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At Search Insider Summit, experts discussed how Content Marketing is becoming an essential SEO tool for businesses. Moderated by Jennifer Tan, Senior Director, Performance Marketing, Experian, the panelists of this discussion were:

You can watch the video at Ustream
Jennifer: Thanks for putting Jim next to me because I wanted to ask ..like Christmas…[Laughter] Okay, thanks everybody. I’m Jennifer Tan and I am from Experian. I lead our Performance Marketing teams and SEO is one of those teams that I manage. So I am really excited about this panel because this is a topic that at Experian, we are currently struggling and trying to figure out the best strategy on the recent algorithm updates.

So in 2014, there were several high impact algo updates that may have disrupted a lot of brands and eCommerce sites SEO efforts and historically, SEO teams have been tied to revenue, so now with these algo updates, putting more emphasis on or penalties on thin content sites and more emphasis on high quality content, we’ve had to learn how to work differently within our organizations with content teams typically sitting more on the PR side. So that’s why one question that I wanted us to review today with our panel of experts here. So before we jump into the questions, we’ll go ahead and do introductions, so if you could please say your name, your company and what you do.

Jim: My name is Jim Barnes. I’m on the team that manages search engine optimization for all of the Walgreens properties. We’ve, may be, eight or ten different properties that we manage.

Bill: My name is Bill Connard, from Rio SEO and I’ve been working in the local SEO industry for over 11 years and our software power is over a 100,000 multi-location, big brand retailers listing management and store finders.

Kevin: Kevin Lee, CEO and founder of Didit. I’ve been doing SEO for 19 years. Didit is 18 years old.

Michail: I’m Michail Takach. I manage Digital Marketing for Manpower Group and we’re a multi-national staffing company with locations in 80 countries.

Jennifer: Great. Thanks guys. So first, let’s just talk about the changes to SEO and how it’s impacted your organizations. So tell us about what changes you’ve had to make internally at your organizations or in the case of Kevin and Bill, with your clients, what type of changes have you recommended to your clients in terms of how to manage SEO, post-algorithm changes?

Jim: Well, in response to Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and the loss of refers and the rise of mobile, we’ve sort of resulted in a couple of four…actually key efforts. One is a focus on content and you know, Walgreens properties, we think have done a very good job of capitalizing on queries that are navigational and transactional in nature, so we were looking to provide content that’s more informational. So for example, if someone was searching for Walgreens in diapers, we did a great job of that, but if someone had been looking for Walgreens or looking for cloth diapers versus disposable diapers, and we see that as a big opportunity and the information that we’ve, that it represents may be 50% of the total search queries available, doesn’t necessarily convert as well, but it helps to build trust.

So a big focus on content, a focus on the mobile experience, of course, so we’re in the process of the adaptive responsive thing, which is going to be interesting, and then one of the challenges we had to face was developing more synergies with our social team. They sort of had different goals or they had goals other than helping us do content marketing. So it’s one of the things we’ve had to work on and I think finally, a focus on local, in the sense that Walgreens has in the US 8500 stores and one of the biggest things that the eCommerce tradition can do is drive clicks to bricks or clicks to door-swings.

Bill: Yeah. So we recommend our customers track their rankings, so local ranking, so when algorithm changes take place, you can actually see the effect of the algorithm changes and what we found is customers that are applying best practice local SEO both on page and through content on the page, we’ve seen a 10% increase each time these algorithm changes are made because of the focus around the importance of local content and even more impressive was where we had customers that had adaptive pages where mobile page had different content than the desktop page, either abbreviated or sized differently or different conversion tools. We actually saw 30% increases in traffic from search, after the algorithms to those mobile pages, so very important that content is not just one thing that you can separate it and create it for both desktop and mobile, based on the user’s habits and process.

Kevin: I guess the comment I would make is the level to which different of our clients got hit by the algo changes in the last 3 years, depends a lot on how aggressive previous generations of SEO were, in general. There are exceptions to that obviously, especially in the case of somebody being hit by negative SEO with tax, but you know, now the people that’ve been doing often SEO for fifteen years on a particular domain name, that may be like four generations of internal people, three or four generations of agencies and so there is legacy related issues that could’ve a huge impact on whether or not remediation is necessary.

