Online newspapers have often ignored search engines, or viewed them with mistrust, relying on the power of their brands to drive traffic. That attitude is changing dramatically at the New York Times, and with powerful effect.

Marshall Simmonds is a long-time colleague who, as vice president of enterprise search, oversees the SEO work to make the New York Times more search engine friendly. The NYT acquired Marshall as part of the Times' purchase last year.

Prior to Marshall's arrival at the Times, the company's web sites, which also include the Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune, had good traffic, but this was largely due to the strength of the brands. Little effort was expended on making search-friendly content, or making sure that search engines could easily crawl and index the sites.

"When I joined the company, Google was not crawling the Times," said Marshall. "I'm pushing to get more traffic to the site."

In a series of telephone and email interviews with Marshall, SearchEngineWatch learned what steps he took to change things at the Times to make the company's web sites more search friendly. Most of the changes he made will be of interest to anyone responsible for in-house search engine optimization efforts.

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