RIMC 2013: Duane Forrester – First Keynote #RIMC13

RIMC 2013: Duane Forrester – First Keynote #RIMC13

21st March 2013

Keynote 1: Duane Forester – The overlap between social and search

Duane introduces himself as talking about the connection between Search and Social. He has written books such as “How to make money from your blog” and “Turning clicks into customers”. He has been in Search for 12 years and also dabbles in domaining.

In Search, 1 in 4 queries delivers a successful result. 42% of sessions require further refinement. 44% of sessions last more than one day. The key is understanding a “session” in the form of a customer. A query is a single action and a session is a collection of related actions over time. Keyword research is key to session opportunity as a customer may search for one thing on one day, and another related term the next day. Understanding the session lets you understand what that searcher is doing. Are they moving towards the sales funnel? This is the most important thing to focus on. Go into your search logs, find the data, understand what people are consuming and build a view of the reality of what that person is trying to achieve.

50% of all time searching is on sessions over 30 minutes and 50% of those sessions are returning for a related search that stemmed from the original query itself. This person is essentially travelling through the sales funnel and this is the opportunity to grab this searcher.

Every time someone publishes a piece of content via one URL costs Bing 1cent. There are trillions of pages online so is actually a substantial cost. Everything is also instant and search engines need to bring that live content to the forefront (such as this live blog). We also have to deal with multiple platforms because of mobile and tablets.

One goal Bing is working for is reorganising the web for task completion. We have to understand how people search for people; how to influence geo spatial searches, and apps. One challenge with apps is how advertising plays a part and how it should be policed. Optimising for search within app stores is rudimentary and needs to evolve.

Search needs to be reinvented with 3 dimensions:

  • Information Architecture via social graph and geospatial index
  • Interafction Model – not just keyboard and mouse but voice, touch, gesture and visions
  • Entry Points – not just browseres but devices, services and social networks

The changing “web of objects” needs to be managed more via real-time services, eople, services, devices, multimedia, places and things. Devices are interesting as tablets are still treated as mobile devices and yet they are very different. Those devices are changing the way we consume data. Places are also a challenge.

Schema.org is important to help search engines interpret data. Let’s say you search for “Subway” – the search engine needs to interpret what you want. Do you want to find the nearest subway station? Or another station? Or are you just hungry for a Subway?! Schema helps this interpretation of websites to deliver what the search engine thinks is the best results for you.

Duane likes Scotch. Therefore Duane wants to know more about it which is why he loves recipe rich snippets.

Deliver knowledge by computationally understanding user intent. Linda searches for “home gym” – this then needs intent detection:

  • Who
  • Where
  • Others
  • Semantic
  • Research

…then task derivation

  • purchase
  • install
  • sell
  • impress friends

Mobile is finally getting the attention in the US that it deserves. Reality is that in 8 years there’ll be 25billion devices compared to today’s 8 billion. Mobile is too important to ignore. Get off mobile sites like m.yourdomain.com – get on HTML5 and responsive now. Voice search is also something to take seriously. Because more people are visiting via mobile, there is more of a chance that voice embedded searches are going to be influencial.

Social is important for this too. Do not use autofollowing methods. Formulas tell Duane that if you have 10k followers on Twitter, if you follow 10k people in return it’s more possible that that person cannot consume this amount of content. However, the person who fulfils that formula makes the search engines want to know more about you. Social has rapidly evolved since the days of IRC. Now, there’s a social space for nearly everything. Its a proven model and will also work. Engage with people! So let’s follow the path of someone and how social is important…

You want to buy a camera. You research several products, talk to family and friends and perhaps even leave your search session by asking another friend 2 days later. You find expert opinions, crowdsourced opinions but underneath that you see your friend liked or shared information about that camera. You then buy the camera and, without your friend knowing, take it out for him/her to see. That person will have a stronger offline relationship by swapping kudos over that shared knowledge.

Humanity is leaving its traces. Social is now starting to dictate search and this shows in Bing where they now use information from Twitter to influence SERPs for searchers connected to those profiles. So where does SEO fit in – importance is relevance.

There are 6 major investment areas for SEO

Use unique content – can’t stress that enough. Match content to the audience. Use different mediums for different tasks. Ensure that you understand your visitor before they even enter your site. Don’t take shortcuts – limit syndicated content. Create keyword campaigns around topics (using the session theory above). Do not do ranking reports as there’s only one way to go – position number 1. What if your competitor is now making an increased effort? It’s too hard to measure and not something your client may appreciate.

Encourage more sharing. People love lists, hooks (although you need to be careful as some may not be interpreted well by some but well by others). Share other’s information. Build efficiencies by looking for ways streamline your time, identify a customer need and fill in the blanks; and look to identify patterns so you can leverage efficiency efforts.

And lastly – use Bing Webmaster Tools as it offers much more than Google Webmaster Tools 🙂

DuaneForrester-lgDuane Forrester – Bing

Duane Forrester runs the public outreach side of the Webmaster program for Bing. He is a Senior Product Manager with Bing’s Webmaster Program. Previously, he was an inhouse SEM running the SEO program for MSN in the U.S. & Americas. He is also the founding co-chair of SEMPO’s In-House SEM Committee, was formerly on the Board of Directors for SEMPO and is the author of two books: How To Make Money With Your Blog & Turn Clicks Into Customers.


Written By
Alex Moss is the Director at FireCask, an online marketing agency in Manchester specialising in Search, Content and WordPress development. Alex is also the Co-Founder of Peadig, a WordPress framework powered by Bootstrap.
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