So You Wanna Be a Search Marketer

By Nicole St. Martin.

The search marketing industry is still in it’s infancy, now more the ever companies are realizing that they need to incorporate aspects of search marketing in order to compete in today’s saturated online marketplace.

Search marketers are in demand; there are more available search marketing positions then qualified search marketers to fill them. This is great news for those wannabe’s wishing to join the fascinating and ever evolving world of search engine marketing.

I found search marketing purely by accident. One day I was asked by my then marketing manager to “figure out how to get our websites listed in Google” from that day forward I immersed myself in anything and everything industry related. I would imagine that’s how many of today’s search marketers learned SEO.

Search marketing requires knowledge in many different areas but if you profile any of today’s successful search marketers, their savvy soft skills are what makes them leaders in the search marketing industry.

5 Must Have Qualities for a Search Marketer

1. Passion & Eagerness to Learn

Having a marketing background is helpful but certainly not necessary so please don’t go creating student loans when you don’t have to – The beauty of the search marketing industry is that it is full of chatter boxes that love to talk shop.

2. Thinking Outside the Box

It’s unfortunate that people today tend to over simplify what search marketing is. Regardless of what you’ve probably read online, search marketing is not about Meta tags, keyword stuffing, hidden text, or search engine submissions. True search marketing is about “making your website the best it can be for your website visitors and the search engines”. Quote: Jill Whalen of High Rankings

Search marketing is very strategic in nature and immensely difficult. Search marketers are constantly analyzing information in order to improve search campaigns. Search techniques are never black and white so you must be able to think outside the box.

3. Dedication

Search marketing requires you to have a massive amount of knowledge and of course dedication to keeping up to one of the fasting moving industries around. You absolutely must be up for the challenge of continual growth.

Get involved with search marketing associations such as SEMPO. Attend popular search marketing conferences and seminars; Search engine strategies is currently the premier search marketing event. Last but not least, never under estimate the power of networking, what else are you going to use your business cards for?

4. Listening Skills

Be humble, listen and take advice from your peers; they might just have the solution to a problem you’ve been trying to solve for a month. Unlike other snobbish industries, search marketing professionals are happy to share their findings and ideas.

5. Patience

Educating others on the “known’s and unknowns” (thanks Donald Rumsfeld) of search marketing requires a great deal of patience, as well as dealing with the constant natural up’s and down’s of any search marketing campaign.

Last but not least, never be afraid to surround yourself with people who know more then you do. With a little hard work, determination and know-how, you too can become a search marketer.

Creating an SEM Sidekick that Would Make Batman Jealous!

By Taylor Pratt.

Being the best usually means working with the best. Where would Johnny Carson have been without the support of Ed McMahon? You think Batman had a serious chance against Two-Face without Robin (assuming he isn’t played by Chris O’Donnell, of course)?

Creating a sidekick with Chewbacca caliber seems impossible, but what if it was as easy as installing a few lines of code or typing in a username and password? Wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out what keywords people actually are typing into the Search Engines and clicking through to your site? And how about what pages they are clicking through to the most? Hallelujah! It really is that easy to access this kind of information.

Most websites today have some type of analytics installed that their SEM is overlooking (Holy missed opportunity Batman!) While your eyes are glazing over at the thought of reading an article about analytics, I’d like to make an argument that they are more than just numbers. Analytics tell a story, and they just might be the sidekick you’re looking for.

I like to consider my customer’s analytics data as a story, with 4 major chapters that build off of one another:

Chapter 1: Keyword Analysis

Chapter 2: Tracking Your Visitors

Chapter 3: Page Analysis

Chapter 4: Measuring ROI

Chapter 1: Keyword Analysis. Looking through the thousands of keywords (hopefully) that visitors clicked through to your site on, can provide you with a wealth of information that should strongly impact your SEM campaign. At the beginning you can use these keywords as suggestions as to what you should be targeting. It is a great way to dive into the mind of the customer and get a better understanding as to what language they use when describing your product or services.

Your internal search engine is like a golden ticket into the mind of your customer. You know they are interested in your services, and now you get to see what they think right keywords are. Closely analyze these keywords, and see where you could be targeting them and if they would bring in enough traffic to merit such a focus.

During your campaign, these keywords are a great measurement to determine how effectively you are using your targeted terms on your site. Analyze the long tail keywords, and make sure you are focusing on the best terms. But how can you tell which terms are the most important? We learn that in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Tracking Your Visitors. What good is ranking number 1 in Google for “Batman” if none of your visitors take action or “convert.” Your best keywords are the keywords that lead the visitor to your page, and once they get there, they click through to the rest of your site. Your analytics make it simple for you: 50 visitors came from Google searching for “Batman,” and 0 clicked through. 15 visitors came from Google searching for “batmobile die cast car” and 10 of them clicked through. Data like this tells us we need to refocus our SEM campaign to focus on the language the customer is using, not just the terms that bring in the most traffic.

Don’t overlook what keywords your visitors are coming in on from the other search engines either. Obviously most search engines have their own ranking algorithms. Use that to your advantage by analyzing the keywords your visitors are coming in from on each the engines. I’ve found great keywords that I didn’t even know I was ranking for in MSN, but I was nowhere to be found in Google. Once I knew it was important, I was able to work it into my SEM campaign.

Also included in Chapter 2, is tracking where your visitors came from. Are your paid links actually sending targeted traffic to your site? Are your links doing anything more than improving your rankings?

Chapter 3: Page Analysis. Your Analytics sidekick also gives you the invaluable information of learning at what point the customer leaves your site. Was it something they didn’t like on the page? Did they think your shopping cart process was frustrating? If you find enough people leaving your site at the same point, you should put up a red flag and take another look at your page. Your best option might be to do some user testing. Regardless, you want more than traffic, you want conversions.

