My, how the Dallas search landscape has changed since Search Engine Strategies last held its national show here, before it was moved to Chicago in 2003. While comparing the bigger national show to the lean and laid-back Search Engine Watch LIVE series is not exactly an apples-to-apples proposition, it's still worth a look back to understand how search engine marketing has progressed over the last four to five years.
Although "age-old" might be a slight exaggeration, the question of whether pay-per-click (PPC) or non-pay-per-click (N-PPC) advertising offers the better return on your online investment has been around since, well, the dawn of search engine marketing. The truth of the matter is: what works for me may not work for you. There is no definite answer; however, there are definitely guidelines that can send you in the right direction.
Last week's Wall Street Journal ran a piece on how Yahoo advertisers are faring as they migrate to the new Panama ad platform. I wanted to give Yahoo the opportunity to talk about the migration in its own words. What follows is my interview with Yahoo's Senior Vice President of Advertiser Products and Platform, Steve Mitgang.
So, you're asking yourself the question online marketers are asking themselves today. Where should I spend most of my time, money, and efforts -- SEO or PPC? The battle has begun.
The 2004 acquisition of SEM firm iProspect by the advertising network Isobar marked a turning point in the search marketing industry. The valuation of the deal (together with an earlier Performics/DoubleClick deal) set a new high-water mark for the expectations of the owners of other search shops. But the flood of acquisitions that was predicted never happened. And while the owners of search shops have had their appetites whetted, the window for highly profitable acquisitions may have passed by. Here's why.
As the applications of search marketing grow and seep into different media channels and technologies, I believe the term "search" is now too big of a catchall to be really meaningful. As such, I want to more closely examine the root of search and what it has come to mean to marketers. In turn, I'd like to introduce the concept of query marketing as a platform centered around consumer-initiated queries.
If the CES is an indication of where hardware is heading, then everyone better be ready for the convergence of every device out there. Yet how much credit can you give to a show that featured 2,700 exhibitors but was trumped in the press by a single product announcement from Apple at Macworld that same week? While I was there earlier this month, speaking on a Digital Hollywood panel about online video, I kept grappling with this issue of convergence. Will the Web truly become device-agnostic, with searches coming from any and every platform?
For last week's pronouncement that shook the new media world -- but didn't particularly surprise it -- look to MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson. MySpace, Anderson informed German mag Der Spiegel, has "replaced MTV." But the MTV versus MySpace competition is a bit more complex than just the old replaced by the new. That's because MySpace isn't as much the usurper of MTV, as it's an evolution of MTV's basic concept: a horizontal channel in which glamorous stars, the common folk, and the channel itself are all on surprisingly equal footing.
Yahoo has been especially active over the last month, announcing several initiatives in local and mobile search. For example, Yahoo is partnering with Dash Navigation to put Yahoo's local search technology into Dash's new Internet- connected automobile navigation system.
There's another controversy stirring in the SEM blogosphere, and this one is revolving around the very future of organic optimization, the yin to the paid yang of search. While this debate rears its head with predictable regularity every few years, there's a different flavor to this one. This time, rather than an inter-industry turf war, it's the search user that will ultimately decide the fate of SEO. And that opens up part two of SEM's seven-year itch: what life will be like on the agency side.