to promote SEO processes and results, large company optimization projects are much more successful.


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Pubcon Session: Enterprise SEO http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/pubcon-session-enterprise-seo/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/pubcon-session-enterprise-seo/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2007 17:11:53 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/pubcon-session-enterprise-seo/ The Enterprise Level SEO and SEM Issues panel included a great roundup of search marketing expertise with Andrew Gerhart, Scott Polk, Tanya Vaughan and moderation duties handled by none other than Bruce Clay. First up was Andrew Gerhart, VP of Search for Source Interlink Enthusiast Media who asked, “Are SEO Technicques different for enterprise SEO?”, [...]

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Enterprise SEO

The Enterprise Level SEO and SEM Issues panel included a great roundup of search marketing expertise with Andrew Gerhart, Scott Polk, Tanya Vaughan and moderation duties handled by none other than Bruce Clay.

First up was Andrew Gerhart, VP of Search for Source Interlink Enthusiast Media who asked, “Are SEO Technicques different for enterprise SEO?”, and then went on to list similarities and differences along with common problems and solutions.

Same:

  • SEO basics
  • Content focus
  • Link popularity

Different:

  • Impact of basics
  • Internal link structure

When building and optimizing a big site, it’s important to define and optimize the site structure. Think about all the ways a user wants it broken down. Design the structure to be more horizontal and avoid silos in preference of themed pyramid structures.

Define and optimize the link structure with multiple links to every page, cross-link related content, deep link into important content and use a HTML sitmap(s) to make it easier for crawlers to find content.

It’s also important to define and optimize the URL structure by eliminating session variables query strings, re-writing URLs when necessary, keeping URLs as as short as possible and thinking long term.

The sheer complexity of large scale optimization brings an inherent number of problems that are consistent with enterprise level search engine optimization projects. Going after the most common issues can be the low hanging fruit for webmasters and SEOs challenged with large scale SEO. To that end, Gerhart listed the following common problems and solutions

  • Problem -Content overlap over many pages
  • Solution – Target keyword variations and use subdomains
  • Problem – Mmillions of pages make crawling difficult and deep, deep pages
  • Solution -Improve link structure. As an example, Gerhart shows a diagram of “bad structure” with a home page linking deep down two legs and a picture of “good structure” where the home page links to a larger number of top level categories, not unlike a company organizational chart.
  • Problem – Interlinking pages is difficult due to the size and dynamic nature.
  • Solution -Setup dynamic keyword linking
  • Problem -Short page life
  • Solution – Archive content and products
  • Problem -Too little time and resources to focus on all pages
  • Solution – Atomate as much as possible. ie optimize the platform (template level optimization).
  • Problem -SEO isn’t given priority.
  • Solution -Tie the effect of seo to potential revenue gains.

General tips on enterprise SEO included:

  • Don’t compromise too much with the IT department
  • Clean up the code by turning off ads and JavaScript for the search engines
  • Cross promote using other company owned web sites
  • Don’t ever stop expanding your SEO effort
  • Enforcement is critical. You become the SEO poilice officers
  • Track revenue

Next up is Scott Polk from Edmunds.com, a large site with 7 million pages indexed. Polk also discussed common SEO issues with large sites. In order to make time for the Q/A, he made his presentation pretty brief.

Evangelism is key.Departments must be trained on the value of SEO. What is it, what are the effects? Training is customized for departments. Duplicate content is another issue that needs to be addressed.

Tools:

  • KeywordDiscovery.com
  • Domain Tools
  • SEO Toolset (Bruce Clay)
  • Hitwise
  • Wordtracker

Last up is Tanya Vaughan, the Global SEO Program Manager for HP. [Here is a short video interview with Tanya after the session]

The Challenge: ie Why you don’t want Tanya’s job.

Vaughan started by showing the complex array of internal content sources, content categories and stakeholders that influence what goes into the HP web site.

What is involved with Global SEO Management at HP:

  • Set a global strategy
  • Include a SEO section in the style guide and build SEO into design guidelines.
  • Engineers interfaces: Goolge Webmaster Central, Yahoo
  • Robots txt
  • Architecture SEO
  • Top level page SEO
  • Strategic keywords and governance
  • Overlaps
  • Gaps
  • Link building – collaborative effort with linking, sharing which keywords are focused on.

Vaughan emphasized the importance of SEO at a company wide level.

One deployment example presented was the centralized social tagging widget that invites readers of content at HP to bookmark and share pages. This tactic has been successful at passively generating thousands of links from the millions of pages on the HP site.

Engine tools:
With Google Webmaster Central there is a new feature set that allows a geographic target to be designated. A possible issue for enterprise web sites is targeting countries on hundreds of subdomains.

With Yahoo Site Explorer, there’s a new dynamic URL rewrite tool that can help reduce the appearance of duplicate content and consolidate link popularity. The issue for enterprise web sites and this tool is that they currently have to authenticate each sub domain.

