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Top Ten Answers From the Google, MSN, Yahoo and ASK Search Engine Marketing Panel – Part 1


I hosted a panel on Search Engine Marketing in Ft. Lauderdale, below are the top ten answers* to questions from the audience and your humble host.

* small disclaimer, I was busy moderating so my note taking was limited 🙂 most answers are paraphrased.

A big thank you to Brett Goffin from Google, Brett Wein of Yahoo, Martin Gilliard, representing MSN and ASK’s Michael Wesner. Your Answers were candid and concise, the audience of 169 attendees was very appreciative of your participation!

Kudo’s to Mark Evans SFIMA Pesident, and new Director of Sales, Southeast Region for for record attendance for a SFIMA educational event (events co-promoted with and featuring Jerry Shereshewsky from Yahoo and Jeff Eisenberg from Future Now drew larger crowds) and the phenomenal programming superstar Michele Piernick of (check out their 1 cent sales and let me know how they do it!?)

1. How does your company differentiate your search engine from other search engines?
MSN – We offer the ablity to target based on demographics such as gender and age
Yahoo! – We are providing more results based on Social Search and Communities such as Flickr,, and MyWeb.
ASK – We dropped the butler in March of last year and we have developed tools such as smart answer, Mapping functions with a virtual test drive and binoculars with the ability to preview a site before you click
Google – We are focused on the end user and relevance of searches

2. How important do you think natural search is versus pay per click?
Yahoo! – I think most of us would agree you need to do both natural and paid search to try to capture as much search ‘real estate’ as possible for important searches.
MSN – Both are important, while natural results are ‘free’ the don’t come without an investment of time or money or both
Google – Natural Search is like PR. You have a bit of control of the results you’ll get and any ‘press’ is good press. You have a lot more control over paid results more like paid offline advertising. The most important opportunity is to learn from each other to improve efficiency. Analyze the keywords that are working on paid search and develop content for your website, identify terms people are searching for and improve your paid keyword selection.
ASK – Natural Search levels the playing field

3. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting to use PPC advertising?
Yahoo! – Retail has the three L’s Location, Location, Location, search has the three T’s Test, Test and Test. Do lots of testing to tweak campaigns, massage results and continue to optimize.
ASK – And add one ‘T’, Track. Track and measure your results.
MSN – Build a strong list of high quality keywords
Google – Make sure you have very well defined objectives. Do you want more visits, sales, sign ups? And,how much can you afford to pay for each. All of the search engines have free tools to help you track your results.

4. What do you suggest for someone looking to improve their natural search rankings?
Google – There are two pillars to success in natural search. 1. Build excellent content with high relevancy to the query. 2. Our Page Rank tool represents ‘democracy of the web’ evaluation how important your site is based on links from important sites in your category.
Most important, don’t fall for a search engine company that guarantees page one results. Be very, very wary.
Yahoo! – All of the major search engines have developed a site with great tools at
ASK – Work with a strong Search Engine Company, keep your site code clean and build links from your community
MSN – You need a strong link building strategy and great content. If you are ever unsatisfied with a search on MSN or, please click on the link at the bottom and let our engineers know why so we can improve it!

Jay Berkowitz