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The Business of Search Engine Marketing

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An excellent new book focuses both on tactics as well as the managerial and organizational tasks required for effective large-scale search marketing campaigns.

Most search marketing books I've seen to date are highly tactical tomes, filled with advice on methods, approaches and techniques for achieving search engine success. While most of these books offer useful advice for individuals wanting to hone their search marketing chops, virtually none of them consider search marketing as a team process.

No surprise there—the pioneers in search marketing were individuals and small companies who wore all of the various hats involved in the process. Even today, the largest search marketing firms are tiny by comparison to companies in more established industries.

But search marketing has become more complex, and the skills required for a comprehensive search marketing campaign often transcend the capabilities of single individuals, especially for major campaigns run by large organizations.

Search Engine Marketing, Inc., a new book from Mike Moran and Bill Hunt, addresses the needs of search marketers running large campaigns, and that's what makes the book unique and valuable. Moran and Hunt are responsible for search marketing for one of the largest companies in the world, managing efforts for IBM.com. Their experiences and insights gained from directing search marketing at this global behemoth are infused throughout the book.

Need to assemble and manage a team within your organization to do search marketing? The book shows you how to create a budget, allocate resources and pitch top management to back your efforts. Have a problem with internecine squabbling over turf or performance among different groups in the organization? The book also illustrates management techniques used within IBM itself to get everyone on a large, global team operating from the same playbook.

That's not to say the book isn't useful for individuals wanting to learn more about search marketing—it is. Search Engine Marketing, Inc. is packed with scads of useful tactical information covering all aspects of tuning web sites for search engines and creating effective search advertising campaigns.

The first few chapters offer a basic overview of the fundamentals of search engine marketing. While these chapters are aimed primarily at newcomers to the field, the examples used and some of the market research cited make them a worthwhile read even for experienced search marketers.

There are also a number of chapters that offer step-by-step approaches to crucial activities, such as keyword planning, landing page design, link building and so on. These serve to demystify and objectify activities that many consider to be something of an art.

The book also offers a lot of useful background information not found in similar works. For example, there are sections devoted to understanding searcher behavior, and how best to use persuasion to make your search marketing efforts more effective.

The authors are also well-aware of subtleties that can make or break search marketing efforts. Throughout the book, icons flag sections that deal with two very important concerns: spam and the defacto global implications of search marketing campaigns. Many beginners run into trouble when they push the limits of search engine optimization, often risking spam penalties without even realizing what they're doing. Likewise, the global nature of search marketing has pitfalls that need to be recognized and dealt with.

Skull-and-crossbones icons flag sections where the authors describe techniques that while important for effective rankings can lead to trouble if misused. And globe icons tag content that's especially relevant to international search marketing campaigns. Again, virtually all of this information is drawn from direct experience the authors have had running campaigns in countries throughout the world.

The book also features one of the most comprehensive glossaries of search engine and search marketing terms I've seen, a highly valuable aid for anyone trying to decipher the plentiful jargon you'll invariably encounter as you learn search marketing.

I've just scratched the surface of what's offered in this comprehensive 560 page volume. There's very little in the search marketing arena that the book doesn't touch on in one way or another.

Search Engine Marketing, Inc. sets a new standard for quality in the ever-growing list of books dedicated to a complex and often arcane topic. Regardless of your experience or skill level, you should buy and read this book—and read it again.

An excerpt of chapter one of Search Engine Marketing, Inc. is available online courtesy of WebReference.com.

Search Engine Marketing, Inc.
by Mike Moran and Bill Hunt
IBM Press, $49.99
ISBN: 0-13-185292-2

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