So there’s like a whole new sub-brand of SEO which is like SEO remediation and understanding whether or not negative things happened in the past, that need to be remediated or whether you really just have to look forward. As for the forward looking elements, I think a lot of the changes we have implemented internally as well as with clients is, there has been a huge focus on sort of getting that holistic view, getting the social offline PR teams, anyone who touches the Android generates content, trained on the interaction effects of content in different locations and what it’s impact might be on SEO, not just on the route domain name, but on general visibility of that content overall.

So for example, sometimes really great content doesn’t only live on the route domain name of the organization and so thinking about that broader strategy, now requires training and really a broader outlook, so it’s understood now, atleast for our agency that we can’t be expected to sort of do social and do content creation for every client. They are SMEs – subject matter experts on their industry more so than we are, even if we had them for years. That doesn’t mean that we can’t add a tremendous amount of value, but there is going to be this balance between internally generated content, externally generated content and then how it all fits together. So PR agencies need to work more closely with the SEO teams internally or externally, for example.

Michail: Yeah, and our company is obviously slightly different than the others on the panel, because our product is talented to people, so you know, we’re marketing, not a product or service, but actually people and one thing that we had to do in the light of this, when I joined the company, SEO was still an unknown. It was kind of a wizardry; it was, you know, something that happened naturally and was perceived to be happening somewhere, but it was really not owned by anyone, it wasn’t led by anyone. So taking a look at the core business practices, I mean, obviously one of our main marketing channels is job boards.

Unfortunately, our job boards were killing us and killing our own sites in terms of our content reach, so that was a simple fix, something that, you know, no one had even thought of, was that we were working with job distributors to put the same jobs on dozens of locations with identical content and the lowest trained location was our own sites. Another thing that we did look at was our internal structure and brought back the writers. I mean, most companies went into the recession with copywriters, technical writers, all these different writing functions, that were kind of dismissed as, you know, overhead or low value added, and then we came out of the recession with content starvation in place. So bringing back the writers and kind of shifting people’s job responsibilities so that you do have writing an SEO deliverables for the web, these are things that were kind of unheard of when I joined the company and over the past two years, have become basic essentials.

Bill: We’ve also seen a granular optimization around local pages; things like neighborhoods, affiliations with non-profits, you know, landmarks across the street from the malls, things like that, that can help differentiate every single store page and even things like employee, the month, pictures where the employee, the month is on the page and they tell all their friends and their friends all go to the page and they like the page and you end up with all this traffic and value from that as well!

Jennifer: That’s great. I think the…how to work internally within your organization has, we’ve really had to shift the way we think about that at our organizations, so I’m glad you touched on that a little bit and I want to drill into that a little bit more, regarding SEO and your content marketing in your social media teams, how are they working together? Have you had to create new processes, have you had to incentivize differently? I liked Michail’s point about the quality content writers being laid off and then now, we’ve a sudden need for them again and so how are you incentivizing them to work harder for a channel that is tight on revenue like SEO?

Jim: So I would say at Walgreens, it’s particularly challenging with over 250000 employees and many of the organizations, somewhat siloed as a lot of larger organizations are. The good thing that’s really happened recently is that content marketing now has, is a strategic initiative, it has ‘C’ level support and so that garners a lot of cooperation between the content teams and the social teams and the PR teams. Also we have hired back our internal folks in, the content managers, then copywriters and we are working with third-parties to provide content that comes into the organization and in order to…I mean, it’s somewhat painful, but in order to maintain the type of quality that we need to be in a pharmacy, much of the material has to go through a medical review and then it goes through creative reviews and branding reviews, but I think we come out with a good product that way.

Bill: I think also immigrating with outside sources for things like neighborhoods, landmarks and events like that, and empowering store managers to bring a little more grandularity to the store descriptions, are really key things to help differentiate all of those thousands and thousands of stores and pages that you might have.

Kevin: I think one of the under-utilized or under-tapped resources for a lot of the brick and mortar or cross-channel organizations is the fact that they have this huge employee core, some of which are extremely knowledgeable about products and for about a year I’ve been sort of pushing some of our clients who have that kind of a retail footprint to empower some of their employees to start creating content and putting them into moderated CMS’s where eventually they can be edited by a professional and used, in giving, you know, a credit where credit is due to the employees for creating that.

