Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Increase Page Views And Reader Engagement On Your Site With Lijit - Video Interview With Todd Vernon

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Lijit is a free solution that helps you increase page views and reader engagement on your own site. By placing a non-intrusive search box on the side of your web pages, Lijit scans your site and discretely suggests your readers for additional relevant content.

Todd Vernon and Robin Good - Photo credit: Robin Good

In this video interview with Todd Vernon, CEO of Lijit, Robin Good goes after understanding what are Lijit main strengths and key benefits for an online publisher.

With Lijit not only you can provide your visitors with a normal search tool, but also redirect their interest across other content you've already published. And the more valuable content you offer to your readers, the more you establish your credibility as a trusted source of information.

Intro by Daniele Bazzano


Increase Page Views And Reader Engagement On Your Site - Video Interview With Todd Vernon - CEO Of

Duration: 10' 37"

Full English Text Transcription


Robin Good: Hi everyone, this is Robin Good from Rome, Italy, and today I'm talking to Todd Vernon, CEO of Lijit. Is that the correct pronunciation Todd?

Todd Vernon: That's pretty close. It's Lijit (emphasis on the second 'i'). Like too legit to quit.

Robin Good: Oh, I hadn't seen it that way. Being a foreigner with your language, we cannot pick it up the way we do. Thank you for giving a new insight into it.


What Makes Lijit Special

Robin Good: I'm just a small guy representative for the typical would-be professional web publisher, and I'm very curious to know from you: why would Lijit be something that I would want to consider integrating with my blog, new site, professional review, web magazine, or whatever I have?

What are the key things that make Lijit so special?

Todd Vernon: Ok, it's really simple Robin.

What we do is replace or enhance the search box that's already on your site, your blog, your publication, because a lot of people don't get any value from that as a publisher.

There is very little publisher side value to search. What I mean by that is you don't know when people come to your site:

  • What they're looking for.
  • What items they're searching for.
  • What's happening.

We provide a lot of great intelligence around that. But that's not it. That's not the only thing.

From the reader side value we provide a much different experience than you would get from your existing normal search box.

We search the content in your blog, your publication. We search the content that surrounds that, such as your Flickr photos, or your YouTube videos, or things like that. We also crawl out through your blogroll and search your influencers.

When you think about it, it's really interesting. It's just exactly like things happen in the real world, when one of your readers would like to ask you a specific thing; maybe you're not always available to answer that live on e-mail, but if they search through you they'll get a lot of valuable information you've written about, bookmarked, or you've heard from your friends.


How Lijit Works

Robin Good: Very cool indeed. Do I gather that basically Lijit can act as a major search on any type of RSS-based content output that I produce anywhere out there. Is that the correct way of thinking?

Todd Vernon: That is exactly right. We have a really cool sign-up situation when you come to our site, and you enter your URL for your publication, we actually automatically find out most of your relationships through your blogroll. We also find out most of your other content's sources automatically.

It literally takes four minutes to install our service with very little input from you. You can just tweak little things, but you get and your readers the wealth of information, and you get this wealthy statistics about what they're looking for.


Use Lijit on Your Site

Robin Good: You said that installation takes only a few minutes. People get always scared when they hear that word: installation.

You want to get just briefly through what that entails. Do I need to have a server, is it a plugin for the browser, something that I download, install on my computer...

What are we talking about?

Todd Vernon: Super simple. You just go to our site, enter the URL of your blog.

We find all these things automatically, and it's real fun to watch as we go out and search for all those different contents, sources, and people. You'll see all that happen on the screen in front of you.

Then the final step is a one-click install for TypePad or a simple small one-line of Javascript that you insert in your publication, and you'll get a customized looking search box with a search cloud or some other features that you select. It instantly works.

There is different ways you can get search results on your site.

It can be a Javascript overlay, or it can be a separate page loaded with different things. But the whole thing together is super simple. It's a lot of fun, it's a really quick fun installation, which is why we have a huge number of people that install that come to the site, and it should not take you more than two-three-four minutes, probably.


Customize Your Content Sources

Robin Good: Good. You mentioned that it's a fascinating process when Lijit gets into my setup at the beginning... discovering the relationships and things that are related to me. But can I then, after the process has taken place, still go and edit and add some things you haven't discovered yet, or take off some that I don't want to be public?

