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Search Engine Strategies New York City, San Francisco & Chicago 2010 Session Pitch : Home Page Title Tag – Hot or Not?

The following session was submitted to Search Engine Strategies in January, 2010.  Hope you enjoy it.

Home Page Title Tag – Hot or Not?

Moderators: David Dalka and either Mike Grehan, Greg Jarboe or Stewart Quealy

The first thing one learns about search engine optimization is about the importance of title tags, especially the home page title tag. Yet when an experienced SEO surfs the web they often must stop and scratch their head at certain home page title tags! It certainly indicates a lack of understanding by senior management teams out there.

In this session everyone is the expert! We will share 30 title tags and URLs in 30 minutes. Everyone gets to tweet their impressions of the title tag for with the Twitter hashtag #sestitle!!! Then we’ll do Q&A and figure out what it all means. The benefits of this session are certain to include venting of pent up frustration, bonding with your fellow search marketers, extreme laughter and far reaching communication of the session to people far and wide not even at the Search Engine Strategies conference! Spread the gospel. Change the world. See you there.

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Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008: Universal & Blended Search Engine Conversation

Kevin Ryan, SES Advisory Board Chair & CEO, Motivity Marketing

Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search
Mike Grehan, Global KDM Officer, Acronym Media
Chris Blakely, Director, Client Services, comScore, Inc.
Todd Schwartz, Group Product Manager, Live Search, Microsoft Corporation
Jack Menzel, Senior Product Manager, Google

This is a live session blog from Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008, please excuse any typos and/or fragments. Thank you!

Mike Grehan:

You need to think differently.

Vertical creep is pushing organic results down the page.

Eye Tracking shows that people are not scrolling the way that they used to.

This creates a problem, you need to be at the top of the listings.

Local business center creates opportunities for local businesses.

New paid search results like paid results.

Chris Blakely – comScore:

Leverage comScore search data shows traction of universal search efforts.

Feature sets of search expanding. 48% of searchers are seeing different types of blended search results from their queries.

Lower clicks on sponsored links with the exception of ecommerce and travel.

Organic search strategies need to evolve from that standpoint.

Jack Menzel – Google Product Manager Universal Search:

Universal search has the following elements:
Comprehensiveness – Images, Maps, News, Products, Video, Books and more
Relevance – Run every query against every index, decide what to show only after we collect all of the data
Presentation – Summarize the content in the most efficient way possible.

Recently, there have been made into search results pages.

Better Ranking – Universal search is just a subset of ranking.

What’s next?
Keep improving relevance
Help users explore
Improved results summary

What does this mean for web masters?
– Publish the best and high quality content that you have.
– Take advantage of prominent new verticals

Todd Schwartz – Group Product Manager – Microsoft Live Search:

Evolution of Search:
Search – Directories, Keyword Trends, Rich Semantics, User Experience
Market – Immature, Closed Trends, Open Item????
Consumer – Search, Keyword Trends, Actions

Deliver, Simplify, Implement

Showed Samsung lcd tv model – showed elements of a shopping review, rating and engine – an interesting change

Showed weather and Barack Obama examples

More engagement
Better reach
Higher ROI
Update Product and Business Info

Larry Cornett – Yahoo! Search:

Transformed from a static experience to a complete information in one search

Showed several Blended examples using Yahoo! Search:
Kyle Orton – Chicago Bears fantasy sports
Movies – including times and local listings
Beyonce – music videos on the search page
Sushi in San Jose
Barack Obama

Richer, more relevant links…

Searchmonkey – publishers collaborate, meaning behind the link, richer experience, relevant and personal, etc.

Yelp is a Searchmonkey partner. (How does this affect Yahoo! Local?)

The infobar – Steve Jobs example

Share structured data: Publishers > Searchmonkey > Tell your users

Why is blended search important?
Unmatched opportunities and control for publishers
Key step for building a smarter search engine with structured data

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The Future Yahoo! CEO Nominee Discussion…

OK, Kara Swisher started this discussion(I’m not saying it’s going to happen), but I question her fundamental assertion that Jerry Yang is the person calling the shots. The memo regarding Jeff Weiner’s departure came from Sue as does most of the primary communication messaging. Many think Sue is the one that is in charge for this reason.

I’d acknowledge the relevancy of Sara’s nomination of Dan Rosenweig but will dismiss Marc Cuban as he’s more focused on acquiring the Chicago Cubs at present.

I’d like to nominate my own slate of nominees all would bring dramatic culture change and growth rather than an expense cutting mantra and I’d enjoy being a part of their team if asked:

Dick Costolo – Yahoo! arguably has the world’s largest mountain of content. Dick is one of the world’s thought leaders on distributing and monetizing content. He is also well qualified to build a culture of customer responsiveness. He also might have played a lead role in the recent Yahoo!/Google monetization deal.

Rich Skrenta – His knowledge of search is highly regarded. His new startup could also be lifted out to build a new company to replace many parts of the old one.

Brad Garlinghouse – Many would argue he understands and communicated the challenges to execution that Yahoo! faces better than anyone and is willing to make his case about it as he did in the peanut butter memo.

Jim Lanzone – If given the chance, it would be fascinating to see him have the resources to execute some of the lofty things he tried at Ask on a shoestring budget.

Those come to mind first, am I missing anyone? I’m certain I’ve missed some people out west that should be considered.

I’ll Tag:

Fred Wilson

Michael Arrington (via Crunchnotes)

John Battelle

Carl Icahn (please give me a shout if you read this)

UPDATE: Michael correctly points out that he’s already written this post…my bad…

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Have We Entered The Era of The Functional Web?