I’ve only gotten about 20% of those of my clients who were in those kinds of business to embrace that yet, but the reality is that at the hyper-local level, and also just even in the SEO for the national domain name, you can’t underestimate the value of that content edge that you’ve from people who don’t need to be off-shored or outsourced in any way. They are literally already working for the company and often they have a real passion for the company and they would like to figure out how to help. It’s coming up with the best process by which that can occur, you know, beyond employee of the month page, which is really just the way, like that’s a social link page, but that works, right? [Laughter]

You can beyond that, where they were just the employee of the month, but they were an employee who helped, right, to create content and you know, relate or real life experience about somebody in the store, had a problem and it got solved, I think that’s really under-tapped and it may be, you know, may end up being an equalizing force between the peer place and the folks who have retail footprints, right, because everyone thinks all these peer place, they are focused on SEO, they are really expert at it, these poor guys, book cataloguers and brick and mortar merchants, they don’t have a way to fight, that they can fight back in, you know, usual ways.

Michail: Yeah, I have to layer on to that brand ambassador perspective, because we obviously at the global work force that could service a content engine for all of our sites, whether they were web, social or really any program, but that whole concept of content outsourcing from the field, it was kind of unknown to our field, like that was someone else’s job; that wasn’t their job and you know, even if they had a great story lead, they had a great experience, they had amazing success story that make it very white paper, it was someone else’s job to come and get that, so no one really got the idea of contents outsourcing, to improve the quality of our external sites, until we introduced Google as an internal source of collaboration tool and then suddenly everyone got it.

It was like, you know, “Now I get it internally, can we do this externally too?” and then suddenly we were getting the content from the field. One other thing, one other big change that we made though, that I forgot to mention earlier, is that previously, our business models that are global organization, that provide content in a kind of a templated form for all of the sites worldwide, so every country that had a site would receive identical content and obviously that presents a lot of issues now.

That was a model that may have worked in the past, but certainly isn’t working any more. We made the decision that our global organization which is at our headquarters would focus on the client, because we have a client or candidates per audience and the national organizations would focus on the candidate, so there would be this nice blend of content that would allow our sites to represent both and not exactly duplicate or even compete with each other, so that was a major change we made this year.

Bill: We saw, one retailer of ours actually had the store managers just go out in front of the store and take a store front picture, which has a lot of advantages. One showing what the store looks like, but there is also meta-tags in those images of where the picture was actually taken and that can bring SEO’s just by having a store front image, named after the store and with the geo coordinates already built into the meta-tags, can have some good results as well!

Jennifer: Yeah, those are really great creative efforts, and with these efforts, how are you really quantifying the value of your content marketing campaigns and efforts? What are the KPIs and how are you monitoring the value of it, so that you do continue to have that ‘C’ level support?

Jim: Yeah, that’s a great question and I think a lot of people are really struggling with this. I can tell you what we’re doing, because you know, we basically have been given a mandate to build all this content, but you know, ultimately somebody is going to come back and want to know, you know, what they spent their money on, so we look at the typical things like engagement metrics, bounce rates, page views, time on-site for individual pieces of content, the regular SEO metrics for our site’s ranking for terms that we wanted these products or atleast content pieces to rank for and then for each individual piece of content, we look at the social sharing metrics.

And of course, the business traffic order in revenue and a big one is lifetime value and then our research teams look at customer satisfaction with the content, but I think we’re still trying to sort it out and one of the things that just amazes me is much thought as we give to ideation and the type of content that people will want, I am always amazed at, there always seems to be a piece of content that just rocks, and something you thought that would go doesn’t and so I think it’s just going to take a period of time where we begin to gather these metrics and learn to understand how to optimize our process.

Bill: Our clients use ranking reports in each city that they have particular location, so they’ll set the browsers to the city where the store resides, and they will run a ranking report for a term like “Sporting Good San Diego” or “Sporting Goods in [inaudible 0:18:56]” or something like that and that’s usually how they measure whether or not the needle has been moving, are they achieving more rankings or higher rankings in their markets for those targeted terms and so roll up purporting around ranking and then the next piece is traffic and seeing if those higher rankings or more rankings have a direct effect on traffic coming in, so having that comparison is really the most grandular approach we’ve seen.

