PJ Fusco: why search engine marketers need to change

Search engine marketing has changed since we first started tinkering with content found in search engines and directories more than 16 years ago.

To be certain, online marketers still have to focus on implementing fundamental tenets of search engine marketing. The short list of essentials continues to include bid management, keyword optimization, site architecture, and producing content coded for efficient crawler consumption.

As search engines have evolved, so too has search engine marketing. Today, the new search marketer understands that finding is not the same as searching. Executing on the fundamentals allows businesses to reign supreme in branded search results, and also helps set the stage for battling it out over highly coveted shelf space in unbranded results.

Basic search engine optimization still helps big brands get found, but it’s the new search marketer that helps facilitate fresh content discovery. It’s also the new search marketer that entices us into sharing our digital experiences.

What other qualities does the new search marketer need to possess? A passion for learning is a good place to start – be it new technical skills or creative writing abilities. Either will go far in our revamped search-o-spheres within the worldwide web. However, developing one particular measure of subject matter expertise over another is definitely something every search marketer should consider today. It’s just a matter of which way you want to roll with it.

Pre-Screened Search

The new search marketer understands how screen size influences searchers intent. While mobile optimization and app marketing are hotspots of small-screen search engine marketing activities right now, in the near term we must seek to develop search marketer expertise around other screen sizes, too.

We’re not just talking about YouTube for desktop video search marketing efforts. Netflix search capabilities seamlessly operate as a recommendation engine that puts Amazon’s search functionality to shame. Discovering what we want to watch or purchase next requires different behavioral markers that consequently require different optimization methodologies.

Additionally, optimizing digital content for wearable devices might be a walled garden of interactive functionality right now, but we know that it’s only a matter of time before the smallest screens influence what we find on 4D curved TV screens. Finding content bits mid-stream offers new challenges, as well as opportunities for the new search marketer.

Collaborative Content

The new search marketer recognizes that the conversation influences the community, and vice versa. User-generated content from ratings and reviews were just the tip of the collaborative content creation iceberg, so to speak. Many enterprises remain leery of losing control over brand messaging in social media. The result is that contrived interjections into some social venues can still do more harm than good. When it comes to a big brand’s online reputation, the new search marketer is just getting started.

The new search marketer understands that responsive social marketing is the key to collaborative content creation. One moment’s media bashing can quickly be tamed, if not forgotten, in an internet minute. Another moment’s media darling can crossover to the digital dark side with a single retracted Tweet made in the heat of the moment.

Today’s socially-engaged search marketer understands that conversational messaging must conform to the communities’ standards, not the penchant for due diligence. The difference is that many big brands’ corporate policies forbid such an intimate level of collaborative communication with the general public. The new search marketer knows how to build communities around commonality that big brands crave. The new search marketer understands the thrill of discovering content that merits social sharing.

Integrated Info

The new search marketer grasps that big data is not just a buzzword anymore. Cross-channel measurement might seem like it’s the Holy Grail of actionable insights, but it’s a necessary journey an enterprise needs to take in order to understand which digital content triggers which online behavior, and when.

While demonstrable impacts of social mentions in tandem with mapping engines and locational data points are just beginning to be understood, many enterprises are still working on integrating paid and natural search marketing reports. Purchase timelines have never been more complex.

The new search marketer understands that returns on investments are produced by creating an optimal search experience via divergent digital content, as accessed by a diverse array of devices, at different times, from different locations, and in different languages. Revealing actionable insights from measuring the interactions of online activities is essential for producing search marketing success.

Search has changed

Conventional search engine marketing, for the most part, is a well-established field. In-house expertise is now entrenched in the digital marketing footfalls of corporate policies to help pilot search engine marketing projects through to fruition. When combined with external search agency capabilities, which add dexterous renewable resources to the search engine marketing mix, the two entities help big brands blaze an innovative digital marketing trail through search.

Search has changed. So too has search engine marketing. In these new, more collaborative digital environments – shared by savvy in-house marketers and agency-based subject matter expertise – we are all discovering innovative ways to engage entirely new audiences, while maintaining links to our well-established roots in search.

PJ_ExecPJ Fusco is SEO manager at independent search consultancy Covario.

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