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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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 [...]


The Growing Divide Between Paid Search & Marketing

Search Like most people, I hate being wrong. Let me correct myself: I hate being wrong. There is nothing worse than that sinking feeling when you realize whatever it was you were defending so vehemently is just flat wrong. At that point, you only have two options: 1) hold onto your point, stick your head in the sand and admit nothing, or 2) swallow your pride, take your medicine and admit you were wrong.  I like to think I am not wrong all that often, and despite what my fiancée might say, when I am, I like to think I am one who swallows my pride and admits it. With that, I am taking a huge g [...]


Operation Greener Grass: Why Aren’t SEOs Up In Arms?

reputation_sstk Once again, SEO is in the news. Once again, the media (along with an elected official or two -- shocker!) clearly doesn't understand how the industry works. While it seems New York's elected (and appointed) officials could give a rodent's posterior about protecting the interests of anyone except Big Corporate, "so called SEO companies" are the new babies being sent out with the bath water. [caption id="attachment_60122" align="alignright" width="240"] Reputation Management[/caption] Enter, Operation Cleaner Turf; a yogurt shop sting with a sensational press release sub-headline on the of [...]


Remarketing For Search: Approaching The Promise Of Digital Marketing

Day Parts help to identify when ads are most effectively served. Good fishermen know where the fish are… so why is it that good marketers don't always know where the best consumers are? Despite massive advancements in targeting, tracking and user insights, John Wannamaker's adage -- "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half" -- may still be true. Even in the hyper-targeted and over-analyzed online marketing space, there are still many unknowns, but there's light at the end of the tunnel -- and it's bright! The best advertising is relevant, in the moment, and served to an individual who has interest in a [...]


When Media Capabilities & Possibilities Outreach Day-to-Day Reality

Creating a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Website - Strategy Whether you are on the buy, sell or third-party supplier side, we all recognize that we are operating in an elevated state of potential. The infrastructure, media and creative options, tools and available science all mean that we could and should get beyond the transactional state of yesteryear. We now can predict, execute and optimize at a higher level than ever before. This extends to modeling new target audiences, venturing into new platforms, playing across media types and at every turn getting better at achieving and exceeding expectations and metrics. But, if you listen closely, de [...]


Google Puts A Price On Privacy — Again

google-privacy-200 Almost two years ago, Google began withholding search "referrer" data from publishers, in the name of protecting user privacy. However, it left a loophole open for passing this data to its advertisers. Some viewed that as an attempt by Google to boost its ad sales. This impression was reinforced by the latest change Google made last month, which maintains the loophole and provides a new incentive for publishers to make use of its ad system. What's Search Term Referrer Data? Referrer data allows publishers to understand the exact terms used by people who search at Google and then click throug [...]


5 Ways To Turn Number Vomit Reporting Into Valuable Business Action

Sample Report Number vomit. Ugh. It wastes more of my time than anything else during the work week. (With the recent exception of Candy Crush. I mean, are you kidding me with that game?) It appears in many different forms: weekly search reporting, dashboards created to make C-level folks feel like they know what is going on, even in those five-year business projections the Board of Directors seemingly has you do every month. It comes in Excel sheets, PowerPoints, and even PDFs if you can believe. Sometimes, it's called a "search report" and other times, it's a "business update." But, no matter what fo [...]


10 Years Later, Do We Need SEMPO?

SEMPO 10 years ago, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization -- SEMPO -- was formed. It grew out of a desire by search marketers who wanted to gain greater recognition and support for their nascent industry. A decade later, I'm not sure whether the group is necessary any longer. SEMPO started with the best of intentions. It grew out of open forums at the conferences that I oversaw, eventually being launched on August 20, 2003. I remember most Jessie Chase Stricchiola, one of the founding board members, emotionally explaining to the first formal meeting how she hoped, in part, that S [...]


Paid Search Can’t Scale Without Help

scale Whether you’re a brand or an agency, arguably the best place to be is to not know where to spend your next marketing dollar. It’s the point of scale, and all brands hit it -- from the small start-ups to the massive retailers of the world. It’s amazingly great because it means you have covered your current customer demand to the best of your ability (e.g., your brand is covered in search, SEO is a well-oiled machine, remarketing, email, etc., are all in good spots), and you need to find new avenues for acquiring new customers and growing your business. [caption id="attachment_52641" [...]


Social Search: The Promise & The Problems In The Way

social search One of the reasons people clamor for good social search is their pre-purchase desire to access user-generated reviews -- information from people who know the product or service and can offer a useful opinion. With Facebook graph search going live for all (using US English), we've learned a lot about how it works, and what it does. Still, a couple of big questions remain. Why do people need to spend more time searching for stuff, and how is that going to help marketers determine intent, awareness and desire? [caption id="attachment_51067" align="aligncenter" width="398"] Image via Shutter [...]


5 Steps For Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page

[caption id="attachment_165070" align="alignright" width="224"] Image via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] With 3 million company pages and 225 million members, LinkedIn has grown over the last 10 years to become the place where professionals network and do business online. LinkedIn is truly growing beyond just a search and social media platform. The content marketing explosion has meant that influencers are sharing and engaging via content and not just looking for jobs. In previous posts, I have talked about how search and social are closely aligned, and how content is the catalyst that [...]


Is The Art Of Paid Search Marketing Dead?

If you are a regular reader of this column, then you know I have a tendency to reminisce about the old days of digital marketing and the early days of our old agency. Maybe I am just getting sentimental in my old age, but I found myself reminiscing once again this past week as I looked through an old sales deck. "Search is part science, part art," read the title of a slide that tried to explain this new-fangled thing called paid search. [caption id="attachment_49985" align="alignright" width="257"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] "Part science, part art." There was no better phrase i [...]


Unboxing Google Engage

GoogleEngage-Edited I’ve got big plans for my agency. Apparently, so does Google. While the agency world’s demise has been the subject of quite a bit of opinion over the years, it seems Google is embracing the fact that advertisers often hire professional services firms to help them -- at least for now. Agency “certification” programs are nothing new in search, and the last time I wrote about them back in 2005, they were overwhelmingly engineered to cater to larger advertisers.  The names and target audiences of ambassador programs have changed over the years, but the goal of increasing stable rev [...]


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