Kevin: It’s really been very different, based on each specific client and what their KPIs and objectives are. You know, there is a temptation to really focus pretty heavily on rankings, but often, depending on the client and their mindset, there are other, sort of, a prevalency formulas that can come in really handy. So for example, you know, if you’re looking at the lift in traffic at a particular piece of content created, you want to sort of understand the value, you know, one equivalency that’s often used is:

What would it have cost us if we paid for clicks to this, based on our average for similar keywords? Or you can look at media equivalencies, right, so if you’re actually syndicating content out, you can apply sort of a PR hack, because in the PR world, often they say, “Well, how much would it have cost if you had purchased the advertising on this site, in comparison to this content, you know, this…?” or may be whatever you want to call this, which you’ve got there as a result of an Op. ad or guest blog or whatever you want to call it, it’s there and it’s getting a lot of readership and then you’re able to estimate or as were shared with you by the publisher inside our…and creating some kind of…an equivalency there. You also have to layer on whether the content was created for early, mid or late by-funnel type visitors, right, because there is a lot of content that’s created almost exclusively from a link paid perspective, right, so if you guys all google “Dating Mistakes”, you’re going to find my wife’s site ranking number one, but she is a psychologist in New York.

She doesn’t get any clients or for people who are figuring out how to not make dating mistakes, right, but it’s there for link paid, right? So for that, you know, I would, for her, use a completely different set of objectives. I would basically say, “Well, that went viral, you know, got a bunch of inbound links that ranks really well, but it’s not there directly for customer acquisition. It’s there because it helps your overall site’s SEO,” and it just generates it’s own consistent inbound link; because the rank’s number one, more people link to it. It’s like a refill engine automatically, so content like that, particularly if it’s evergreen, can be really powerful.

Michail: Yeah, unsurprisingly, when I joined my company two years ago, there really was no analytics program in place, so there really were no measures, no one was really concerned about this and it was simply enough to just be out there, which, you know, clearly isn’t working any more. Fortunately we are under a new regime and my job is no longer that easy and we’re working with outside vendor and through a project that’s introducing better SEO infrastructure to 20 of our global sites, we’re building out the digital analytics program as a outcome.

We’re going to keep this in-house and although there are a number of different analytics and business intelligence departments within our company, we really have never had somehow digital analytics focus or really any focus on the value and reach of SEO content marketing or really any other digital program which is…I mean, I came from non-profit healthcare and anyone who’s worked in that field knows the accountabilities that exist there, surprisingly didn’t exist here, so we’re building it out now.

Jim: Jennifer, could I add one more thing to that? One of the things, metrics that we used to help us establish the value of content, that has been particularly telling is that we track new versus repeat customers, of course, and for the informational type content, let’s say we typically get 25% repeat customers and 75% repeat and 25% new, that almost reverses itself when we’re using this informational content because we are ranking for terms that we never would have ranked for before, and then when we look at the lifetime value of those new customers, that’s probably one of the most valuable things that we see happening.

Jennifer: Yeah, it’s all incremental, your discovering new keywords that you typically were looking at in the past, so that’s great! Let’s talk about content types for a minute. Currently, I am actually trying to quantify or justify budget, secure budget for, to create a video, to help my SEO efforts and that would be something new for us, so it’s been challenging to try to wrap numbers around that one, but how are you guys deciding on content types? You know, you have video, written content, infographics, how do you make your decisions around what type of content you want to spend your budget on?

Jim: You know, it’s not all that sophisticated, to be honest, with you. One of the things is it’s a new content is a new initiative. We tend to rely upon our internal strengths and abilities, so we have some great text people who are with many years of experience of creating textual content. So for example, well, our site has about 80000 product SKUs, so we couldn’t really add content to all those SKUs, but we were able to add category content to about 8000 category pages, so that was one effort. The next thing, we’ve done some, may be about 500 different videos. We don’t have a real good metrics on the performance of it, and then I think probably the next step will be to sort of tackle infographics in a real big way.

Bill: I think depending on whether it’s video infographics, images or content, the key to remember is to name, to title those videos and those elements, the targeted terms, you know, make a great video about a new drive, but if you don’t call it ‘The New Drive’ in the name of the video, then you missed the boat. So whatever content you choose, make sure that your naming conventions and your optimization and meta-tags are all targeted around what you are trying to achieve rankings for.