Additional challenges:

  • Subdomains and DNS – Certian business units have become accustomed to using user friendly but not search friendly sub domains.
  • Redirects – Understanding and education on how to manage different scenarios
  • Load balancing
  • A/B testing
  • Page/site moves
  • Marketing friendly URLs
  • Tracking URLs
  • Integration and coordination with paid search campaigns and on-site search
  • International indexation issues

Benefits of Managing SEO for an enterprise sized web site (Why Tanya’s job isn’t so bad after all):

  • Global responsibility
  • Consultant to upper management
  • Self directed – nobody tells you how to do your job because no one else has a clue
  • Networking and professional credibility
  • Responsiveness from agencies and vendors
  • Budget enables quality agency support
  • Visibility in industry

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SES Chicago Session: Big Site, Big Search http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/big-site-big-search-tips/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/big-site-big-search-tips/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2007 21:57:43 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/big-site-big-search-tips/ Search Marketing within large organizations, often presents a unique set of problems back to the search marketer/marketing firm. It’s nothing that’s does on purpose (for the most part), but rather it simply comes along with large, complex organizations. The panel for this session outlined what they see as the most frustrating components of working for [...]

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Big Site, Big Search

Search Marketing within large organizations, often presents a unique set of problems back to the search marketer/marketing firm.

It’s nothing that’s does on purpose (for the most part), but rather it simply comes along with large, complex organizations.

The panel for this session outlined what they see as the most frustrating components of working for large organizations and how search marketers can adapt to reach the end objectives.

The panels’ top frustrations include:
1. Uneducated individuals
2. Resistant individuals
3. IT Departments that say NO

If you’re running into any of the above while trying to work with an organization, try the following:

Uneducated Individuals

1. If there are uneducated individuals within the organization, which there will be, then educate them! Explain what SEO/SEM is, how it works and share case studies/results to get them on board.
2. Identify internal champions of Search and give them the tools to help educate others in the organization. This will ensure that positive information about Search is coming both from the agency and within the organization.
3. Host a training session to empower them. This has added benefits as it will help the program grow if all communications are written with SEO in mind.

Resistant Individuals
1. Repeat steps 1-3 above.
2. Traditionally the more work that is involved = more resistance. Outline the program and break it down into manageable chunks.
3. Conduct competitive research and help them understand that search is vital to helping the company grow and staying competitive within the marketplace.
4. If the above doesn’t work, talk to the individual one-on-one to address his/her specific issues, answer questions and present the case for search. Make sure this is one-on-one so others aren’t affected.

IT Departments that say NO
1. Present the business case for the updates being asked of them. i.e. Search Engines can’t crawl the site, keeping the site from ranking and minimize opportunities to increase traffic. Remember – they want to help the company too.
2. Identify low hanging fruit. Again, outline the technical requirements and present a couple easy ones first to build confidence and so the team can celebrate successes. IT departments often feel overworked and underappreciated; a thank you goes a long way.
3. Prioritize the Fixes and the Benefits of each. Don’t start them out with a fix that takes hours and provides little benefit.

My experience, working with large organizations, is that education is the first step. Help them understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how it will benefit them and their part of the organization!

The panel included:
Moderator:
Kevin Ryan, Vice President, Global Content Director, Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Watch

Speakers:
Bill Hunt, CEO, Global Strategies International
Amanda Evans, Senior Search Consultant, WebMama.com, Inc.
Olivier Lemaignen, Group Manager, Global Search Marketing, Intuit
Randy Peterson, Search Marketing Innovation Manager, Procter and Gamble
Carol Kruse, Vice President, Global Interactive Marketing, The Coca-Cola Company

Find more images from SES Chicago.


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Evaluating Client Search Marketing Readiness http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/09/sem-readiness/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/09/sem-readiness/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2007 14:45:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/09/sem-readiness/ Experienced client side and agency search marketers know that today’s SMB and enterprise SEO projects involve much more than single event “SEO triage” and link building. A quick look at the topics on the top search marketing forums, newsletters, conferences, blogs and even print magazines shows an increasing variety of strategies ranging from marketing with [...]

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Experienced client side and agency search marketers know that today’s SMB and enterprise SEO projects involve much more than single event “SEO triage” and link building. A quick look at the topics on the top search marketing forums, newsletters, conferences, blogs and even print magazines shows an increasing variety of strategies ranging from marketing with social media to SEO and usability to leveraging user generated content.

As companies look for the right online marketing resources to help navigate the ever changing and increasingly complex world of search marketing, what variables, channels and outcomes should be considered?

In order for companies to realize the maximum benefit from a search marketing initiative, there must be a certain level of understanding about how various online marketing channels work. One of the most effective ways our SEO firm has found to assess current understanding and to introduce important concepts is through a discovery process including questions.