Looking at the pages that your visitors are clicking away from should also raise a few eyebrows. Are they finding their answers on this page? Should we expand on our content? What relevant internal pages should we be linking to in order to make it easier for the customer to find what they want?

And while you are tracking your visitors click path, you should be able to calculate the ROI of your current SEM strategy.

Chapter 4: Measuring ROI. Identifying which keywords, search engines, links, and even e-mail marketing campaigns are generating the highest conversions from the traffic they send, is a great way to measure your campaign ROI. If conversions are down, or aren’t improving the way you want them too, then you might want to consider modifying your current campaign.

Are the costs of your SEM project justifying themselves? If you’re like P.Diddy and writing lots of checks and still aren’t going platinum, then you should be reconsidering your strategy and your investment in general.

Having the ability to see which keywords and sources are bringing you the best traffic is an invaluable resource. You need to know where to increase spending and where to focus.

Analytics are a constant measurement resource identifying which search strategies are working and which strategies are failing (or making no impact at all.) Don’t try and fight your competition shorthanded, you have an invaluable sidekick just waiting to help you. Don’t ignore your analytics. There are plenty of great free resources and great analytics blogs to keep you from being frustrated, and to maximize your analytics potential.

The first 100 impressions: What your paid keywords can tell you

By Stephanie M. Cockerl.

How often do you check the status of your search engine marketing (SEM) and/or pay-per-click (PPC) keywords? Do you check them every month, every week or everyday? What about checking the status of your keywords after the first 100 impressions or ad views?

What if there are no clicks for a keyword after 100 impressions? This could also apply if the click-through rate (CTR) for a particular keyword is below 1%. Since the likelihood of having direct contact with the users who viewed the ads is nil, the next best thing is to deduce why searchers have not clicked.

Increase Conversion Rates with the Google Website Optimizer?

By Jeff Horsager.

Testing is critical to the success of any marketing campaign. Testing provides actionable data that translates into increased ROI. It is results oriented and provides insights that allow you to improve any marketing campaign in ways that are measurable.

Split Testing and Multivariate Testing

Basic testing of ad campaign elements (such as ad copy) is often done through what is known as split or a/b testing. Split testing is simply testing two advertising elements against each other under similar conditions to see which performs better.

An example of split testing is taking identical PPC ad copy and driving it to two different landing pages to see which page converts better, or creating two PPC ad copy variants and sending them to the same landing page to see which variant gives you a higher CTR (click-through rate).

10 Biggest Master Baiters in the Search Industry

By Dustin Woodard.

Link baiting is all the buzz these days in the SEO industry. It’s really nothing new, people have been baiting for years. In fact, I’d say 98% of us would admit to baiting from time to time—and the other 2% are lying.

What does it take to be a master baiter? Besides hands and a keyboard, a master baiter should have a creative mind, marketing skills and, obviously, be web savvy. I also believe link baiting should be intentional—none of this my-hand-slipped-and-I-got-lucky crap.

Below is a list of people I think are the biggest Master Baiters in the search industry. These are the people who seem to be able to hook even those who know they are baiting them. I’m sure there are other private baiters out there, hidden under a corporate brand that might be able to rival these guys, but they don’t bait in public like these guys do. I admit that I’ve been baiting in private until this post.

The 7 Deadly Sins that Hurt You as an SEO or SEM

By Daniel Tynski.

1.) Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your viewers.

It is not an uncommon mistake for many marketers, both on and offline, to inaccurately assess the intelligence of their target audience.  While it seems that bad estimations run in both directions,  it is a grave error to assume you know more about your visitors than you actually do — more than anything, you must not assume your visitors are stupid.  Its easy to clump your visitors into a large nameless blob, to think of them as cattle, susceptible to your clever gimmicks and likely to fall into the traps you’ve set.  The reality is that your readers are individuals.  If anything, they’re especially single minded on the net.  Many people feel empowered by the web, not only to be who they are, but also to assert themselves, their opinions, and their way of doing things.  To this end, your visitors are about as far from a herd of followers as you can get.  And while it may be prudent to make certain predictions about their behavior, it is a major mistake to assume too much about those you intend to draw to your website.  This is why analytics are so important to your efforts. The following sites can help you get an idea about what your visitors are actually doing on your site.

Have Your Top Competitors Do Some Of Your SEO For You

By CK Chung (aka Kid Disco).

What if I was to tell you that you could cut the amount of time spent on a certain element of SEO by half and, at the same time, double your production for it. Is that something you might be interested in?

If so… read on, grasshopper. :P

SEOs will generally kick-off an optimization campaign by examining analytics, performing keyword research, checking on-page elements, analyzing links, and so on and so forth. However, there exists an extremely useful tactic that is often underutilized or left out completely from the SEO’s arsenal. What am I talking about? Ladies and gentleman, I present to you… Competitive intelligence.

What is competitive intelligence? As it relates to search marketing, I would define it as the process of performing research to gather information about your competitors’ websites and analyzing that data for the purpose of extracting methods used and formulating strategies that you may use to optimize your own website.

Competitive intelligence can open your eyes to many things, including:

  • What your competitors are doing.
  • How you compare to your competitors.
  • Predict what your competitors will be doing.

There are plenty of resources and tools on competitive research and analysis that are readily available for you to utilize. Simple searches on the SEM Search tool for competitive intelligence, competitive research, and competitive analysis will return a barrage of blog posts and articles that will lead you to a slew of more resources and tools you may incorporate.