Richard Zwicky of eightfold logic just released a poll to deterrmine the top writers in the SEO space. We are, of course, excited to be on the list! Take a moment and go vote for your favorite SEO writers (even if it isn’t me!). Thanks!
When I had the chance to interview Mikko Ollila, senior product manager for Local Search at Bing, I was excited. Bing has done some nice things with their local search experience, and I wanted to learn a bit more about it.
Our discussion quickly shifted into a review of how Silverlight enables immersive experiences. The affect is really cool and worth a closer look, if you have not already looked at it. Consider the process you go through when you get directions to some place you have not been to before. With a few clicks in Bing Maps you can go from seeing a place a map, to getting directions, to seeing what the place looks like. In addition, you can move around the neighborhood around the place you searched on to see what is nearby.
Bing is also reaching out to developers to get them to create map applications based on Bing Maps. Partnerships also are playing a big role in the Bing strategy. Their recent announcement with Facebook is one example of this. Much more in the interview than this, so check it out!
Today I have the privilege of posting an interview with Shashi Seth, the Senior VP of Search Products for Yahoo! It was a fun interview for me, because the very first interview I ever did was with Shashi back on October 24, 2006. He was at Google at the time, and they had just launched their Custom Search Engines product line.
The key point that emerges from the interview is that Yahoo! views itself as continuing to invest heavily in search. They view the 10 blue links part of search as a commodity, and Yahoo plans to experiment with many types of user experiences to get people who use their other web properties more engaged in search. Shashi refers to this as improving the process of discovery. He argues that if a user finds what they are looking for without ever going to a search box, that’s a good thing.
We touched briefly on the topic of how search is measured. Interestingly, after I interviewed Shashi, Danny Sullivan posted a rant about things being done by Yahoo! that end up manipulating the comScore search market share figures. Shashi and I did discuss the topic (but not Danny’s post since it was not out at the time) of how search volume is counted. He argues that search volume tracking should be more robust than it is today. If someone gets a search query result embedded in content without ever touching a search box, and then they engage with it, is that a search?
For that matter, is the total number of queries the best way to measure a search engine? What about user engagement metrics, such as number of searches it takes a user to find what they want, or the time the user spends engaged with search result content. These ideas, while conceptually interesting, remain hard to measure.
Overall, it was a great look at how Yahoo! views the evolution of search.
Presumably anone who reads this blog really does not need to be convinced of the value of SEO, but chances are that all of you have run into situations where you are trying to explain to someone else of the value of SEO. This is often a very challenging activity. New data from a survey by The Info Tech Group provides some great additional tools for when you need to make this argument. For example, a survey of 94 IT companies showed that companies that put high to very high levels of effort into SEO were far more likely to see traffic growth than sites that put in low to very low SEO effort:
One of the more interesting surveys that The Info-Tech Group did demonstrated that SEO led to increased site stickiness:
The fact that you are 6 times more likely to increase stickiness if you pursue SEO is pretty compelling. I have also believed for a long time that high rankings on key search terms brings a lot of value to your brand. In this survey of 95 IT companies, The Info-Tech Group found that 100% of companies that pursued a very high amount of SEO saw their brand gain value, while only 44% of companies that put very low effort into SEO saw their brand value increase:
Last but not least for companies with investors, another Info-Tech Group showed that SEO has a major impact on impressing stakeholders. Creating a position impression among investors and shareholders is a must. SEO appears to do that quite well:
This data is a great complement to existing industry data. When I am try to impress people on the importance of SEO, I am also likely to show them a chart like this one:
This is an actual traffic chart for a pretty good sized web site, where 92% of their traffic comes from organic SEO (they don’t do PPC on this site). Of course, results vary from site to site, but even for major brands a search engine presence is essential. I discussed this quite a bit more in recent columns on Search Engine Land:
Whatever you do when you are trying to sell the benefits of SEO, make sure you follow the KISS (keep it simple stupid) rule. Before you go in to make your pitch, find out their level of understanding on the topic, and then tune the pitch appropriately. I also believe that it is critical to create visuals that express the concept. Few people learn as well from looking at a sea of text as they do from seeing graphics and charts. Senior managers have a lot of other things on their plate, and are likely to give you limited time to help them understand why they should invest in SEO. Use it well!