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SEO core of Times’ digital operation

“SEO people have become the core of our digital operation” whose insight travels “through our entire business”said Times Online editor-in-chief Anne Spackman, speaking at AOP’s digital seminar session on search at PPA’s Magazines 2008 Conference.

There is a growing “symbiotic relationship” between publishers and tech firms such as Twine, working together towards a “deep, intelligent search” – throwing out the challenge of building an ever more sophisticated content architecture.

In light ofits introduction of a secondary search box, the speakers were positive about their relationship with Google – Spackman saying: “when Google makes changes, we see traffic grow.”

With search still only “5 per cent solved”, outgoing director of digital ventures at BBC Worldwide Dan Heaf said personal and contextual search will grow in importance, though the current offering from Google, simply “made the web feel smaller”.

Citing the BBC’s vertical search engine for music, Sound Index, Heaf said there is still untapped potential in niche search, and for an improved customer experience.

For Richard Gregory, COO of Latitude, announced he was “amazed” at the lack of publishers bidding for paid links in Google - still a “virgin space”. With minimum bids starting at 1p, publishers should begin to think of paid search as an effective"push mechanism" in its own right.

Download Charles Wells and Richard Gregory's presentations from the event.

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