Todd Vernon: Yeah, all your relationships and your content sources are editable. If perhaps one that we didn't just find out automatically, it's super simple to add it, and then that gets wrapped into the whole corpus of search information that gets returned to your readers.


SEO Advantages of Lijit

Robin Good: Do you think are there specific advantages in using Lijit from a search engine visibility standpoint?

Todd Vernon: I don't know that it helps one way or another from a search engine visibility standpoint. But what we do is a really cool feature when your readers come from a search engine... as typically about 27 per cent across our network of readers, who come to a blog, or a publication, come from a search engine...

What happens is they usually find a specific document within Google or Yahoo! that you have particularly high PageRank on, and that's why they came to your site. They read that one article and then what typically happens is they hit the back button in their browser and you've lost them.

That's what we call it a "second click situation".

What Lijit does as a feature of installing our service: when someone comes to your blog, or your publication and it loads, we go out and do a proactive search of the content that also matches that specific search term that was entered into Google. We open up a sidebar that shows other content you have written about that same subject, but perhaps didn't have high PageRank. That actually grabs readers, keeps them on your site once they've done reading the one thing that brought them there, which is a huge benefit to publishers.

We all know it's hard enough to get high enough PageRank to get people to come and recreate that drawer that pull, and what we do is keep them around.



Robin Good: Fantastic, that's really useful to know.

Finally, I wanted to ask: what about the cost of this? For us users it's just all free and no ads... what's your business model?

Todd Vernon: When you install Lijit, we place ads along the sidebar within the search result page. Much like someone like Google would do. That helps pay for the service. But the really interesting thing, we just announced a couple of weeks ago, is now as a publisher you can come back to your statistics page where we show you all the cool information, and you opt into revenue that is generated from those pages.

In the coming weeks we're going to release some other cool stuff, which will allow you as a publisher to actually manage and sell your own keyword inventory in your search results. Which is something that has never been able to be done before.

For a publisher that has some ad relationships already, perhaps, or a publishing network that may have ad relationships, we can create a very cool system for them, where they can broker all their own search keywords and sell them to a specific ad representatives. We can do a different split for them where they receive the majority, because they brought the sale of the ads to the deal, and it's a new capability that no one has ever been able to do before.

Lijit vs. Google Custom Search Engine

Robin Good: Last but not least, I guess many of my publishers would ask you: what would you say is the key advantages comparing Lijit and using Google CSE (Custom Search Engine), which is the solution most of the independent web publishers use to monetize through AdSense utilize?

Todd Vernon: Yeah, I would say that probably there's two things that I can think of right at the top of my head, and there's probably like five... But the ones that really resonate with me are:

  1. As a publisher, you get almost any value from search.

    You don't get any statistics, you don't know what people are looking for, what search terms were entered that perhaps didn't return results. This is whole wealth of information: where are people located on the planet, when they enter the search term, all geo-location.

    We provide a really cool piece of publisher value to search to really make it more really in-depth than analytics tool for a publisher.

  2. The second thing is we provide so much more information than you can get through CSE, we have much deeper integrations with Flickr and YouTube, using all their right APIs to pull data. You get rich photographs in your search results, and other great stuff like that.

    We actually have two levels of service with us when you sign up off the Web. We actually use Google CSE in the backend to be the search engine for you, but if you send us an e-mail we will put you on our proprietary platform that has all these deep integrations, and it's really cool.

So if anybody wants that part that we kind of reserve for the larger publishers, we're all about turning you on. All somebody has to do is ask us, and if they mention Robin Good we know where they came from.

Robin Good: Fantastic, that was wonderful information.

I'm getting off this call with lots of things that I want to try out myself, which is a good sign.

I'll be comparing and testing Lijit with Google CSE, and hope to be reporting in an article what I find out that is interesting for everyone.

I appreciate you sharing all these practical, direct information without any hype Todd.

I wish you to keep me in the loop for anything new that happens on your site.

Todd Vernon: I'll absolutely do it, thanks for having us.

Robin Good: Alright. Have a great day Todd, talk to you soon.

Todd Vernon: Thank you, bye-bye!

Originally shot and recorded by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia and first published on November 4th 2008 as "Increase Page Views And Reader Engagement On Your Site With Lijit - Video Interview With Todd Vernon"

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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Tuesday, November 4 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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