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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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 [...]

Why You Can’t Find The Official Fast & Furious 6 Web Site In Google & Bing

fast & furious 6 - Google Search The latest movie in the "Fast & Furious" franchise is coming, Fast & Furious 6. It's getting a lot of attention because of its Super Bowl ad on Sunday and the debut of its extended trailer today. But, if you're trying to find the official website, Fast & Furious will send you on a chase that leaves the search marketing basics behind and exposes some Google & Bing failures, as well. Missing: The Official Site The official site is nowhere to be found in Google's search results, as this screenshot I took yesterday shows: Of course, there are several ways you could search for [...]

To Pay Or Not To Pay, That Is The Power Shopping Question

Much hype, and many public relations wars, has been waged over the last couple of months centering on the physical dynamics of paying your way into shopping results. Most of the attention has been focused on Google, and as often happens in the search community, Big G’s motives have been dissected, reviewed and morally judged, before short-attention-spans took the angry masses off to gripe about something else. The much larger debate, the industry’s familiar old cold sore, is the “pay or no pay” argument. Every time there’s a case where a free product suddenly becomes a pay-for-pla [...]

Why People Hate SEO

seo-code-schema-featured Every few months, someone seems to attack search engine optimization. SEOs are often quick to rise in defense of their profession. I've done that plenty myself, in the past. But a barrage of recent cold-call SEO pitches in my inbox even has me hating SEO. Of course, I don't really hate SEO. That's because I know the difference between: SEO and search engine spam SEO and snake-oil promises SEO remains the act of gaining free traffic from search engines, and also to me, gaining that traffic in ways that don't put you at risk of being banned or penalized by those search engines. I [...]

Accomplishments, Complaints & Predictions: The Ultimate 2012 Year-End List

shutterstock_108204866-NewYearClock Well, it’s that time of year again: time to squeeze in every little bit of revenue before the 2012 books close; time to take every last day of vacation before they magically disappear at the stroke of midnight on December 31st; and, perhaps most importantly, it’s that time of year when a whole host of year-end roundup articles ranging from the "Top 10 Things We Learned" to articles detailing every well-intentioned, but rarely kept, resolution ever made. I never thought I would write a “Things We Learned” type article because of a dreadful fear that I only recently learned somethin [...]

Looking Back Over 2012 Through Tweets

2012. Wow, what a year. The world didn’t end, yet. For me, this year was quite different from those in the recent past. I experienced several personal milestones, enjoyed a lovely editorial year (my first with Marketing Land) and my agency continued to grow in spite of my absence for part of the year. Here’s a look back at 2012 via the wide angle lens that is my Twitter feed.  Some of my tweets were related to our industry, while others chronicled brand failures or just the total nonsense our social media culture encompasses at times. I’ve grouped my chronologically-ordered sel [...]

The Great Exaggeration: Optimization

shutterstock_83838865-optimization One of the so-called standard operating procedures we digital marketers espouse most vehemently is "optimization." We believe we've got this practice nailed. Search practitioners coined the term and drove the movement from the earliest days -- wielding a love for data, crude original campaign management systems, Excel-based testing matrices and a belief that optimization was the birthright of search marketers, and by extension, all digital marketers. Therefore, it's long been a constant for anyone in the business. But, unfortunately, the industry started to take this capability for grant [...]

5 Ways To Know How To Say No (To Potential Clients Or Agencies)

shutterstock_86388316-Stop We need a new agency. We are thinking of hiring an agency. We’d like to hear more about your agency. Do you do search? We’d like some SEM help. Can you conduct a review of our current program? How many times have you been asked any of the above questions? How far would you go to prove yourself worthy of providing the answers? There is no greater cost to an agency than the cost of acquiring new business. The race to build business in an industry experiencing unparalleled growth has led to agencies rarely stopping to ask if they should be answering those questions and in what context. [...]

Are Search Agencies Becoming Dinosaurs?

shutterstock_114519181-dinosaur I can’t remember every detail of my first client meeting nearly 15 years ago (I was a newbie working for a search agency), but I can remember a few things:  I remember nearly our entire company going to the meeting (there were only four of us, and three attended the meeting). I remember the client VP sitting at the table alongside their traditional agency. I remember how proud I was of the new grey sport coat I was wearing and had bought just for this meeting. But perhaps the thing I remember most is walking away from that meeting thinking “How could they not get it?”  How c [...]

The Silos That Dog Us — Putting Them Out To Pasture

shutterstock_114118168-silos Silos, while they might be pleasing to the eye in a pastoral setting, are a known negative in the world of business and marketing. We should not organize, manage workflow or report in silos. Nor should we plan and execute in silos. And, never should analysis and optimization of our efforts be done in silos. Yet, the default position is the silo. In many ways, transcending the silo is an unnatural act. It takes curiosity, thought, delving and collaborative instincts to set the course for cross-pollination and collaboration to make those things happen. You've got to have a silo busting [...]

The Rise Of The Search Butler

butler-globe-platter-featured Let me start this month with the following disclaimer: I despise humble bragging in all its forms. I find the whole process nauseating -- so much so that I have taken to parodying my own tweets that even remotely smell like a humble brag. That stated with the utmost sincerity, I can tell you I recently went through a life change when my car lease came up. I was hell bent on getting something practical, efficient and just downright not another Orange County me-too car. Yet, with all my resistance to trendy and all my good intentions, busy schedules and other priorities got in the way. So [...]

Dark Google: One Year Since Search Terms Went “Not Provided”

google-clouds-dark-featured A year ago, Google began going dark. Dark in terms of no longer sharing with publishers, in some cases, how people searched for and found those publishers through Google's search engine. The "single digit" percentage of withholding that Google predicted at the time has turned into more than 50%, in some cases. If Google's withholding were an eclipse, more than half the sun is being covered. "Dark Google" is upon us, and it will only grow darker. I'm drawing the term "Dark Google" as a play off the "Dark Social" concept that Alexis Madrigal wrote about recently in The Atlantic. Dark Socia [...]

Forget Holiday, It’s Budget Season!

shutterstock_101420989-trendline In all of my schooling, I only ever failed one class: Intro to Mathematics. As I write that sentence, a wave of embarrassment washes over me. Failing Math 101 is pretty hard to do (I mean it was an 8 a.m. class my freshman year in college, so perhaps that had something to do with it, but I digress).  Yes, it was disappointing to my parents, but was it surprising? No. I have never been good with numbers. My brain simply does not work that way and never has. I am a right-brained, creative type that prefers coming up with the ideas rather than figuring out the economics behind them. Tha [...]

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