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.

Guest Blogging: A Beginner’s Guide

pitch While guest posting may seem like a simple concept in theory (All I have to do is write a little something and get someone to post it -- easy!), it really isn't in practice. There are more steps to it than you might think. And even if what you’re writing is awesome, readable and informative, that doesn't mean that Google is going to deem it so. Getting your guest post out to the right place is an essential piece of the guest posting puzzle because you want to be certain that you're feeling out the appropriate opportunities. Just trying to shove your guest post in anyone's face who is wil [...]


Here Comes “100% Not Provided,” As Google Begins Encrypting All Non-Paid Searches

google-privacy-200 Ever since Google began encrypting searches for signed-in users two years ago, publishers have wondered if when we'd get to a "100% Not Provided" world, where all search terms are withheld by Google. It looks like that day may soon arrive, thanks to a new change at Google. Google has confirmed that it has begun work to encrypted all searches, even for those who aren't logged into Google. Our story on our sister-site Search Engine Land has more about this: Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks The change makes it very likely that [...]


Are Your Local PPC Ads Really “Local”?

local-maps-featured Paid Advertising Platforms are growing exponentially on what seems like a weekly basis. What once was Keywords + Ad + Bid = Money has now become a full-time job. Bid adjustments, rules, remarketing, extensions, day-parting, local or geographic targeting, modified broad match, and more -- the vocabulary alone is a struggle for small business owners who do their own marketing. As I review and overhaul paid advertising campaigns for new clients, I've noticed that there are numerous misunderstandings surrounding local paid search advertising in Google and Bing. Targeting with location exte [...]


Google AdWords’ Breakthrough Feature Makes Offline Conversion Optimization A Reality

google-adwords-square-logo Yesterday, Google announced a new offline conversion tracking feature that will likely change the way lead generation campaigns are tracked, measured and optimized. Companies that run lead generation campaigns on Google AdWords have long been challenged by the fact that optimization signals stopped at the lead capture. Up to now, it was impossible to optimize campaigns based on the actual quality and close-rate of those leads. Google's new feature allows companies to integrate Google AdWords with any number of CRM and marketing automation platforms, including Salesforce, SugarCRM and Mar [...]


4 Must-Know Facts On Product Listing Ad Mechanics

Google Shopping Google's Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have rapidly gained market share since being introduced last year, and PLAs are now well established as an integral part of retail marketers' pay-per-click (PPC) strategies. This rapid growth has been fueled in part by the improved performance of PLAs over traditional text ads. However, the increased spend has also resulted in competitive inflation, where CPCs for PLAs now match or exceed that of text ads. Despite their growing importance as a marketing channel, PLAs remain frustratingly opaque when compared to traditional, paid-search text ads. Part o [...]


HomeAdvisor.com Rebrand Efforts Include Switching More Than 10 Million URLs

Branding After thoroughly researching the strength of its brand, home improvement company HomeAdvisor.com rebranded itself last year after 13 years as ServiceMagic. Narrowing the brand's focus on home improvement, repair and maintenance, the rebranding effort was a massive undertaking that included a broad set of corporate measures along with the decision to switch the company's URL to its new name. "We had 13 years of SEO equity in the ServiceMagic domain and ranked highly for organic search," said HomeAdvisor CEO Chris Terrill. But Terrill and his CTO Brandon Ridenour understood that the str [...]


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 [...]


Google’s Quality Score Change: What Marketers Need To Know

image002 Last week, Google announced changes in the way Quality Score is reported in AdWords. As stated in Google's official AdWords blog, the update changes the way each keyword’s 1-10 numeric Quality Score is reported. Quality Score is a metric in paid search that represents the relevancy of an ad with respect to the search query, affecting the rank and cost-per-click (CPC) of ads within the auction. (For more detailed information, there is an excellent article on Search Engine Land giving an overview of the history and mechanics behind Quality Score.) Google states that the recent change onl [...]


Incentivizing The Omni-Channel Marketing Team To Work Together

Purchase Processes E-commerce consumer intent and purchase behavior is a difficult story to capture and even more difficult to understand with disparate data sources telling overlapping stories. Businesses leverage technologies including ad servers, analytics, third-party cookie aggregators, internal-tracking platforms and more... trying to understand what leads to sales. Despite these fancy technologies, more often than not, businesses resort to a hacked-together Excel report merging various data sets to answer the ultimate question: what’s the bottom line? Take a step back and it becomes clear that the [...]


4 Ways To Prepare For The Search, Social & Mobile Tipping Point

HiRes [caption id="attachment_167680" align="alignright" width="180"] This is a derivative work from an image used by permission from  istockphoto[/caption] According to the 2013 Internet Trends report released in May of 2013, mobile now accounts for 15% of all global Internet traffic and, with nearly 1.5 billion global smartphone subscribers and over 5 billion mobile phone users, learning about the way that people search, consume and share media across mobile devices is at the forefront of the search marketer's agenda. Mobile, Search & Local Hit The Marketer's Radar Mobile phones hav [...]


