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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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 [...]


5 Keys To Improve The Marketing & Finance Relationship

[caption id="attachment_46777" align="alignright" width="240"] Kris is to Kim as Marketing is to FinanceImage via Shutterstock[/caption] Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were a disaster from the start – a failed marriage that never had a chance. He, a naive, budding basketball player who followed his heart more than his mind and fell in love with Kim. She, a for-no-good-reason celeb trying to make a quick buck and keep herself in the spotlight with no emotional investment in Kris. They went together like oil and water, like fire and ice, like a head of digital marketing and a CFO. [...]


The Changing Definition of Inbound Marketing: Why SEOs & SEMs Should Care

inbound-marketing-600x575 There’s been a lot of talk over the past few days about inbound marketing – see this discussion at Inbound.org in response to Rand Fishkin’s post announcing the rebranding of SEOmoz as just “Moz.” In that post, Rand sets up a distinction between “inbound marketing” and “interruption marketing,” as shown here: [caption id="attachment_46214" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image courtesy of Moz, used with permission[/caption]   A lot of marketers are rolling their eyes and wondering why we need another term – inbound marketing – when SEO, PPC (or SEM), etc., [...]


The Shortcomings We Tolerate

Internet Marketing In our business -- media, marketing, publishing, ad tech or whichever combination with which you self-identify -- on our most effusive days, we marvel at our own progress. It's a point of pride to have participated in the evolution, regardless of when you dipped in your toe and joined it: 80s, 90s, later or even last year. Yet, as a collective industry, there is a list of things we continue to allow to hinder us. Limiting mindsets; lack of understanding, commitment or investment; complacency; or even the exaggeration of our limitations themselves. You may have heard the famous Richard Bach [...]


An Open Letter On “Super Firm” Failure And Composure

Disclaimer:  All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real businesses, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Failure is a key part of success, or at least an important step on the road to becoming successful. When the still-young search industry witnesses a failure of any kind, it seems to revel in exploiting the collapse for personal gain, personal indulgence and the ability to say, "I told you so." Without getting into names and details that will only initiate more drama and, dare I say, schadenfreude, I've noticed an overabundance of loony behavi [...]


Enhanced: Today’s Pain, Tomorrow’s Love

Google Enhanced is the online marketing advice-giver's gift that keeps on giving for 2013. By now, everyone touching search has been in several hours of meetings discussing these changes and where they will take us (mostly in the short-term), and has probably written or consumed at least one FAQ, eBook or White Paper on the subject. Feature roll-outs with APIs and a little bit of insanity in trying to get your numbers to match up are all necessary bumps on the road to truly optimizing. This yields the way for Google (and subsequently, every publisher) to ultimately optimize on a person-by-p [...]


Yahoo Confidential: The Real Story

In case you hadn’t noticed, Yahoo ranks number one for “Yahoo sucks.” Everyone in the digital marketing business knows it sucks, and efforts to turn the place into Google have yet to achieve fruition. Sure, the stock got a bump when Marissa came in, but that’s largely due to her status as one of the original Googlers. Home page redesign and human resource parlor tricks like that free lunch thing aside, Yahoo’s corporate culture is akin to the Balboa camp right after Mr. T pounded the stallion into submission in Rocky 3. Nothing To See Here They need to turn this ship around a [...]


For Social Media Viewing, Twitter Is Live TV; Facebook Is DVR

facebook-twitter-logos-200px When you follow someone on Twitter, you see everything they post. When you follow someone on Facebook, it decides what you see. Which is right? I'd say both, and it comes down to the live TV versus DVR personalities of each service. Should Facebook Show Everything? The issue of Facebook deciding what to show people in their Facebook news feed came up this week when Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote about how over the past year, the engagement on his posts had dropped, despite his having gained a huge increase in Facebook followers. That echoed concerns from Star Trek alum and soc [...]


Google Shopping: New Revenue Stream Or More Of The Same?

The ad community loves free products, and if those products are effective at meeting goals, it’s only right to eventually pay for them. That was the thesis of my last column, which looked at the outcry over Google replacing organic shopping results with paid ad units. Now that marketers have concluded this is a worthwhile investment, they’re doling out the cash. At least, they’re supposed to be. While Google’s Q4 earnings beat Wall Street estimates, we haven’t seen a Google Shopping line item to see if this was a boost to the bottom line. Based on several conversations I’ve had [...]


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