What’s new and interesting in the world of search marketing? What role should search play in your overall marketing plan? Our expert contributors weigh in.

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Choosing A Media Agency: Look Inside & Hold Up The Mirror

agency_shutterstock_164258969 In our industry, we are constantly evaluating the way we choose our vendors and agencies. Increasingly, we are applying the same scrutiny, inspection and even introspection to how we choose our clients. Matches made in heaven are rare and certainly not static. The landscape around us is constantly changing, so keeping the evaluation ongoing and tuned to current and future states, is the best way to foster healthy partnerships. I had the pleasure recently of sitting down with a couple of media agency executives to talk about the wisdom and art of choosing the right media agency for your b [...]


Reading Keywords’ Future In Interactive Marketing

shutterstock_120330325-crystalball If you think keywords have any place in the next-generation, digital marketing world, you’d be mistaken. If you haven’t taken notice of recent announcements about keyword restrictions, you really should take a minute or two and have a look. Right now, Google is moving away from providing third parties with the depth of data it once did. With the change, advertisers will be more dependent on Google itself for data. The once laughed off “never gonna happen to search ads” comparison to organic Not Provided is suddenly less funny. As is often the case, search marketers focus on wh [...]


The Fatal Mistake Content Marketers Are Making With Nofollow

shutterstock_182841941-RIPContentMktg RIP, content marketing. Thanks to Google's algorithm updates and quality guidelines that require paid links to include a nofollow tag, there's simply no value any more in online promotions for brands and agencies. After all, if a sponsored link can no longer provide a direct PageRank boost, what's the point? Everyone knows the only reason to bother promoting a brand online is for the improved search engine rankings. Did you detect a hint of sarcasm there? I hope so, because when marketers focus too much of their attention on search engine optimization (SEO), they lose sight of the big pi [...]


The Slipperiest Search Campaign Ever

ky date night ad There are a lot slick opportunities out there in search marketing. The wheels of progress have never been greasier. Yep, since people first started paying to be included in search results, a lot of smooth transactions have taken place. Yet, for a whole lot of good reasons, search lacks certain criteria for brand building. Over the years, more than a few studies have measured engagement, and many brands have attempted to overcome the very simple transactional relationship search advertising has with its pay-for-clickers. Paid search does not exist in a creative void. The process of entici [...]


Beyond SEM: When You’ve Maxed Your Search Ads, What’s Next?

brick-wall-300x187 Advertisers frequently tell me, “If you can hit my CPA target, my SEM budget is unlimited!” This is great in theory but often limited in practice — at some point, there simply are no more new keywords, or landing page tweaks, or ad text tests that can increase an advertiser’s SEM spend. Two years ago, maxing out on SEM resulted in a virtual dead-end for online marketing growth simply because other channels could not come close to the CPAs achievable in SEM. Today, the landscape of profitable online marketing channels goes beyond SEM and is expanding daily. In this article, I’d [...]


For Product Brands, Paid Search On Retailers’ Sites Pays Off

google.retailer.search Last year, Google made what was to some a surprising announcement: its previously free Google Product Search would become Google Shopping, which would ask a fee of product brands and retailers that wanted to be included in new Product Listing Ads. I can't say that I disagree with Google's decision. The company has hit on a solid way to increase both its revenue and its visibility as a retail platform, and the shift to pay-to-play has been considered successful -- particularly for Google, but for e-commerce retailers as well. It's less beneficial to product brands. Shoppers get on Goo [...]


7 Ways Google Glass Will Change Search, And How It Should Change Your Marketing

google-glass-model-featured It's official. Google Glass will be openly available for purchase later this year. That means two things: Expect to see a lot of new Glassers soon, and it's time to start thinking about how such technology will change the way consumers search. Below, we’ll take a look at seven areas likely to be affected and how you can prepare: 1. Death To 10 Blue Links A search on Glass won't return a page with 10 blue links, rather it'll use info cards: As you can see from the screenshot above, you can only view one info card at a time. To move to the next card, you need to s [...]


Growth Hacking Is Bull, Part 2

Internet Marketing "Accounting is a department. Marketing isn't. Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365." Fried, Jason, and David Heinemeier. Hansson. Rework. New York: Crown Business, 2010. 193. Print. Unadulterated Growth Hacking In response to my article Growth Hacking is Bull, Sean Ellis provided some background on how he came about the term back in 2010. Anyone claiming to be a growth hacker today must read Sean's definition of the term because it strips much of the bull away from how the term is abused today. If you understand the message, what he really means by "hire a [...]


Say No To Commercial Creep In Search Results

search_Marketers You've read all the guidelines. You've hired experts to determine the morally correct and righteous path. You've watched the endless hours of Matt Cutts videos on YouTube. You pay experts thousands of dollars a month to make sure your search efforts are optimized safely and accurately. You work within the confines of the assumed moral high ground of the company that doesn't do evil. You've spent countless hours analyzing content for trends in interest to make sure your information matches searcher intent. You have invested heavily in technology to help monitor positions, have spent what see [...]


Growth Hacking Is Bull

2014-01-04_1230 Doing SEO, SEM or social media marketing isn't "growth hacking." It's just marketing. Problem is some marketers & start-ups don't get that. — Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) January 4, 2014 The phrase "growth hacking" upsets me more than I should let it. Why? Because it takes me back to 2007, when I was about to graduate from college and start my career in online marketing -- the same year Jason Calacanis started his highly-publicized crusade against the online marketing industry and, in particular, against professionals specializing in SEO and social media. The whole thing was no [...]