Here are a few questions companies might ask themselves and answer before embarking on a “search” for a trusted search marketing consultant:

Resources:

  • Is there a person or committee that “owns” the search marketing initiative?
  • What client side resources are available for support and implementation of search marketing initiatives?

Marketing:

  • How is the web site/business currently marketed? Direct mail, email, trade shows, advertising in print-radio-TV, email marketing, word of mouth, PPC, SEO, interactive marketing, etc.
  • Is the company open to additional online marketing channels outside of standard search?

Web Site:

  • How long has the web site been live in its current form/design?
  • What platform and content management system is used?
  • In what ways and how often is web site content added/updated? By whom?
  • How many unique pages are there? How many primary categories of content?
  • Is the company willing/able to change the web site content to improve relevancy?
  • Would the SEO consultant make changes directly to a copy of the site or would they go through a web developer or agency for implementation?

Understanding the Target Audience:

  • Describe the target market/industry
  • Describe the target audience/prospect (person that makes the buying decision)
  • What unique value does the web site offer clients/prospective clients? What need does it satisfy better than the competition?
  • List the top keyword concepts that are most representative of the target product/service offering
  • Are specific geographical areas targeted? Where?

Measuring Success:

  • What measures of success will be used to evaluate the search engine marketing program?
  • What are the specific benchmarks and goals? i.e. % increase in traffic, sales, etc.
  • What type of web site analytics software is used and what are the key performance indicators?
  • How does a prospective buyer typically make contact? (web form, phone, email, in person)
  • Describe the typical web lead sales cycle
  • How are web leads to conversions tracked?
  • What is the average cost per web lead? Per sale?

Content:

  • How many press releases are distributed each month and through what distribution channels?
  • Is there a blog? If so, what is the URL and what is its purpose?
  • Is a podcast or any other type of audio recordings published?
  • Is there a print or email newsletter? If so, how often is it published and in what format? Is it archived to the web?
  • Does anyone in the company author articles pertaining to your company and/or industry?
  • Are images related to the business, products or services published on a regular basis? Ex: candids, product shots, staff, collateral, direct mail
  • Does the company produce or outsource the creation of video content?

Outside Influences:

  • Please list up to 3 competitor web sites
  • Has a SEO firm previously been engaged? If yes, describe the experience
  • Is an outside PR firm and/or ad agency currently engaged?

Time and $:

  • Time frame to start program
  • Which cost centers are funding the search marketing initiative?
  • Overall budget allocated annually for search marketing – organic, PPC.

Obviously each situation is as unique as the company and its objectives, but the list above can provide valuable insight into a company’s state of SEM readiness as well as provoking new thoughts and concepts. The more informed companies are about search marketing, the more successful they will be at qualifying and managing SEM agency engagements.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2007. | Evaluating Client Search Marketing Readiness | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Session: In House Big SEO http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/enterprise-seo/ Wed, 22 Aug 2007 15:50:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/enterprise-seo/ It can be incredibly laborious when deploying search engine optimization for an enterprise company with tens of divisions, thousands of products, and tens of thousands of web pages. Bill Macaitis, Marshall D. Simmonds, Melanie Mitchell, and Bill Hunt led the “In House: Big SEO” discussion providing insight into how to effectively manage SEO campaigns of [...]

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It can be incredibly laborious when deploying search engine optimization for an enterprise company with tens of divisions, thousands of products, and tens of thousands of web pages. Bill Macaitis, Marshall D. Simmonds, Melanie Mitchell, and Bill Hunt led the “In House: Big SEO” discussion providing insight into how to effectively manage SEO campaigns of tremendous magnitude.

Simmonds of the New York Times shared 5 items to ensure the success of a huge SEO campaign:

  • Organization – The development and time frame of an SEO project plan
  • Analysis – The collection of data describing a program’s current situation
  • Education – The process of sharing tactical knowledge with each member of the team
  • Execution – The implementation of the tactics designed the meet the company’s objectives
  • Measurement – The collection of data describing the success of failure of a program

Macaitis of Fox Interactive Media summarized a few ideas that can act as a catalyst to keep an SEO campaign moving, especially when executives on the other side may be slowing it down. These items included:

  • Defining the opportunity (How will SEO increase company revenue?)
  • Evangelizing Success (Who has this worked for in the past?)
  • Selling to the Stakeholders
  • Find Allies (Build relationships with those who understand search)
  • Engage in Continuing Knowledge Transfer (Keep everyone involved educated about what’s going on)
  • Bribe (Reciprocity can help foster relationships and work to your advantage)

Lastly, the panel shared that if a program is moving a little too slow, it can be extremely beneficial to show your client statistics on their competition. No one likes to know that they’re behind. Chances are, exposure to these data will help speed things up.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2007. | Session: In House Big SEO | http://www.toprankblog.com

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