"Ahh...our fledgling little industry is growing up." And with those words, I became a Search Insider on August 19, 2004, writing my very first column for MediaPost. Today, six years, seven months and 26 days later, I'm writing my 300th Search Insider column. And yes, our little industry is still growing up.
Search marketing and data analytics have always been connected at the hip. Even during the early days of search, part of the attractiveness of the channel was its transparency. It quashed the old adage that marketers don't know which 50% of their investments are worthwhile. Search represented this new advertising vehicle that demonstrated ROI really clearly -- and enabled smart analysts to drive incrementally higher returns if they acted properly in response to that data.
I was working on a client's newly relaunched site recently when I ran into a potential duplicate content issue. Specifically, the client's site had incorporated an additional version of content specially formatted for printing. This version included a "no index, no follow" meta tag. Seems like the correct thing to do, right? Wrong.
>Much has been written about search engine optimization and how it is search marketers can leverage what is known (and unknown) about the underlying algorithms at work within Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to get at better ranks in search results. As much has been written about keywords and keyword strategy. What isn't discussed enough, at least from my perspective, is the need to go beyond keyword lists and strategies to get at a long-term, thoughtful content strategy.
It's natural to want to poke fun at the big guy. In the tech world, Google has been particularly prone to this during its explosion as one of the largest business phenomena in history. Given Google's mind-boggling access to sensitive information, $100 billion valuation, not to mention our dependence on its services, it's not surprising that libertarians, privacy advocates and wannabe startup entrepreneurs all want to knock them down a notch.
As of today, we're 27 days away from the kick-off of the Search Insider Summit on Captiva Island, Fla. Yesterday, after several weeks of going through pitches, we locked down the agenda. Over the next few columns (with the exception of next week, but more on that then), I'm going to spotlight some of the presentations that will take the stage at Captiva:
Last week Google announced the launch of +1, a new social layer in search. I won't bother recapping the news, but the short story is, there's now a +1 button on Google search results to indicate if you or someone you know (or don't know) likes that Web page. Here's a list of 10 things I love (+10) and hate (-10) about this new feature.
Google Buzz. Google Wave. Google Knol. And now, Google +1. The latest attempt by Google to integrate social sharing into search results has sent search marketers scurrying for answers on how the new +1 button will affect everything from organic search rankings to bids and quality score in Google AdWords. But have no fear, because like the aforementioned Google platforms, I don't see Google +1 being any sort of game-changer.
Web 2.0 rolled into San Francisco last week where a few new start-ups caught my eye. Along with the conference came a big announcement from Google, which, when added to Oprah's first live tweet event, made the week a little more invigorating than usual for those of who get excited about this stuff (a pitiable lot, I'll grant you, but someone's got to love this stuff). Here are the highlights.
The process of identifying proper, actionable key performance indicators (or KPIs) is arguably the most under-appreciated ingredient of a well-rounded search marketing program. On-target KPIs can empower the SEM to take action in response to intelligence that is mined from campaign data. Faulty KPIs can leave the organization confused or frustrated with its results.