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As the SEO Manager at Disney Interactive Media Group, Jeff Preston oversees the creation of Disney-branded interactive content across multiple platforms. His perspective as an enterprise-level SEO makes him a welcome addition to the first panel at BlueGlass LA, How to Survive (and Thrive) in Google’s World.
We asked Jeff about in-house SEO, why Schema.org matters, and what SEO culture is like at the happiest place on earth (our conference is definitely in LA… this is the second time we’ve talked about Disney in two days :))…
1. You’ll be talking about the current state of SEO at BlueGlass LA. What do you consider the biggest challenges faced by SEOs right now?
Keeping up with the different algorithms for all of our different traffic sources is a challenge. There is so much an SEO can do but not enough time to do them all. Prioritizing work around your best traffic source takes discipline.
2. How is the increasing personalization and localization of search results influencing SEO? Is transparency for search marketers decreasing in terms of their ability to know when and to whom their sites are being shown to in search results?
Personalization and localization is definitely affecting the reporting of SEO. I was in a meeting a few days ago where we had four different Google SERPs for the same query.
Beyond that, taking the large amounts of data we receive from the search engines, social media platforms, and analytics providers then synthesizing it down to actionable insights is a challenge.
3. Why should a publisher care about Schema.org? What about a store owner?
Schema.org provides an easy way to show the search engines how our data is structured and the relationship between keywords on the page. I read that Bestbuy.com reported a 30% increase in search traffic after using structured markup.
4. You work for Disney, one of the most recognized brands worldwide. There’s an assumption big brands have an advantage in the search marketing space. In what ways is this assumption accurate? What do you think are the disadvantages?
One advantage as a search marketer is the synergy between different business units. A network of popular sites (ABC News, ESPN, Family.com, Disney.com, etc.) can help and support each other through cross promotion and linking.
Another advantage that I have is there are a lot of smart people working on SEO across the enterprise. The broader SEO team can work together on common opportunities.
At Disney.com, we build websites for children that are fun and engaging. The sites are sometimes technically beyond what search engines can handle, which is a challenge.
Mobile touch and swipe technology also comes to mind as a current challenge for search engines.
5. Can you tell us a little about the SEO culture at Disney? How involved are other teams in the SEO process?
I often feel like the luckiest SEO in the world. We have a lot of great content including movies, TV, characters, games and music.
The SEO team participates in new product launches and campaigns. This allows us to interact with many parts of our organization including marketing, PR, production, technology, QA, system engineering, etc.
I have a fond memory of an engineer saying to me, “You’re in marketing? I though you were in technology.” I knew the SEO team had broad reach that day.
6. What are some tips you can give for getting “buy in” from other departments?
In any big organization, different teams have different goals, KPIs, responsibilities, etc. Before making a request, think about what is in it for the other department and communicate how it is a win-win for SEO and for their team.
Also, as an in-house SEO that depends on cross-functional teams, it is critical that we build up our personal network of friends and connections within the organization. Not only does it make work more fun, it makes a difference when you need help or expertise to complete an SEO project successfully.
Thanks for your time and answers, Jeff :) Looking forward to your session!