Jim: And a lot of that comes down to training, atleast at loggerheads because people doing it really don’t…

Bill: Yeah, they end up calling ‘Video B1s” …

Jim: Yeah, exactly. [Laughter]

Kevin: One thing we found really useful, as we evaluate different content types and whether or not an investment is warranted in those content types, whether it’s white papers or ebooks or video, whatever, if they try to quantify the amount of opportunity and then the difficulty of achieving rank, right, because those two things are really going to be the best predictors of ROI, so if there is like vacuum or a white zone where there just isn’t a whole lot of competitive content in a particular sector or category or topic, and you think that you’ve enough resources to potentially get up to the top, those two things are real positive.

If it’s very crowded in that category, and there is a lot of great content there already and then the content is owned by folks who, for lack of a better term, term what you would think have a lot of [link juice 0:26:27], probably not worth or better, worth fighting. The other thing that’s really useful to think about is for your particular different target audiences, what is their willingness to accept lower production value content, right, because folks, you know, fifteen, twenty years ago, if you thought about creating a piece of video, even ten years ago, it was like, “I got a higher professional team. It’s going to have lighting; it’s going to be scripted and we are going to, you know, rent a loft and we’re going to shoot it, and that’s going to cost us as much as a Michael Jackson pepsi commercial!”

And now, it’s sort of like, “Okay, yeah, we could send one of our folks into a store with an iphone and just interview a customer about laxatives and that would be really cool!” And customers are okay with that now, at a lot of categories. So you know, that can completely change your cost equation, so even if you don’t know whether you are going to end up ranking on your laxatives video or not, you are like, “Well, it only cost us like $5” so you’ve to really look through it and different brands have different levels of comfort with that, right? So some brands are like, “I am not going to do that,” and other brands are like, “Absolutely! Let’s rock and roll!”

Michail: Yeah, we’ve really struggled with this, you know; at a time when most companies outsource their creative services departments, creative agencies latched on to that to amplify their pricing. So the idea, like you mentioned, of having a professional great video shot is often the budget killer. I mean, you can have one or you could have, you know, twenty other tactics, but one thing that we’ve learned within the Manpower group of companies is that rank score telling is only as authentic as the person telling it and when we are trying to capture, you know, attracting on to and then more importantly retain talent, one of the biggest stories we have to tell is how our intervention saved someone’s life or fixed their income issue or really put them on the career path that they were looking for.

We can’t tell that story. We have to find a way of getting to the people who can tell that story, so right now we’re looking at a number of different tools. Some are embedded within social media management tools, some are in-house. That will allow us to kind of, again, outsource their content from the field and capture those stories, but at the same time, we’re finally committing back to bringing back a multi-media designer in-house who can kind of manage and negotiate that and create that content archives. We have several YouTube channels, none of which are populated and that is probably our biggest search opportunity.

Jennifer: So Kevin, you touched on this a little bit with your wife’s article example, but regarding where content lives, is it time-sensitive or is it evergreen and how do you determine what the right mix is? What’s the best practice in terms of where content lives and when it expires or if it expires?

Kevin: Yeah, I’m always a fan of evergreen content because obviously if you are lucky enough to get it to rank, then it’s going to rank there potentially for a long time. But it ends up being very much a strategic decision, because in some industry categories, you can take advantage of the fact that there is sort of something very newsworthy or topical and you know, create some content in the short term that could end up ranking…you know, entire publishing sites were built around this concept, like the Huffington Post. But yeah, you may not have enough juice to be able to pull that off and get something to rank in the short, intermediate term, but when you end up brainstorming simultaneously with the social media team, social media teams love that, you know, super-hyper topical stuff, even though it may not be evergreen, has a little bit more viral push now, right?

So that’s why, you know, having somebody orchestrate conversations between the search team and the social team, the corporate’s team person obviously, that’s great, can really help find that balance because you know, evergreen content absolutely belongs in your mix and then depending on how important social is to you, you may start to index a little bit more close to sort of the newer content stuff, that may be only has a 24-hour or a one week lifespan, but might end up getting a tremendous amount of viral push behind it. And as far as location of the content, I think that’s just also very strategic, you know, a lot of us in the audience write comments for different places and you know, we take advantage of that, so from a reputation management perspective, I think it’s people are still under-utilizing all their various business company pages as a place to get information out.

