Duane Forrester has had an interesting career at Microsoft, helping to build out Bing Webmaster Tools after spending more than three years as Senior Program Manager for SEO at MSN. Forrester, who previously wrote a column for Search Engine Land and published two books on blogging and making money online, arrived at Microsoft in 2007. He was laid off last year only to come back two months later, but now he’s moving on again.
Forrester announced on his personal blog (via Search Engine Land) that he’s leaving, effective Friday November 13th (“as good a day to wrap things up as any”, Forrester says). From the beginning, he found that working at Microsoft was a unique and different experience:
During my first interviews I was asked about doing SEO at scale, and how big was the biggest website I’d worked on prior to this? DOING the work at scale doesn’t dramatically change the actual work, so that was easy to walk through. But the second part, about the size of the website? That made me think. And my answer was impressive. “800,000+ pages”, I stated. The gent interviewing me nodded, made a note and we continued to talk. A few minutes later he explained that MSN, the site I’d be responsible for managing SEO for, had 168 channels worldwide, and, for example, the Autos channel in the US (at the time) was pushing close to 10,000,000 pages. And did I think I could handle that scale? “Well, ah…sure…”
Forrester has been a fixture in the SEO community, and brought a level of credence to the work Bing has been doing in helping publishers work with SEO through the Bing Webmaster Tools. While he’ll be missed at Microsoft, he says he’s leaving the company in good hands:
Now it’s time for me to move from the corporate world back to the world of small business. I’ll still be in the industry, still reachable, but no longer a direct contact at Bing. I will miss the people at Microsoft and the company. They are doing great things (OK, I’m going to let my bias show here – they are doing some amazing things!).
It will be interesting to see, especially in light of the changes happening to the Bing-Yahoo alliance, what the next steps for Microsoft’s efforts in advertising and publishing will be.