SEMpdx SearchFest 2013 Keynote Interview: Duane Forrester

Todd Mintz

Duane Forrester will be giving the afternoon keynote at SearchFest 2013 which will be taking place on February 22, 2013 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the following link.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.

I am Duane Forrester, and I help run Bing Webmaster Tools. Prior
to this I ran SEO for MSN. Before that I worked for a startup in
Canada in the sports and betting world and even farther back, I worked
for casino run by Caesar’s Palace. Along the way I wrote How To Make
Money With Your Blog and Turn Clicks Into Customers. Most of my time
these days is involved with evangelism within the webmaster community
and helping businesses be more successful online.

2) What is a “quality website” in the eyes of Bing?

At its core, it’s a site that helps a visitor accomplish their task
as efficiently as possible. Could be something simple like telling
them what the weather is, or as complex as helping them understand
what issues they face if traveling between African countries on
motorcycle. The focus for the site should always, obviously, be on
the user’s experience. Start to focus too much on SEO, or embedding
ads, or using third party content to cut down on the need to invest
time in your own content, and quality suffers.

3) I certainly perceive you as a very accessible guy for the position
you hold. What is your philosophy behind “webmaster outreach”?

Everyone started in this industry knowing exactly squat about SEO.
None of us learned SEO and online marketing in school…LOL I spent a
decade learning what mattered. As my career grew, I found myself fin
a unique position to help others from within one of the largest engines online.
Luckily for me, Microsoft has a long history of partnering with other
businesses, so the idea of my role was an obvious fit with Bing. It
sounds old fashioned, but if we can help sites improve, our results
improve, so we approach improvement through our own work & investment,
and via open partnerships.

4) Bing isn’t nearly as secretive about ranking factors as Google. Why is that?

Why be secret? Obviously we can’t share the proprietary stuff, but
for the most part, the industry is on the right track. Big picture,
it makes sense to acknowledge what we can so businesses can get work
done – and done right – rather than wasting time guessing and making
mistakes. This is a bit self-serving though, because if ever saw the
sheer volume of simple mistakes websites make, it’s a bit stunning.
Sharing the constructs of the basic do’s and don’ts just makes sense for both sides of the equation.

5) Can you talk more about the Bing social search integration and where it’s heading?

Bing believes in openly partnering with class-leading sites in ways
that improve the search experience. Our ability to access and
showcase data relevant to a query means searchers find what they need,
faster. Instead of juts searching through a stack of results, we feel
that incorporating relevant signposts from friends and connections can
help you reach your goal more directly. Social has the ability to
capture snippets of information from your trusted sources. Our goal
is to bring forward those relevant snippets at the right time, to help
you in your search. While some people still like to say that social
is a fad, we know it’s here to stay. It’s value to individual has
been proven as a way to find news, stay in touch with family and friends and nurture new relationships.

6) Can I get your opinion on the new Yahoo program that brings the paid
lead gen form right into the organic SERP
(http://searchengineland.com/yahoo-intros-cost-per-lead-ad-unit-within-organic-search-results-column-142506)?
Do you see this as “crossing the line” that traditionally divides
organic listings and paid advertising?

Bing doesn’t comment on products, features or services run by other
companies. While we maintain a great partnership with Yahoo, it’s not
our place to comment on their products.

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