I mean, it’s pretty common now that if you look up a company name, the LinkedIn company profile page is going to come up pretty high and that’s pretty much turned into it’s own little CMS. They pull back on some of the stuff they’re able to put there now, but if you’re going to show up there, you will have control over that content, unlike, you know, your gallop through the years, so when I take the situation, we have control over that destination url and really take atleast an hour and look into and decide what you are going to do with it.

Bill: Even content through the review sites being able to, especially with your…having a relationships with the…where you can bring those reviews back into your pages and use those reviews as content by having that user generated review can be a big piece, without having to do any writing at all. So we’ve seen a few retailers using sorting their reviews from Yelp, based on some parameters like four-stars remover and then injecting that into the pages, wrapping it with [Schemer 0:32:13] and delivering content that they didn’t have to write, just had to do, sort through.

Michail: For us, our vision of the Yelp is glass store; obviously, you know, it’s kind of the Yelp front players and we’re actually doing that too, embedding their readings, comments; you know, the user generated content that makes the companies and positions more credible and they are far more attractive to candidates seeking employment.

Jim: Right. I think for Walgreens, because it has such a high domain authority, we are often sort of like to publish content onsite first, but we do have a number of blogs. We are using expert content Dr. Laura Berman who is a sex therapist. We have the right stuff for sexual well being and then Romy Soleimani, celebrity make up artist. She has her own blog for Beauty.com properties and we’re running another, a number of other blogs, beauty research, skin care news, so a pretty broad mix of where we put our content.

Jennifer: Okay, so let’s talk about local little bit and then we will wrap it up with the questions from the audience. So how does content impact local SEO and how do you measure that?

Jim: Sure, so just to be clear, this is an effort that we are just about ready to implement, but there is a couple of interesting points about it. We evaluated our consumer interact with regard to local search on desktop, mobile and tablets, and what we found was basically the biggest thing that people wanted to know was hours of operation, and then after that, they wanted to research price and availability for specific products ads, specific locations, and then they look at reviews, look for coupons and offers and then of course, driving instructions, phone numbers and address locations.

So we are looking to partner with some of the partners like X, our partner is REalSEO and SEM Partners to syndicate our store pages, but one of the things that…the thing that was most interesting to me about it was going through the process that this is really for drug store and for Walgreens, it’s really an effort to drive clicks to flick traffic into the stores and when we looked at, once we were able to establish the value of a click on a local store page, how many people actually then went on to purchase at a store, the numbers were almost unbelievable, when we looked at them and then, you know, really had to go back a couple of different times and even, you know, progressively more conservative, but I think it’s a huge value for us atleast and then the other thing that was, is interesting is that the organizations that would, like tend to benefit from this, would be the brick and mortar stores, don’t get it! They don’t understand the ecosystem and the people that do don’t really benefit and because we are revenue driven in our goals and objectives, so with that, just sort of overcome that in the organization.

Bill: So last year was the year of mobile. I think that this year, it’s got two things coming in local. The first is neighborhood integration. If you look at your own personal search, you know, the way you do it, you are not looking for a store in San Diego. You are looking for a store in University city or HillCrest or North Park and so first piece is integrating neighborhood data into your local store pages and our customers have done that. I’ve seen three times more traffic coming from search than they did when they didn’t have the neighborhood on the page. So the key there, and then the other one is the local inventory, that I think will really explode this year.

If you do an organic search for a particular pair of sun-glasses or a running shoes or a certain type of a tyre or something like that, you will find the product listing ads or the local product ads, but the organic results were completely empty for real-time inventory and so I think the retailers that can build real-time product pages for each individual store, where a customer sees the organic result that says they’ve got these sun-glasses in stock and “Here’s the address and driving directions,” that would be the next big piece and that’s really what we are working on this year, is integrating, you know, thousands of SKUs per store or millions and millions of pages that are highly relevant, and what consumers want. If you’re looking for the size 12 Nike running shoes and it weren’t, that’s what you want to buy. You’ve got a choice product list ad or nothing than organic and so huge opportunity in real-time inventory in organic results.

