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Search marketing becomes specialized

When Carol Krol of BtoB Magazine interviewed me the other day for a story on how search marketing is becoming its own specialty, it rang true to me. Carol’s premise, supported by several interviews in her article, is that search marketing started as a sideline for most of us, on top of our other work, but now many are full-time search marketers. I am definitely seeing this trend, but I think it is just the beginning.


As search marketing matures as a profession, I expect you’ll see even greater specialization. After all, how often do you find someone facile enough with language to write good searchable copy, but also be fluent enough with numbers to analyze Web metrics? Not very often.
So why do we expect that we’ll find someone like that to be our “jack-of-all trades” search marketer? In truth, we expect this because we can only afford one person for the job—we’re actually thrilled that it is anyone’s full-time job, as Carol points out. But as search marketing becomes more and more important, you’ll increasingly find two- or three-person teams within companies. When that happens, expect them to be specialized. You might get a words person and a numbers person. Or a tech type and a marketing type. Or an organic specialist and a paid search expert.
Regardless, not only is search marketing its own full-fledged specialty today, but it will become even more fragmented in the future. Don’t be surprised if you fast forward a few years and find that today’s search marketing specialist has been replaced by even more specialized personnel. So, would you prefer to be a keyword analyst or a spider specialist? Someday you might get to choose.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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