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" [...]


Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Roll-Out, Slowly: Broader CPC Impact Yet To Be Seen

google-adwords-square-logo Google's mandatory rollout of AdWords Enhanced Campaigns began this week as a trickle rather than the bang many had expected. After warning AdWords advertisers for months that the deadline for transitioning campaigns to enhanced was July 22, 2013, Google announced that day that the migration would, like most product launches, take several weeks. This also meant that Monday was much less dramatic than anticipated. The verdict is still out on how enhanced campaigns will affect advertiser costs. Many have predicted enhanced campaigns will increase CPCs as more advertisers add mobile targeting [...]


Native Advertising, WTH?

Native Advertising Buzzfeed The concept of "Native Advertising" is getting a lot of attention these days. In some circles, it's been suggested that it may even "save newspapers." I blame BuzzFeed for doing such a great job of letting the cat out of the bag. As is so often the case, stick around a while and you'll learn that "everything old is new again." I would like to congratulate BuzzFeed on reintroducing us to the second oldest profession: the corruption of authoritative sources. (Yes, there is a correlation with the oldest profession.) I wonder if the scribes of ancient Egypt had PR operatives whispering i [...]


3 Advanced Tips For Bid Adjustments In Google Enhanced Campaigns

Google’s introduction of Enhanced Campaigns is one of the most significant structural modifications to occur in the history of paid search. With the end of migration scheduled for July 22, marketers are scrambling to figure out “what works” on the new campaign format. A key point of change in Enhanced Campaigns is the expanded use of bid adjustments -- percentage modifiers to control relative bids between devices, geos, and other targets. Since efficiency varies by target, getting the adjustment factors correct is critical for achieving optimal performance. Below are tips for marke [...]


Study: Email Lands More Customers Than Facebook Or Twitter, But Still Fewer Than Organic Search

email-marketing-featured A new report from marketing software provider Custora found that customer acquisitions gained via email marketing has quadrupled since 2009, with email delivering more customers than Facebook or Twitter. According to the report, email accounted for only .88 percent of online customers acquired in 2009, but that number grew to 6.84 percent by Q2 2013. Facebook and Twitter's combined customer acquisitions have accounted for less than one percent this year. Even after an upswing of nearly seven percent during the last four years, email still falls behind organic search, which has accoun [...]


What Do Google’s Smartphone Ranking Changes Mean For Marketers?

smartphones-featured For nearly eight years now, I've been talking to marketers about the value of presenting usable content to mobile users. Throughout that time, there have been naysayers (of course) who were reluctant to recommend creating mobile-friendly content because Google didn't seem to prioritize the experience of accessing content on a mobile device. I've heard everything, from "desktop and smartphone search results are the same" to "the best mobile SEO strategy is not to have a mobile SEO strategy," and everything in between -- all because, to the average user, it didn't seem like having content tha [...]


Yelp Advertisers Now Able To Promote Transactions Directly From Yelp Business Listings

yelp-logo Yelp announced a new Call to Action feature today that allows business owners to promote specific transactions directly on their Yelp business listing. In an attempt to increase potential revenue for advertisers, the new Call to Action feature enables a link within an advertiser's business listing that will take consumers to the website where the transaction can be completed. The sample below shows a 'Reserve Now' Call to Action button, but advertisers can choose whatever transaction they prefer. According to the announcement, Ticketmaster was one of the first Yelp advertisers to tak [...]


Digital Advertising Agencies 2013: A Buyer’s Guide

Many marketers opt to work with an agency to manage some or all of their digital marketing initiatives. But unless they have established relationships, it's sometimes difficult to know which agencies are reliable and are a good fit with other key stakeholders in the overall process. Our sister site, Digital Marketing Depot can help if you're evaluating an agency, offering a completely updated version of Digital Advertising Agencies 2013: A Buyer’s Guide. The report draws from primary and secondary research sources, including industry associations and publications, top-level executives at [...]


BrightEdge’s $42.8 Million In Funding To Go Toward Company’s Content Marketing Solutions

content-marketing-featured SEO and content marketing company BrightEdge has raised $42.8 million in Series D funding led by venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners, along with investments from Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, Altos Ventures and Illuminate Ventures. Originally an SEO company, BrightEdge says the newly raised funds will go toward building out their content marketing solutions. BrightEdge's existing S3 platform is a content marketing tool that allows users to evaluate how their content influences traffic, engagement and revenue. With customized dashboards, recommendations and analysis, the platfor [...]


DNI – What Mobile Search Marketers Need To Know About Online-Offline Attribution

With the rise in mobile marketing, measuring the online-offline attribution of a mobile search campaign has only increased in complexity. Most marketers today are making valiant efforts to track all secondary actions – from phone calls and driving directions to map and reservations look ups – but tracking a call back to the specific mobile search campaign that drove it is not as simple when working with a high volume of campaigns. As a result, dynamic number insertion (DNI) is one of the key online-offline attribution tools mobile marketers should have in their toolkit. With DNI, pho [...]


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