Commentary

10 Reasons Search Marketers Should Be Thankful

'Tis the season -- so I thought I'd take a stab at 10 things search marketers should be thankful for:

1.Our jobs. While search may not be recession proof, our jobs should be. Unless you work at Yahoo -- in which case, you should be thankful for your enhanced severance package.

2.Increased Transparency.We still have a ways to go in bringing transparency to the world of black-box algorithms, but we have made some progress of late. Following Microsoft's lead, Google now provides absolute query volume data and a robust Insights for Search tool -- very helpful for maximizing search programs and predicting election outcomes.

3.Healthy Competition. With the Google/Yahoo deal dead on the vine and the Yahoo/Microsoft acquisition going nowhere fast, we still have plenty of viable choices to SERF as searchers and marketers.

4.Good Conversation. I've never been around a group that likes to geek out and talk shop like search marketers. Perhaps it's because we're all Type-F, or maybe it's because our industry trade shows foster it -- but there's always plenty of good conversation to be had on the topic of search marketing.

5.Google. I know we really don't need to stroke the King of Search's ego, but we do owe a debt of gratitude to the folks in Mountain View for 10 years of bringing search to the forefront of the marketing world and top of mind for CMOs. Not to mention making tools like Google Analytics enterprise-ready and, best of all, free.

6.The Promise of Social Search. With Page Rank for People long hailed as the future of search, GoogleWiki is the latest tool to tease us with the potential of crowd-sourced SERPs. Surely, the day will come when we'll be able to filter search results by peer group, general population demo, geo, etc. The fact that the most valuable innovation still lies ahead should give us all reason to be thankful we're in such a dynamic space. And don't call me Shirley.

7.Campaign Management Tools. Can you even remember what life was like before bid and campaign management tools? Most search marketers haven't been around long enough to recall the days when it was all Excel all the time -- although, apparently there are still some hold-outs from the paid search Stone Age. With good third-party tools now widely available and affordable, the days of making manual adjustments to campaigns are over -- freeing search marketers up to focus on more strategic planning and action.

8.Integration. A mainstay on my Search Insider Summit Buzz-o-Meter -- which will be updated in my next column -- "integration," and the fact that it's actually happening, is yet another reason to give thanks. There are many tangibleways to prove the value of search (and other marketing channels) through integration of strategies, processes, data, etc. And many more that we have yet to discover. With search at the center of the media consumption universe, it's only right that search claim its place at the center of the marketing mix as well.

9.Change Is in the Air. Regardless of your political views, having a tech-savvy President bodes well for search marketers. The Obama administration is poised to push the envelope on matters like technology infrastructure and Net neutrality. As we know, more broadband means more searches. And non-discriminatory access means the engines won't have to pay premiums and, in turn, pass those costs along to consumers or marketers. Two recent appointments to Obama's transition team underscore his commitment to these issues, as does his decision to create a CTO role in his cabinet -- even though it won't be Eric Schmidt.

10.Our jobs. Did I mention this already? With the walls falling down around us, we should all be grateful to be working in a space that is relatively stable. Sure, budgets may not be growing like they once were -- but hey, "flat is the new up." And for all those Yahoos out there whose jobs may not be secure (although I can't imagine the search group will feel the brunt of the layoffs) -- rest assured, your skills are in high demand on the publisher, agency and client side.

All the best for a Happy Thanksgiving and prosperous Cyber Monday!
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