7 Questions for Macy’s SEO Leader

Google search

Ask PR pros and marketers if they are satisfied with their efforts relating to search engine optimization and you likely will get a mixed bag of replies. The truth is many communicators don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to SEO, and are searching for solutions.

In the upcoming Aug. 10 Social Media Summit session in San Francisco, “State-of-the-Art SEO: Your Content’s Not King If It’s Not on Page 1 of a Google Search,” Ali Haris, senior manager, SEO, at Macy’s, will shed some light on SEO best practices for brands. He has created, optimized and managed robust SEO campaigns for Fortune 100 companies including Macy’s, a myriad of Disney theme parks and ABC-owned television networks. Here’s a peek into what's coming on Aug. 10.

Macy's, senior manager, SEO, Macy's
Ali Haris, senior manager, SEO, Macy's

PR News: What is the greatest misconception brands have about SEO?

Ali Haris: That there is only one or two things you can do to see improved results or there is some kind of a magic wand that will do the trick.

PR News: How would you characterize most companies’ effectiveness in implementing SEO?

Haris: I think most companies are realizing the importance of SEO and that they need it. Whether they are doing an effective job is tough to say.

PR News: What are the greatest challenges in your role at Macy’s in managing SEO?

Haris: Scaling it. I think this is a challenge with any big organization. There are so many moving pieces, and working with all of the team can be challenging.

PR News: What recent changes have had the greatest impact on brands’ SEO efforts?

Haris: It seems like they are pushing more and more paid ads. The first four results are paid ads; on mobile you have to scroll to see the organic results.


At PR News' Aug. 9-10 Social Media Summit in San Francisco you'll hear from social media experts at Adobe, Macy's, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, IBM, Paypal, Twitter, THX, Audubon Society, Clif Bar, Logitech and more.


PR News: How are voice and image search impacting SEO strategies?

Haris: Voice search is more about conversational search. With Mobile First, conversational search is going to become important. People are just learning about it, so there is time before people adopt it. At this point it might still be too early to jump on the bandwagon of voice search, but it’s imperative as a business that you keep an eye on it as it evolves over time.

PR News: How do you determine the content that matters most to your audience and go about optimizing it?

Haris: Internal search is a great place to look at what the users are looking for and a great place to start from. You can also leverage Google Trends to see what users might be looking for and create content accordingly. It varies from industry to industry, too, so you have to look for user behavior accordingly.

PR News: What's the best way to evaluate your website to determine whether it is properly optimized for search?

Haris: Start by looking at the site from a user perspective.

Jim Alkon is a contributing writer for PR News and is currently Editorial Director of BookTrib.com, a website where readers discover emerging authors.