The New York Times has an article on how the potential sale of Yahoo! to Microsoft could be bad for minnows, i.e. small Silicon Valley companies looking to be acquired. I think this is a short sighted viewpoint.

In the late 1990’s era, the web was slanted too much towards wall street involvement that led IPO’s that were questionable and in retrospect not advisable.

A force outside the web, namely Sarbanes-Oxley in the Enron aftermath, has made the IPO considerably more challenging to achieve and costly to navigate – even for highly legitimate ideas.

In the web 2.0 era, the slant often went way too far to the left in terms of engineering. Some ideas with little actual business purpose have received unwarranted acclaim and without artificial sources of acquisition, some might not even exist.

Before I go onto explain why that development might create an alignment that I’ll tentatively call the functional web, let me state that I think there are plenty of other companies out there that could emerge to pick up the slack such as Fox, Intuit, Apple or any of a number of traditional media companies who “get it”.

This web might emerge even if the Yahoo! acquisition does not take place. If the functional web emerges a place where engineering and business purpose mix in equally important parts instead of the excesses in one direction or another, who potentially gains and who potentially has something to lose?

Potential Gainers:

– Strong Internet business skill generalists with strong system architecture, product management and the ability to network with geeks and non-geeks alike and iterate from feedback will be in higher demand.

– Companies who would like to challenge the big three who would get an opening.

– People who understand how to create revenue models that could provide for great stand alone businesses.

People pushing for Sarbanes-Oxley reform to reopen the IPO spiggot a tad. They will push even harder.

Potential Losers:

– Funding sources who either fund ideas in a me-too fashion or just because they’ve known the people since the era and/or those who can’t define and lead a path to monetization or bring strong execution partners to the table.

– Domain name squatters and sellers.

– Passive executive recruiters who will have to actually analyze comprehensive skill sets instead of simply poaching from a direct competitor.

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Blake Jorgensen, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Tim Cadogan of Yahoo! to Present at Thomas Weisel Partners Conference

Yahoo! to present at the Thomas Weisel Partners Technology, Telecom, and Internet Conference

Blake Jorgensen, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Tim Cadogan, SVP, Search, Listings, and Display Marketplaces will present at the Thomas Weisel Partners Technology, Telecom, and Internet Conference. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT

A live webcast of the presentations will be available on the Investor Relations website at:

Welcome back Blake!

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The Yahoo! Rumor That Just Won’t Go Away…

So Michael Arrington got put on the spot on Fox Business News and the age old Microsoft/Yahoo! merger rumor resurfaced. It’s almost as frequent as a Rick Roll YouTube video link.

I’ve written before about how this Microsoft rumor, which dates back to the days of Terry Semel, seems less likely to me than other alternatives such as ATT. Not that it’s even a likely event with the right management moves.

So Dave, why do you think this? Well, it’s commonplace for companies to have long standing alliances before merging. Yesterday, Yahoo! sent out this little noticed press release which stated the following.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), the nation’s No. 1 wireless and broadband provider, and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced a new multi-year strategic alliance that paves the way for an even richer and more innovative online experience for consumers – whether at home or on the go.

This doesn’t mean a Microsoft merger is impossible, I just can’t see a scenario where AT&T isn’t given a chance to match it or initiate it based on 7 years of partnership history.

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Yahoo! Launches Go 3.0 Beta, New Open Mobile Widget Platform, and Mobile Homepage

Yahoo! Go has several exciting announcements that are launching today:

· Yahoo! Go 3.0 beta:
o New features include:
§ Enhanced user interface, optimized for the mobile phone
§ Improved performance
§ For the first time, consumers will have access to third-party widgets from leading publishers through Yahoo! Go.
o Yahoo! Go 3.0 also includes display advertising from Yahoo!’s major global advertisers. Consumers will be able to interact with these ads by clicking to call the advertiser directly or to learn more about the offer.

· New Open Mobile Widget Platform:
o The platform is an open environment for deverlopers to create mobile Widgets for instant access by millions of consumers.
o Widgets created on the Mobile Widget Platform will be available to consumers from various starting points, including Yahoo! Go 3.0 and Yahoo!’s new mobile homepage.
o The platform will enable developers to write code once and publish their content across Yahoo!’s mobile network, allowing accelerated delivery of a feature-rich mobile experience.
o The platform will enable consumers more control over their experience, as well, by providing the functionality to add and delete Widgets at any time.
o Full-featured SDK for developers to be introduced over the coming weeks.
o Third-party Widget launch partners include, eBay, MySpace, and MTV.

· Redesigned Mobile Homepage
o New features:
§ Completely redesigned and engineered mobile interface from the ground up.
§ Homepage centers around intuitive navigational structure where consumers can tailor content according to needs, interests and location.
§ Available to consumers in the United States on high-end mobile browsers, which are included in devices such as the Apple iPhone, sever Nokia Seies 60 devices, including the N95, and select Windows Mobile devices. Availability across additional devices and countries to come in the near future.
o Key features:
§ Personal Vitality and Status Updates: Provides an at-a-glance update of what’s new since the last visit – including recent emails, Flickr photos from your friends, upcoming calendar appointments and status of Messenger contacts – without moving away from the home screen or logging into a separate application.
§ Customizable Content: Offers a collection of mobile content modules – or Snippets – that provide previews of the user’s favorite content – news headlines, weather conditions, etc – whatever the user wants. In many cases, Snippets are extensions of mobile widgets and can be used to launch a full-featured widget built on Yahoo!’s Mobile Widget Platform.
§ Quick Links: Customizable links at the bottom of the page, providing fast access to the Yahoo! features or sites across the Internet that consumers use the most. Consumers can easily add and remove Quick Links as they desire.

That’s alot to digest! Will 2008 be the year mobile breaks through?