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In search marketing, focus on what’s important

Search marketing seems like it changes every minute, and it’s hard to blame anyone who is worried about falling behind. With big news such as Google Instant seemingly coming every instant, anyone might be concerned that their SEO knowledge is becoming outdated and that their search rankings will be the next thing to drop. I got a Facebook message from someone the other day in just such a predicament and I decided to share my answer to him with you all.

Changed Priorities Ahead

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Quick question. I hope you can help me. With so much change from Google in the recent months and weekly algorithm changes I am sure to come… and so much info in the blogosphere… I am wondering… what is the best way to keep up with it all? I have both your SEO books… first and second editions. If I stayed focused with all that you teach in the books and not pay attention to all the info out there… will I still be OK and ranking organically? Thanks Mike!

Well, Larry, no one can guarantee that you’ll be OK no matter what you do. But I am sure that you do not need to keep up with every algorithm change to succeed in organic search marketing.

There are some people who can follow every twist and turn of Google’s algorithm (and Bing’s too, for that matter), but if that describes you, then why are you reading my blog? No, my readers need advice that won’t change next week, which is what I give you.

The basics of search marketing don’t change:

  • You must know what searchers are looking for. Every keyword they use, every piece of content, they’ll be watching you. Or they won’t. It all depends on whether you know what they want.
  • You must have a better answer than other people do. If you’ve really got a good answer for their question—better than what almost everyone else has, then you’ll be found. If not, not.
  • You must be able to sell something related to the answer. Sometimes, that’s easy because they are searching for the exact thing that you make. But other times, they are looking for the solution to a problem, so you need to sell what solves it for them.

In many ways, search marketing is much more complicated than that. (Hey, Bill Hunt and I wrote a 600-page book on it, so it better be.) But in some ways, it is just that simple. Keep your eye on what’s important and ignore the rest. Sure, sometimes you might feel like others are gaming the system, but most of the time it works out in the long run. Best of luck to you.

I’m focusing on what’s important, too. I have been threatening to write my third book for two years but I haven’t had the time. So I am taking most of next week off to take another chunk out of that effort. I am staying off Twitter and not posting to my blog either. I’ll see you again on October 25. You, my readers, are very important to me, but when I need to focus on something, sometimes I need to take a break from social media for a while. I believe that I come back fresher, with more ideas when I do that. Thanks for understanding.

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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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