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Are SEOs & SMMs the Same? SEMPO Says Implies Yes

Spring is the time of year where everything changes. New life begins. It used to be the time of year when new homes were sold. It apparently is also the time of year for market research to blossom in the online marketing space. Everyone and their brother is coming out with something that proves something else to someone. If you are a regular reader here you know that I am a high skeptic on these things.

So not to be outdone, SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) has released findings from research conducted with Econsultancy in its “SEMPO’s State of Search Engine Marketing Report 2010”. The report ((this link is for a purchase of the report. Please note: MP gets no compensation related to its sale and SEMPO members and report participants get the report for free) looks at last year’s ‘real’ numbers as compared to 2010’s predictions for search and social media spends and trends etc. Respondents represent agencies and client side Internet marketers alike. Here is the methodology used for the findings

The State of Search Report is based on an online survey of nearly 1,500 client-side marketers (advertisers) and agency respondents, which took place in January and February 2010. SEMPO and Econsultancy promoted the survey to their respective members, offering a complimentary copy of this report as the incentive for taking part.

It should be pointed out that this year’s survey was carried out slightly later than in previous years, with previous surveys going live before the end of the year.

Some highlights given in the pre-report press release:

The rise of social media marketing budgets, although still modest compared to search engine optimization and paid search, represents the biggest opportunity for search marketers this year.

OK, I’m going to stop there for a moment and ask my own informal polling question here. Should it automatically be assumed that search marketers have a right to social media budgets? Do they even have the same skill sets?

I asked Andy Beal the same question. His response:

An SEO has no more SMM skills than he does PPC. He can learn both, but knowing one well, does not mean he can just jump straight into the other.

It looks to me that the search marketing world is making the assumption that the social media budget of their clients is there for the taking as well. It appears that the client side is already thinking this way and is responding accordingly since search marketers are not exactly “top of mind” for handling social media campaigns for now.

There are plenty of other statistics in the report including:

-The research highlights Google’s dominance as a search engine, with 97% of companies paying to advertise on Google AdWords. Nearly three quarters of companies (71%) pay to advertise on the Google search network while 56% use the Google content network (keyword targeted).

-More than half of advertisers (56%) and agencies (62%) say that Google keywords have become more expensive over the last year. Meanwhile, only around a third of advertisers noted an increase in Yahoo (32%) and Bing (29%) keyword costs.

-From a range of trends and marketplace developments, company respondents are most likely to say the personalization of search results is having an impact. Just under a third of companies (31%) say this is “highly significant,” and a further 44% say it is “significant.” Agency respondents felt the “rise of local search” was the most significant emerging trend with 38% saying this was “highly significant” with 47% labeling it as “significant.”

There are no real surprises in the report. There is a ton of data to mullover but the takeaway I am seeing is this perception from the search industry that search marketers are also social media marketers by default. Do you see it that way?

If you are a consultant or an agency are you looking to secure both social media and search marketing dollars? It can be done, don’t get me wrong, but it takes the right kind of approach and people to make this happen.

Search and social media practitioners: One in the same or two different animals? What’s your take?

  • http://centuryhouse.net/ Robert Enriquez

    I agree with your article but I think you’re reading it the wrong way.

    It’s like a Ford mechanic learning that there is a lot more money to be made with Toyota cars so they start soliciting themselves as Toyota mechanics. Of course they’ll either train themselves or hire someone who knows how

    Like web design companies promoting SEO….they usually hire an inhouse SEO

    I’m guessing that SEMPO deals more with agencies and what they’re writing would be for an agency who can hire a SMM or train their employees to take advantage of the SMM opportunities.

    It’s like a SEO agency who doesn’t do PPC….they both go hand in hand

    I dont see in your findings that they’re advocating that we have a RIGHT to a SMM budget but that it’s an opportunity. As search marketers we should do our due diligence before promoting SMM.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Hi Robert,

      I’m not seeing much disagreement between you and Frank. Frank says…

      “If you are a consultant or an agency are you looking to secure both social media and search marketing dollars? It can be done, don’t get me wrong, but it takes the right kind of approach and people to make this happen.”

      That’s basically what you said. Or am I missing something? :-/

      • http://centuryhouse.net/ Robert Enriquez

        yea i agree with the article….just dont see where SEMPO says Yes

        “Are SEOs & SMMs the Same? SEMPO Says Yes”

        #LinkbaitTitle :)

        I’m not on SEMPO but you know everyone likes a juicy story :)

        • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

          I take full responsibility for the title. I changed it from Frank’s original title to make it more enticing.

          It appears to have worked! ;-)

          That said, SEMPO does say:

          “The rise of social media marketing budgets, although still modest compared to search engine optimization and paid search, represents the biggest opportunity for search marketers this year.”

          SEMPO says this is an opportunity for “search marketers”–that appears to be pretty definitive. They are not talking about search marketers that hire SMM experts–or they would have said that, right?

  • http://www.awebguy.com Mark Aaron Murnahan

    I think that since the huge boom of unemployed or underemployed PR and advertising reps from every industry flooded in along with a good part of real estate, laid off auto workers, and a handful of others who just picked up their first computer and an AOL account, the whole thing is up for grabs. Heck, can’t Jim from accounting handle that stuff? I heard he is pretty good with a computer. LOL
    .-= Mark Aaron Murnahan´s last blog ..Twitter is Useful but Blogging is Better =-.

  • http://www.blindfiveyearold.com AJ Kohn

    SEO and Social Media are absolutely different. That’s not to say that the same individual can’t have expertise in both areas, but the Venn Diagram of SEO and Social Media would only have a little bit of overlap.

    The overlap? They are both aimed at traffic generation and links (an SEO necessity) can be generated through primary or secondary social media activities.

    That’s where the overlap ends as far as I’m concerned.
    .-= AJ Kohn´s last blog ..Display Advertising and SEO =-.

  • http://seopunch.com/ Gregg Brown

    I see a lot of Social Media Marketers who don’t know anything about SEO, but for a SEO Consultant not to offer advice or services for SMM that would be stupid.
    .-= Gregg Brown´s last blog ..SEO and Marketing Services – You Get What You Pay For =-.