last year buying links worked, now Google penalizes when they know a site is buying links (and
they have asked people to report it).
Don’t get so busy that you don’t have time to stay abreast of the industry happenings and continu-
ously expand your knowledge. I now have the expectation that I will spend two hours a day read-
ing about the industry — while no one else on my in-house team spends this much time, your most
senior search marketer should.
Jerri: What changes do you see coming that will affect the way organizations use search
marketing in the future?
Brand Protection and Management. Search engines are where people go for information
about a company, product, service, or an answer to their question. They use search engines
like a question-and-answer machine. Search engines display a wide variety of sources of
information for users, some of it favorable, and some of it unfavorable. In coming years
companies (e.g., PR departments) will finally catch on that there are things you can do to
influence the search results just as there are things you can do to influence the media in
the offline world. You just go about it in a completely different manner, but the goal and
results are similar.
Videos. Google now displays highly relevant videos in their regular search results. This
means that companies have the opportunity to have a video in front of Google users, dis-
played as an image — a rare and highly valuable commodity in the Google SERPs. It’s an
eye grabber and will give your company far more visibility than any other company on the
search results page — even if you aren’t listed in position one. We are already starting to see
search marketers dabble in videos more than ever before. In the next few years companies
will get more involved, offering useful interviews, how-tos, and entertaining videos for their
target audiences. The risk for the late adopters is that by the time they join the online video
market, online videos will be quite mature and there will be little room for error without
receiving public criticism. The benefit of being an early adopter is that everyone is still try-
ing to figure out what is successful; therefore errors are more acceptable.
Jerri: What kind of changes will these trends require for in-house search marketing?
They need to adopt and get involved in new media — social media and online videos for
sites like YouTube.com.
I t’s funny, back in the early days of SEO large companies weren’t on the bandwagon and small busi-
nesses could easily overtake larger businesses in the search results. Now larger companies have caught
on, and it’s now more difficult for the smaller businesses to outrank larger businesses for many search
terms. Social media today is like SEO in the early days — large companies aren’t on the bandwagon.
There are far more risks and challenges that prevent big companies from going in this direction. For
large companies, doing nothing seems like less of a risk than diving in and risking a backfire or no
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