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Search Engine Marketing in 2010

Part of what makes search engine marketing such a unique and interesting industry is that it’s constantly evolving. That being said, 2010 will be no different.

Here is what the team from Amplify Interactive thinks will happen with SEM in 2010:

Ben

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon here and just say the words “social media” – everyone is in a frenzy about this, and I think it’s valuable and a must-do – but replacing search? You’re crazy. The current state of social media marketing reminds me of when search started to gain widespread acceptance – marketers are just frazzled with trying to figure out what they should be doing.  That being said:

  1. Definitely more convergence of search & social. Search engines will continue to work on ways to incorporate signals from social media. And this is badly needed – harnessing real time data from twitter & facebook status updates is a pretty great way to catch ‘breaking’ news. However – I think it’s ludicrous to assume that social can or will handle the same functions that search can. Yes – you can find a brand and interact with them. Hell, you can even ask your friends/followers for recommendations or help with a problem – is this the same as search? No.
  2. Continued emergence of Bing and hopefully some improvements to their algorithm. Assuming this Yahoo/Bing deal goes through, the search engine space will get a lot more interesting.
  3. More emergence of vertical search. Whether Google starts to incorporate tabs for travel, restaurants, etc, or whether Google “killer-ettes” (Danny Sullivan’s term) continue to emerge and serve a specific market much better than Google does (like urbanspoon) – I think we’ll all be better off…. please don’t let Google acquire you.
  4. On my wishlist?: Bing, Yahoo & Facebook need to step up their game for making their advertiser interface better and easier to use. Also – more editor tools for Mac users please.
  5. Another wish list item: Better education and understanding and acceptance of content as a driver for search and social.
  6. Another wish list item: Better understanding of Web analytics and what measurements matter to you… and how to act on the right KPIs. If I hear “our hits are down” one more time…

Blu

In 2010 I do not see a whole lot changing as far as search engines adjusting their algorithms however I do foresee a continued push for companies and individuals to own more of a share of their targeted results through interactive media, social media and content syndication. These days search is so much more than simply optimizing a website or managing bids, it is migrating so that search marketers need to effectively be able to setup and manage multiple third party platforms to achieve their goals.

Christian

I think there will be even more of a convergence between social media and SEO. After all, the goal of having an optimized website is getting found by your ideal customer… this will be the same objective for social media as well (without being too pushy). While it definitely is now, it’ll be more of a focal point for search engine marketers in 2010.

I also believe more and more websites will be “doing the right thing” (i.e. be optimized for their specific target audience) which will only make it even more important to continue creating optimized content to have a dynamic and organic website. More competition is fine if you’re on top of optimized content creation.

And lastly, online reputation monitoring will be even more needed in 2010, as social review websites, Twitter, Facebook and more continue to harvest conversations about you and your brand. If you pretend that the conversations aren’t happening and do not address them head-on, then you’ll be missing out on making relationships with the main “influencers” for your brand and identity.

Spencer

Considering SEO and SEM are dead, Team Amplify must be zombies because we are still around. This makes trends 1,2, and 3….BRAINS!

Seriously though, while staying away from mobile and local search (which are increasingly becoming one in the same), and staring deep into my crystal ball these are my predictions for SEM 2010:

1.) Rise of interactive advertising for streaming web-based content: Perhaps this is more of 2011-12 prediction, but the recent deal struck between Comcast and NBC Universal’s parent company General Electric shows that high quality entertainment is continuing its migration to web. Contrary to what disgruntled Comcast customers may think, Comcast is not stupid. Comcast sees a vast arena to market products through interactive advertising via the web content, whether they are saying it or not.

Just imagine you are watching a live streaming game (using Comcast’s high speed service) on ESPN360, and during the scheduled commercial break, a Nike ad appears. An ad serving system, or Nike’s media buyer, recognizes that you would probably be more receptive to this ad since you are already watching a sporting event. Sounds like TV right? Wait though, at the end of the ad, you as an engaged audience member are given the option to buy it from, say, Zappos, Foot Locker or Nike themselves without having to leave your seat. The best part is, for Nike or its retail partner it is measurable, highly targeted, efficient and featured along side high quality entertainment that has helped sell products for years. This is a very basic example, as product placements, and promotional tie-ins make possibilities endless. Combine these benefits with localized advertising results for big-ticket items such as cars or dishwashers this could be a match made in e-commerce heaven.

Comcast is already the only major cable television and high speed internet provider in many large markets. It has the customer base and infrastructure through these channels to deliver content, now their own, with targeted spots on a customer to customer basis.  They can now charge for the content, and possibly charge on a CPC or CPA basis for its advertisers to get interactive. Get ready for it.

2.) Social Media aggregation: I highlighted this in a recent interview I did for my friends at Idea Mensch, and I stole it from the very bright Jeremiah Owyang. The jist of it is for even web savvy people it is difficult to maintain more than 3 three social media profiles, and for businesses it is even more difficult. What aggregation gives users and businesses (especially) is a one-stop shop to manage all of their social media profiles, no matter how niche the segment is. Scaling social media is difficult, and aggregation is the first of many steps in solving this scaling dilemma.

3.) Amplify Interactive kicking ass and taking names: Because that’s what we do around here.

Check with me around this time next year, and tell me how foolish I was, but rest assured number 3 is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Care to share what you think how SEM will evolve in 2010? Feel free to leave us a comment!

About Christian Bullock