Kevin: I think a huge opportunity lies in thinking about how your merchandise your successful content, right? So you only have to worry about your unsuccessful content because you could do anything with it, because nobody is visiting it or when you do have that 80:20 or 90:10 or 95:5 where certain sort of pieces of content by luck or by skill ended up ranking high, thinking about what’s, “How am I going to merchandise what I really want to have happen, when the visitor gets here, differently, based on geography or hyper-local information or other information that you can glean in real-time?” It’s almost like when you think about ad servers, right? An ad server makes a lot of decisions on publisher sites, based on what it can impute about a person that’s visiting, cookie information, the location, ISP etc.

You know, you could think about that also from a marketer perspective and like, “Hey, if I do have a lot of retail stores and I can understand that I can merchandise, you know, who has got what, where or really improve the user experience, as a result of knowing where they are coming from or whether or they are on the mobile device or not, that kind of thing and really change and personalize the user experience, once I get a good rank, right?” Now, that’s going to be a win, because now you have invested already in getting the ranking, you’re successful and you have to think about how to squeeze as much juice out of that lemon, right? And you can do that in a way of layering it in, where it is not pro content; you just sort of, you know, almost creating ads or units of the page that are dynamic and based on what you know about the individual – are they an existing customer or a returning customer, whatever.

And just use that information, give the person more of what they want and you want simultaneously. There is that venn diagram where that overlaps, is great, right, because they want it and you want them to want it, and have it. So it’s different for every kind of business, but first you got to get good ranking and get the traffic organically or paid. Certainly organically for content creation is really important and then think about, “Okay, [inaudible 0:39:25] one. What do I do with this?”

Michail: Yeah, and on the other side of the spectrum and the other side of the panel, we are actually moving away from custom local pages, which is kind of curious, but our experience has been that really we are not yet to the point of digital cultural maturity, where field network really understands the premise of these pages and keeping them maintained and keeping them dynamic with fresh, valuable, relevant content. We , believe it or not, have a retail list presence.

For example, in North America, we have 468 field locations and these are increasingly moving from urban locations, which is where they traditionally were based, to more of a suburban, retail centre type of location and so certainly we want to drive attention, we want to drive people into those physical locations, but what ended up happening was that, you know, we created custom pages versus just basic location data, hours of the operation etc, so people could add local information as you mentioned earlier, and it just didn’t work. I mean, people were like “This isn’t..” Again, “My job and I don’t really know what to put here.” There really just was not the, again, the digital maturity. I think we’ll get there some day, but right now we are just going back to improve our…to prevent a negative impact due to static content.

[Just as a quick time..guys, if you have any more link the.,..I think Kevin did a good job of joining us the last 5 minutes or so there. If you want some time for the audience questions, we only have 3, 4, 5 minutes left in the panel, so we are going to say “Make it quick” and the audience questions.]

Bill: Sure, personal ads, I think Facebook does a great job at it. I think cookies like understanding whether you own a cat or a dog or the year and make, model of your cars, so when you are searching for car batteries, you come to a page that’s relevant and Facebook does a great job of that. I found myself actually clicking on the ads, and I am usually not an ad clicker, but their running ads are things I am interested in, like electric bikes or skate boards or surf boards, things like that, so I would like to see in a lot of ads that are relevant to the product and services I buy.

Jennifer: Bill, you ride a skate board?

Bill: [Laughter] Just a motorised one.

Jennifer: It’s really cool that…fire back on, it’s got the fire back on. Alright, do we have time for questions? We do; couple of minutes, may be one or two.

Male Speaker: Hi, what kind of geo coordinates are you using in the meta-tags?\

Bill: So the geo coordinates in the meta-tags are established based on the location of the camera. If you’ve a GPS on or so when you take a picture with your iphone, it recognizes where you are at and that’s in the meta-tags of the actual image file.

Male Speaker: And search will pick that up?

Bill: Yes, that’s part of the meta-tags in that file, so…yeah, that’s a little known secret.

Jennifer: Getting some secrets out! Any other questions?
[No? Well, great. Thank you guys for a wonderful panel. [Applause] So before we get to our next speaker, I have a…housekeeping things for you guys to do. Jeff requested me to let you guys know that they have got spaces left for snow mobiling, yoga and skiing, but if you are not doing any of them, if you have not gone to the desk out here and actually checked in physically with him, he has this key tickets. There is a couple of groups going for snow mobiling; few spots left. You have to work with him to figure out which group you are going out on and the same thing for the yoga spots. So just make sure you do that and then really quickly, James wants to talk a little bit about the ski competition coming up later. ]

 

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