Morpheus Media’s Toby Evers on How Social Affects Search Habits

Toby Evers is the Director of SEO & Emerging Tech at Morpheus Media, a full-service provider of interactive marketing solutions to Fortune 500 companies. Previously he worked on the technical side as an engineer at Zagat Survey and SPS Technologies. We recently spoke with him about his role and current trends in SEO.

The Makegood: You started your career in a completely different industry: aerospace. What made you decide to make a switch to online advertising?

TE: Designing and creating precision parts for aerospace satisfied my technical needs, but it did not give me the opportunity to interact with others and express my creative side. Interestingly enough, it was landing a record deal with my band and getting the opportunity to tour the world that took me out of that position (really fulfilling the need to interact and express creativity).  It was while I was on tour that I decided to pursue web development and design, attempting to alter my career path once the inevitable end to my musical dream had come to an end.  Working in SEO gives me the challenge of the technical aspects of dissecting the Google algorithm, while at the same time tackling creative forms of marketing and direct client interaction at an agency.

The Makegood: What types of trends can marketers expect to see in terms of SEO techniques in the next year or so?

TE: The most obvious emerging trend is how search is now integrating with social media.  Prior to the full evolution of social, users dedicated much of their time accessing content on their own through search (browsing the web with intent).  Now, there is constant influence of others surrounding users as they browse the web (browsing the web due to influence).  Search engines are now adapting to this idea by including the influence of social media sites into their search results.  Social behaviors are now impacting search rank and also personalization of search.

API’s are also connecting sites together (and connecting technologies) such that a user can access and be influenced to browsing behavior in a single environment instead of having to constantly access site after site. This is usually referred to as orbital content. Thus, search engines are adopting this by consistently connecting these worlds together in a similar manner. For example, Google adding a navigation element to access mail, documents, RSS, and Google+ all in one dashboard.

Finally, I feel that the biggest upcoming change will be with microformats and semantic markup as proposed by schema.org. Search engines are helping create standards such that websites can deliver direct information to be displayed directly on the search engine results pages.  Currently we see much of this data being used for ratings/comments, recipes, and sports scores.  The adoption of microformats within search engine results pages is beginning to completely change the way we see universal results on a page.  Remember that searchers are always faced with choices when they search for a particular term.  By utilizing semantic markup, a site has the ability to stand out on a search results page and thus can improve click through rate over competitors.  This reaches far beyond the only tool we had for this in the past which was the meta-description.

The Makegood: Can you tell us about some campaigns that you are particularly proud of this year?

TE: One campaign that has just launched recently that I am particularly proud of would be the new biography.com site.  Much consideration was taken into how this site would be scalable to the demand of users as we become more social in nature.  Users don’t just want to be fed content anymore, they want to be interactive, and this site does exactly that.  Biography competes for highly popular and trending terms in search (namely famous people) and the current Google algorithm is not quite fond of static and dated content. This site aims to stay relevant for these terms by creating an environment that is constantly adapting and evolving as time, news, and trends continue by building connections and promoting interactivity amongst the bio community.  This all caters to the evolution of search with Google caffeine and the tendency of search algorithms to lean on social signals for authority.

The Makegood: Thanks, Toby.