SEO Guru Shares Insights for Magazine Publishers
Marshall D. Simmonds, chief search strategist of The New York Times Co., joined the publisher in 2005 upon its acquisition of About.com, where he had previously been employed in the same role since 1999. Simmonds is considered a search guru by many in the SEO field and a regular presenter at Incisive Media’s Search Engine Strategies and Webmaster World conferences. He specializes in educating large companies on bringing search marketing “in-house” and into their daily workflow.
Publishing Executive Inbox spoke with Simmonds for an exclusive interview addressing SEO-related topics including educating your employees, useful tactics and tips, challenges and more.
INBOX: With the talent pool of SEO experts being depleted by the many companies looking to hire quality professionals, how do you suggest publishers should train their own SEO employees to be the best?
MARSHALL SIMMONDS: It’s absolutely OK to have an SEO company come in and educate an individual on best practices to establish an in-house team or strategy. Our consulting company, Define Search Strategies, does just that. Not only are we the in-house team for all of About.com, The New York Times, Boston.com, The International Herald Tribune, etc., but we also consult for other Fortune 2000 companies to help them internalize the SEO process.
INBOX: What do you feel is the most overlooked tactic when it comes to SEO?
SIMMONDS: The basic blocking and tackling—meaning the execution of SEO best practices. [It’s important to choose] good title tags, meta tags and researched keyword phrases to define the target market.
INBOX: What tips can you offer magazine publishers looking to improve their SEO techniques and strategies?
SIMMONDS: Educate. Teach the editors and producers how SEO works. Be aware that not all SEO companies/consultants understand the publishing world and how threatening this may seem to content teams. A good company will be able to alleviate fears, work with the editorial process and produce exceptional results while changing the direction and paradigm of a traditional print publication onto the Web.