Search Marketing is the process of acquiring traffic or customers via search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.

Search marketing generally involves two disciplines: SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing).

The former focuses on acquiring customers via visibility in natural/organic search results, and the latter focuses on acquiring customers by placing paid ads on search result pages.

Marketing Land covers major search marketing news and strategic advice in the area. Our sister-site, Search Engine Land provides in-depth news coverage, analysis and lots of tips and tactics.

10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google, From Rap Genius To The BBC

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 It's been a busy year already with big brands getting hit by Google penalties. First came Rap Genius, slammed so hard that you couldn't find it for its own name. Then came Expedia's suspected penalty that may have hurt its traffic. But these are also a familiar tune. Big brand violates Google's rules, gets in trouble but ultimately returns to Google's good graces with what may seem a virtual wrist-slap. Below, in reverse chronological order, is a list of major brands that have been hit by Google penalties over the years for various reasons. Some violations weren't even intentional. 10 [...]


Selling Search & Social To The CEO: Measure Business Outcomes

Altimeter Group Social Survey If you were one of those children that sold lemonade under a homemade stand (or, like me, sold lawn-mowing services), business was pretty simple. All it took was the product or service, the flash of a toothless smile or a knock on the door, and your weekly allowance began to grow. If only digital marketing were this easy. Let's say that back then, you needed a cash advance from your parents in order to stock up on startup supplies. And let's say in order to get this loan, you promised your parents you'd pay them back within 30 days. In this example, your parents probably don't need t [...]


With Content Marketing, Link Building is Obsolete… Right?

Link Building is Obsolete It seems that every day a new blog post is published claiming that link building is dead. It makes for a great headline, but it’s just not true. In fact, it's very much alive, and will be for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the content marketing purists who preach the "build it and they will come" methodology are setting themselves and their audience up for failure. When I get asked about whether a business should continue with link building in the future, I usually say, "Your competitor would love it if you stopped building links to your content." Don't get me wrong -- I am [...]


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 [...]


Low Hanging Fruit: These Super Bowl Advertisers Are Getting Found For “Super Bowl Ads”

google-bing-football As Super Bowl advertisers rev up the heat on their promotional campaigns ahead of the big game, a handful are turning to paid search on both Google and the Yahoo Bing Network. Thousands of consumers are searching for "super bowl ads" according to Google. The advertisers showing up and paid search show they wisely have a plan in place to compete for this traffic. And, many of the Super Bowl advertisers running paid search ads are using creative tactics to extend the digital impact of their Super Bowl expenditures. For the rundown of 5 trends we're seeing in the paid search ads for Super Bowl [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


10 Things RTB Buyers Can Learn From SEM Veterans

teaching-learning Paid search and RTB are fairly similar online marketing channels -- each involves bidding on ad inventory in an auction-based model. But, whereas paid search has long been a staple of the Internet Marketing mix, RTB is a relative newcomer, having only gained significant traction in the last few years. As a result, most RTB buyers are basically "rookies" in their profession. If you have more than three years of experience in RTB, you're about as proficient as they come. In paid search, on the other hand, three yeas of experience would make you a knowledgeable yet junior marketer. They say [...]


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 [...]


Why Matt Cutts Is Wrong About Responsive Web Design

mobile-responsive-design-featured Like most white hat SEOs in our industry, I respect and appreciate what Matt Cutts has done for SEO. So much so that, though I've never met the man, I recently donated to help him fight Cancer in the Dana Farber Boston Marathon challenge (you should, too). More than anyone, he has been a tireless referee and champion of those who play fairly in this game of gaining visibility in the search results that we call SEO. When I first started doing SEO, there were no rules for gaining visibility in a way that was fair to clients, search engines and search engine users -- but Matt changed all that, [...]


New Research: The Retargeting Barometer, 3rd Edition

paying for retargeting_chango The results have just been released from the 3rd edition of the Retargeting Barometer, the ad industry’s only survey focused on the use of retargeting. Published by Chango, and this time in partnership with Digiday, the study attracted 300 respondents, including brand marketers from a broad set of industries and from media agencies. The full report can be downloaded here. Key Highlights The key highlights from the 3rd edition of the Retargeting Barometer are: Retargeting is becoming more and more standard for sure, yet there are surprising gaps in its use and how it is measured. R [...]


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 [...]


Is Not Provided A Good Thing?

content-marketing-featured It’s been a few weeks since Google rocked our worlds and stripped keyword-level data from the referrer, so it’s time to examine the fallout and see what’s changed in the world of search marketing. Surprisingly, not much. Keywords were beacons of insight – fantastic beacons – but keywords were a double-edged sword leading us to create content that unnecessarily repeated specific terms for an ideal keyword density. Writing for a bot rather than for the user is not optimizing for user experience, so Google did something about it. Google head spam-fighter Matt Cutts said it himself: [...]


US Search Awards Names 2013 Winners At Ceremony Hosted In Association With PubCon

US-Search-Awards-2013 The US Search Awards hosted its 2013 awards ceremony last night in Las Vegas in association with PubCon. The event recognized organizations, agencies and personalities in the search industry, presenting 22 different awards from best campaigns to best agency and search personality of the year. Among the winners, our partner site Search Engine Land took home the Best Blog award. Catalyst Canada (on behalf of HSBC CMB USA) won the Grand Prix award and Elite SEM took home the Best Agency award. President of aimClear, and Search Engine Land contributor Marty Weintraub was named US Search Persona [...]


Now What? When New Competition Suddenly Makes PPC Unprofitable

When PPC Is No Longer Profitable There have always been companies for which paid search didn't pan out or was cost prohibitive. But, what happens when companies that have been running successful paid search campaigns suddenly find themselves getting crushed by new competition? After looking into cases of advertisers getting squeezed out of paid search by large parent companies, I wanted to hear what advice marketers would give to these advertisers. What channels should they turn to to make up for the lost sales or lead volume from paid search? I first spoke with Jeremy Hull, associate director of paid search at iProspec [...]


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 [...]


Google Debuts AdWords Cross-Device Conversion Estimates, Phone and In-Store Conversions Coming

google-adwords-square-logo In its first step in capturing the complete conversion impact of AdWords campaigns, Google launched a new conversion type today called estimated cross-device conversion. Cross-device conversion estimates are calculated by using Google account holders who are logged in to multiple devices as a proxy for the greater population. The company says phone calls and in-store activity will soon be included in the new Estimated Total Conversions column that is rolling out to AdWords accounts over the next few weeks. Because the proxy activities relies on logged-in users, estimated cross-device con [...]


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 [...]


No Data For You: SEO Experts Offer Opinions On Google’s Move To Withhold Even More Search Term Data

google-privacy-200 Google quietly confirmed earlier this week that it would be encrypting all search data, regardless of whether a user was signed in or not. The company offered the following statement to clarify their sudden decision to withhold the data: We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We're now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in. Marketing Land's Danny Sullivan wrote about Google's move to encrypt all non-paid searches, explaining, "The change makes it very likely that in th [...]


The Digital Marketing Analysis Tree: Understanding Root Causes

dmtree_ps I recently read an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review about how data-driven individuals think and act. Some of the key traits described in the article apply not only to researchers, but to anyone involved in analysis and decision making. According to the author, data-driven individuals: Make decisions at the lowest possible level Bring as much diverse data to any situation as they possibly can How do these traits translate for the digital marketer, and how we should think about performance management of campaigns? The Data-Driven Marketer The traits, when applied to [...]


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