All I Want For Christmas…Is Bing Ads?

bing-2013-logo-featured As of November, Google garners just under 67% of the market for search. One would expect the distribution of budgets within a PPC portfolio would be in line with market share. The reality is quite the contrary: more often than not, AdWords represents closer to 85-90% of the budget and gets 95% of the internal resources, leaving Bing Ads as an afterthought. I can certainly understand why AdWords deserves the lion’s share of resources; however, 30% is quite the spicy meatball to push under the rug. Think about where your resources are going -- one of the biggest opportunities in your PPC [...]


Facebook’s Flawed News Feed Bumping & The Rebirth Of Bad Content

An old post and orange suit from December 2006 Personally speaking, I have no problem that Facebook is making changes to the news feed. I also have no problem that it has started story bumping. But I do fundamentally have a problem with how the company is doing this. Bringing Missed Content Back to Life What Facebook is trying to achieve is actually not a bad thing. I miss content all the time. It happens. So if that piece is popular among my friends, then, truth be told, I do probably want to see it. That being said, story bumping in its current form is majorly flawed. Why? Because of this post from October 16th at 5:27PM [caption [...]


Client, Agency, And Vendor Wishlists For Santa

santa-computer-social-media-featured Surprise! Here is another one of those holiday wishlist-type articles that seem to be a dime a dozen this time of year. In these writers' defense, wishlist articles really are the most fun to write, as they are little more than a nicely packaged way of telling other people they suck at something. And, is there really anything more fun than sitting on our high horses -- granted to us by the writing gods -- and picking on other people? Okay, maybe, but the only way to really find out is to give it a try. So here goes nothing! I Hope Santa Brings Clients... Better digital marketing understan [...]


Not Who, But What, Is Driving Google?

google-building-featured With the depth of attention given to Google's broken promises lately, the natural-language-processing, sometimes-sponsored-content-identifying engine clearly has some 'splaining to do. For those of you who haven't read Danny Sullivan's excellent piece from a few weeks ago, let me elaborate on those broken promises. Google at one time decried paid inclusion -- but then, in 2012, it turned its once-organic shopping search engine into a pay-to-play ad product. More recently, in 2013, it went back on a promise to never display banner ads on search results pages, delivering giant images on b [...]


How To Use Paid Search To Aid Your SEO

shutterstock_77883016-test A lot has changed in the world of search marketing over the last year. From Enhanced Campaigns to Hummingbird and not provided, search marketers have had to rethink and re-calibrate their strategies significantly. Some changes caused more uproar than others; but, one thing has become increasingly clear: the art and science of both SEO and paid search, respectively, are on a crash course, and a consolidated strategy is required to get the most out of both channels. At my agency, we've been working on ways to get more creative with our PPC campaigns in order to directly benefit our SEO effort [...]


Google’s Broken Promises & Who’s Running The Search Engine?

google-promises-featured For two years in a row now, Google has gone back on major promises it made about search. The about-faces are easy fodder for anyone who wants to poke fun at Google for not keeping to its word. However, the bigger picture is that as Google has entered its fifteenth year, it faces new challenges on how to deliver search products that are radically different from when it started. In the past, Google might have explained such shifts in an attempt to maintain user trust. Now, Google either assumes it has so much user trust that explanations aren't necessary. Or, the lack of accountability might [...]


The Ultimate Holiday Prep List: 28 Things Every Marketer Should Do For Holiday

holidays-christmas-featured All right, so maybe that title is a little arrogant. After all, there are a million holiday list articles this time of year, ranging from "Top 10" lists to "Survival Guides" and everything in between. So, why read this one? Well, this one is different (read: hopefully interesting and helpful). This article doesn't take the "execute this strategy" approach, and it doesn't take the "I bet you forgot to do x” approach, either. We all know Holiday is an insane time of year, so the last thing anyone needs is an article reminding you of things you should be doing but aren't. Instead, this is [...]


3 Paid Search Tips For A Successful Holiday Season

holiday stockings With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, it is high time search marketers got their paid search program ready to scale up efficiently. Here are three tips you might want to consider in order to get the most from the holidays in paid search. 1. Analyze Top Holiday Search Queries & Build Seasonal Campaigns The first piece of the puzzle for a successful holiday-season strategy is to first focus on the editorial strategy. Here are a couple of thoughts: In AdWords, you can begin with a search query report from 2012 and identify those top queries around Black Friday/Cyber [...]


The Brain Pick: Marketing Geniuses, Don’t Give It Away For Free!

brain_glasses Ever get those emails asking to "pick your brain" for some ideas? The good-hearted person in you says, "I can do that!"  But favors like that have consequences and costs that may not have occurred to you or the person asking for them. For a myriad of reasons, search marketing seems to get more than its fair share of "brain pick" requests. I've gotten a few of these over the years, and of course, the good Samaritan in me wants to help. For people I'm very close to, I can hit the highlights with a brain pick to provide some clarity to the occasional situation. Heaven knows I've asked for [...]


Search. Browse. Abandon? How Automation Converts Browsers Into Buyers

Click to enlarge [caption id="attachment_53446" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Any marketer (at least one who hasn't been living in a cave without Wi-Fi) knows the potential of search traffic in regard to driving sales. But exactly how much use can really be made of the potential customers driven to a site through search engines? Sometimes the details are a bit hazy with direct attribution hard to pin down. Marketers can drastically increase the rate at which they convert those few words in a search box to the holy grail of end results -- a valuable sale -- by correctly [...]


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