“I want search marketing, not metrics”

Most of you know that I do a lot of teaching and speaking on the subject of search marketing, and that my approach is not what people expect. Yes, I know all the dials to turn and levers to pull. I can talk about robots.txt and Max CPC and latent semantic indexing and blah blah blah. But, honestly, it’s not what most people need to know. The problem I sometimes find is that when you tell people what they need to know, they think it’s not what they need.


She came up to me after I spoke and was quite clear: “I really came here to learn about search marketing, not metrics—none of this marketing metrics stuff applies to me.”
I tried to be gracious about her point of view (“the customer is always right, the customers is always right…”) but she’s just not right. Search marketing is more about marketing than search.
If you don’t know what your conversions are or you don’t know what they are worth, or you don’t know your conversion rate, then how do you know what it is worth to get a new visitor to come to your site? And if you don’t know what each new visitor is worth, then how do you know what to spend on search marketing?
And if you don’t know how well you are doing in search, or you can’t peg each change in your approach to a change in response, then how do you know when you’ve plateaued? How do you know when you’ve done enough search marketing and you ought to turn your attention to something with more potential?
To me that is the problem with dealing with search in a vacuum instead of search as an integrated part of your marketing metrics. When you know the business value of what you are achieving, then you know how much to do and when to stop and do something else. Without that, you are in an endless spin of tweaking ad copy and optimizing titles and on and on—when all the while you may have reached diminishing returns and need to spend your time and money elsewhere for a while.
If you say to yourself that you are working on search optimization because you believe it will make you money, that’s not a business, that’s a religion. Instead, put search on the same footing as every other business decision and optimize your business instead of your search campaign.

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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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