• 10 Spooky SEM Surprises
    Halloween is a day for costumes and carving, bonfires and bobbing, tricking and treating. In short, there's never a dull moment. Here are 10 surprises sure to spook your SEM shorts off. Hopefully none of these harrowing happenings will haunt you this All Hallow's Eve
  • What The (Not Provided) Can SEOs Do About Google Keyword (Not Provided)?
    In my column last week, I explored what impact Google's controversial preclusion of some search keyword queries has had on our industry. I also confirmed the current percentage of affected terms (20.5%), noting the more than 100% growth in just a year's time (Google originally stated less than 10% of search queries would be affected). After that piece was published, I continued to think about (not provided) and what it really means for webmasters and SEOs. Conversations with friends and colleagues only fueled my curiosity to explore further. What really strikes me as interesting, and disappointing, about (not provided) is …
  • The Balancing Of Market Information
    In my previous columns on disintermediation, I made a rather large assumption: that the market will continue to see a balancing of information available both to buyers and sellers. As this information becomes more available, the need for the "middle" will decrease.
  • Google's Keyword (Not Provided), One Year Later
    Last Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of one of the more controversial announcements in Google's sordid history with the SEO community. On October 18, 2011 Google rolled out secure search as the default setting for authenticated Google Account users. So anytime a user is logged into GMail, Google Docs, or Google+ and performs a search prior to logging out, the search query is encrypted and will not be passed along to the publisher site following result selection and click-through. In practical terms, some percentage of organic search engine traffic is identified within Web analytics tools as unavailable, or "(not provided)."
  • Will Customer Service Disappear With The Elimination Of The 'Middle'?
    In response to my original column on disintermediation, Joel Snyder worried about the impact on customer service: "The worst casualty is relationships and people skills. As consumers circumvent middlemen, they become harder to deal with. As merchants become more automated, customer service people have less power and less skills (and lower pay)." Cece Forrester agreed: "Disintermediation doesn't just let consumers be rude. It also lets organizations treat their customers rudely." So, is rudeness an inevitable byproduct of disintermediation?
  • Take The PPC Challenge: Replace Your CMO's Decoder Ring With Plain English
    You wouldn't dream of creating a website with unclear menu options; navigation needs to be descriptive enough to ensure links deliver visitors to relevant pages. Why not extend this logic holistically to SEM and create obviously categorized campaigns that trigger better, more relevant merchandising insights? Don't settle for a structure as dystopian as "THX 1138"; if that title reminds you of some of your naming conventions, then it's time for a reeducation.
  • Marketing To Mobile Users: Proof Is In The Numbers
    It's hard to believe Apple introduced the iPad in April 2010, less than three years ago. In their 30-month run, tablets have grown exponentially, changing where and how we consume media and the overall digital marketing space forever. But what does this really mean? I have discussed the importance of mobile and tablet marketing in my columns before, but it's important to understand the differences in behavior on different devices to better market to these users successfully. We recently released a report that was meant to help identify these differences so marketers can optimize campaigns according to device type. The …
  • Digital Marketers, Embrace Your Inner Publisher
    Digital marketers have become full-bore content marketers. That statement shouldn't spur any debate; it's true. And the adage that "content is king" is proven time and again across top-performing digital marketing programs. If you author and promote original and compelling material, you will be better positioned to succeed in the fight for visitors and eventual conversions. This is true in search, it's true in social, and it's true across email and display. Content is the key ingredient to success across the Web. In kind, organizations that employ or hire content marketers have become modern-day digital publishers, too.
  • The Good Side Of Disintermediation
    You know you've found a good topic for a column when half the comments are in support of whichever side of the topic you've lined up on, and half are against it. Such was the case last week when I wrote about disintermediation.
  • Why Search Is A Strategic Component Of Social And Content Marketing
    Do you want to be an average content marketer or a great one? The answer lies in how well you understand how search marketing can help you build a connected brand. As brands wake up and realize they are in the digital publishing business, they have the chance to produce a great publishing strategy that combines search, content marketing, and social media. Here's how the synergy works:
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