Catch up on SEM past, present and future

Catch up on SEM past, present and future

Did you have a good time in Vegas? Party hard? Take home some winnings?

Marvelous. Because now it’s time to bust your butt back into shape after those buffet brunches and session overdoses. You may have missed some big news happening outside the microcosm of the Las Vegas Conference Center last week.

SEOmoz survey

The good folks at SEOmoz released the results of their annual industry survey last week, and this one’s a monster. Ten thousand respondents provided data on salary, spend, SPAM reports, link buying and tactics results — a veritable gold mine. Learn what your comrades in the field are making and undertaking to accomplish their online marketing goals. Use this knowledge:

  • as a bargaining chip the next time salary is discussed;
  • to identify commonly implemented strategies required to stay competitive (“everybody’s doing it” is actually worth note in the SEM industry); or
  • as ammunition in the battle for buy-in or an increased budget.

Visions of SEO’s future

It’s not enough to know what’s going down at present. A well-positioned SEO, like a winning chess player, needs to be looking several steps ahead.

SEM Chess Game

How many steps ahead are you in the SEM game? (Andrey Armyagov/iStockphoto)

15-year search titan Tim Mayer, formerly mastermind behind Yahoo!’s search business, product and marketplace, delivered a keynote address at PubCon last week. The rise of apps, verticalization of search and emerging modes of query input are all the way of the future, Mayer says.

Are you prepared?

Ad advancements

Advertising with Google is an exercise in adaptation, leaving no new opportunity unleveraged. Those advertising online got more options this week as Google rolled out Product Ads and a new AdSense interface to all users. Google also recently integrated Twitter’s ad network within real-time results. Here’s a closer look:

  • Fresh-faced AdSense: Boasting more control, more efficiency and more insights, the new dashboard where publishers manage, optimize and view reports features new tabs, page navigation, more detailed performance reports and embedded help.
  • Product Ads for all: Previously a closed beta test for 800 advertisers, now anyone can can provide Google a product feed, complete with images, for a compelling user experience on a cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-click basis.
  • Twitter and Google’s latest hook-up: A first for the search engine, Google is delivering ads from another service’s inventory. Real-time search results in Google now include Promoted Tweets, and the partners will share the ad revenue. The week before last, Twitter also started testing Promoted Tweets within the tweet stream. It looks like Twitter advertisers could be getting some seriously increased exposure.

Search preview

Google unveiled a major new feature of organic search last week in Instant Preview, a visual preview of the page listed. Publishers are nervously debating the potential effect of such a change. Is it another case of Google stealing content and siphoning ad revenue, or is it a boon to high quality sites that stand to attract more users thanks to the improved search experience? I’m inclined to think Instant Preview separates the wheat from the chaff and that users will continue to click through to a page since the preview is small.

Not open for debate is the fact that a site’s first impression now occurs before a visitor even arrives on a site.

Mobile in motion

The ubiquity of mobile connectivity holds infinite promise for reaching consumers at a critical stage in the conversion funnel. Some hard numbers were released last week that point to how close we are to this reality. A survey by eMarketer shows that almost 63 percent of undergrads have Internet-enabled mobile devices, more than report having desktop computers. According to Microsoft, 53 percent of mobile searches have local intent.

And it may be time to rethink the efficiency of location check-in services as a marketing channel if they don’t quickly wise up to their unique value proposition among social networks.

Alrighty. You’re all caught up now and ready to push ahead. You can thank me later.

Arienne Holland

Arienne has spent 20 years in communications, ranging from graphic design to journalism to PR to marketing and formerly Raven's Director of Marketing and Education.

Arienne has spent 20 years in communications, ranging from graphic design to journalism to PR to marketing and formerly Raven's Director of Marketing and Education.