I think that’s the key. A lot of companies like the concept of SEO, but they don’t have the infra-
structure to support it and it fizzles out over time. You have to have a unique approach with every
company or client to see phenomenal success. Some will do better with a certain strategy than others,
since certain target markets just aren’t going to be receptive to different techniques. It’s a matter of
understanding your customers — how they search and how they think, what words do they use
when they search? What phase of the buying or information gathering cycle are they in when they
get to your site? And once you understand the customer, it’s much easier to reach them.
Jerri: What kind of changes to you think that social media are going to have on SEO?
With recent updates on Google and Ask, I think it’s more apparent than ever before that
certain industries need to make a concerted effort to be everywhere! This means developing videos,
blogs, generating news articles, and having a presence on social networks. When we talk about
social media, most people think about MySpace and Facebook, but there are hundreds of specific
niche networks that are worth marketers’ attention. For example, Cafe Mom and Stylehive are ter-
rific networks for the beauty and fashion industry. Would you rather spend thousands on poorly
targeted MySpace ads or hundreds on a highly targeted presence that will generate much greater
If marketers can start a conversation on those networks, beyond ads, the return is even greater.
They will naturally build a following, which will in turn produce qualified backlinks and content.
The SEO implications are huge if social media campaigns can be successfully implemented and
Jerri: How important do you think that vertical markets will be in the future?
I don’t see them going anywhere if that’s what you mean. Verticals offer a more targeted
method of finding information. So I think people will use them, and they will continue to grow. I
know that Google is trying to organize all of the world’s information, but ultimately, if users can
narrow their search right from the start, they will, and verticals make that possible.
A quick side note, Google’s reliance on backlinks for rankings limits them when it comes to highly
relevant, recent web content. The universal search update should allow for postings of recent news
and blog articles, but if I’m looking for something specific that’s just a few weeks old, more often
than not I have to resort to creative search behavior or verticals to find the information. So, until
Google or the other engines can account for new content, I see verticals maintaining or increasing
Jerri: What other trends do you think will affect SEO over the next 18–24 months?
I’m a little concerned about personalized search but not immensely so. I think it’s still in
its infancy and the search engines are dabbling in it to see what they can do. It’s a little disconcert-
ing as a marketer, because I can’t tell how the search results differ for a user in Montpelier, Vermont,
versus San Jose, California, or even in my own city if they have radically different search behavior
from other users. From an SEO standpoint, you can’t tell where traffic comes from and how it reaches
you, which makes it difficult to track changes. I’m all about the numbers and if I can’t see the numbers
I feel like I’m flying blind, which is never a good thing.
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