Search Marketing "Resolutions" for 2008, Part 2

We're just a few weeks into 2008 now, which means there's still time to make a New Year's resolution. I asked around to some search marketing and social media marketing friends, and got quite a range of responses. So many, that I'll be sharing them in two parts. Yesterday, we ran part one, and today we share even more search marketing resolutions.

If you want to share your own resolutions, or discuss any of the ones shared here, feel free to join the conversation in the SEW Forums.

Q: What are your "New Year's resolutions" for search? What are your top priorities for things to address, things to change, or things to plan for in 2008?

Deborah Richman, SVP of marketing & business development at Collarity

If I'm thinking about search overall:

  • I'd like to make the searching process more convenient, and not just from Google/Yahoo/MSN gateways. Instead, I'd like to see search truly integrated in sites where people spend most of their web time, like social sites, blogs and large hubs.
  • I'd like to see search shift from linear to non-linear uses, because a lot of content discovery gets lost when you are only conducting a search. Instead, there could be more appropriate "personalized" suggestions or other ways to "push" while searching or navigating online.
  • I'd like to see the same model for relevancy drive both search results and search ads.

If I'm a web publisher:

  • To make my site search work, because I know that I'm losing page views without it.
  • To figure out how to make more money on my pages, from contextual text ads or other sources (without getting ripped off by my agency).
  • To figure out how to drive any substantial traffic from the social networks.

Fionn Downhill, president of Elixir Systems

1. I am going to expand my company by 50% in revenue this year.

2. I am going to look very closely at my networking and watch closely what I get for my time towards my business goals rather than jumping into opportunities that do not turn out to be opportunities at all but burn precious time.

Frank Watson, director of SEM and co-founder of Kangamurra Media

To start using the social media more. It needs to be organized as something done regularly for blog stories and new site articles. Put some time aside to increase negative keywords in PPC for all engines I use (I do it now but think there is more if I had time to drill deeper into the log files and search results)

Greg Meyers, director of search marketing at Commerce360

My top priority for 2008 for all of my search clients is to maximize exposure on both the search and especially the Google Content Network. I have been testing specific campaigns in the content network for my clients in the "highly seasonal" 4th quarter and I have seen some promising results.

For example, the cost per order was much less as compared to the search network. Of course, with Google enhancing this network and providing its users with new strategies on how to get the best results out of it, I feel this is a definite possibility as part of a PPC strategy again. Only problem is that I have tracking and reporting issues with some third party analytics tools.

Gregg Stewart, senior VP at TMP Directional Marketing

Training is my top priority – both for our employees and the clients we work with. Given the rapid change of our industry, training and communication are our greatest opportunity areas.

Jeff Pruitt, EVP of corporate partnerships at iCrossing

I want to ensure that iCrossing is directly tied to the continuous stream of ad platform innovations being rolled out by the search engines. It is a top priority for us to be lock-step with the engines so we will have the ability to manage new media in an action-based format for our clients. For planning, a top priority is continuing to conduct the full market analyses of our client's consumers to deploy comprehensive strategies across all forms of content (e.g. video, news, mobile, etc.).

Jody Nimetz, senior organic marketing strategist at Enquiro Search Solutions

We will be focusing on more universal search and blended search optimization to start off 2008. This will include image optimization and video optimization, as we are expecting to see the major search engines display more blended results within their main results.

In 2008, we want to look at more overall strategy as opposed to tactics, as we feel this is lacking with many online strategies. Most SEOs and agencies tend to focus mainly on tactics. We will continue to focus on developing online strategies that may consist of tactics, but will also focus on integration of offline marketing efforts and long-term strategy for achieving online success.

Another area that I would like to address in 2008 is ensuring that the importance of SEO fundamentals is understood by webmasters and site owners who are looking to have online success. I am finding that many site owners and the like tend to overlook SEO fundamentals such as proper URL structure, meta data optimization, on-page optimization, site inter-linking and building external link inventories. They tend to jump on the bandwagon with Web 2.0... social media marketing etc without addressing the fundamentals of ensuring that their site is search engine friendly.

One of the biggest items that we would like to further address is the development of B2B-specific search strategies. We would like to see some of the major industry conference have more session on B2B-specific strategy as opposed to general tactics. We would love to see more business to business discussion and strategy as it pertains to online.

Joshua Palau, group director of search at Avenue A | Razorfish

Top priorities:

  • Pushing clients harder to implement – if search is important then SEO is important so let's make this year one where we don't have excuses as to why sites are not optimized.
  • Help clients make sense out of social media and where it does and doesn't belong.
  • Continuing my "Search is Search" philosophy of making sure clients treat paid and organic as one search tactic and not separate ones.

Kevin Lee, executive chairman and co-founder of Didit

I resolve to redouble my efforts to promote the value of search to marketers at senior levels. Search is great at direct response advertising, but it accomplishes so much more but rarely gets the credit. In addition, I will be working with my technology team to further advance our campaign management technology allowing us to extract even more profit from all auction-based media in conjunction, including contextual and behavioral keyword targeted media as well as display.

Matt Naeger, VP and general counsel at Impaqt

We'd like to continue to pilot how things are done including bringing search to the forefront of the overall media mix. We have addressed and will continue to address the relationship between offline sales and online click-throughs and hope to build management tools to include both search and non search activities. Additionally, we'd like to create a standard measurement for the industry for the evaluation of the value of a search impression {Gross Ratings Point}.

Matt Stoddart, EVP sales at LinkWorth

I think 2008 will be a huge year for search and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store. My only "resolution" would be that I want to get more involved with mobile search. (That probably starts with getting a phone with better search functionality than I've got right now!) Not only am I interested in identifying opportunities for LinkWorth in this space, but I'm also keen on adding value to a mobile search user's experience on our site, whatever that may end up being, I don't know. That's what '08 is for!

From a priorities standpoint, there's one thing I'd like to see put to rest: the paid links debate. Good God Almighty I'm so tired of this one! Honestly, I feel Google is to blame because of their threats and inconsistent actions against them. I don't hear Yahoo or MSN making a bunch of noise about it, do you? Hey Google: tweak your algo or do a better job manually...but either way please just shut up! Be consistent in your penalties and I'm cool...if you're not, that's totally lame.

Philip Stelter, director of business development at Range Online Media

To be as efficient as possible on campaigns, conversion optimization will allow marketers to create a better interaction with users on their sites. Some of those interactions are part of the composition of quality score and improving the users' experiences may lower CPCs as a result. Increased focus of search marketers on site usability, multivariate testing and conversion optimization will become a standard practice for marketers in competitive verticals rather than the advantageous exception it has been.

Robert Murray, president of iProspect

If one thing is clear, it's that online media continues to evolve. Given that, marketers need solutions to manage these digital assets. Our focus for 2008 will involve further development of performance-based asset management tools for an ever-expanding portfolio of online media, including PPC, paid inclusion, image and video ads, among other assets.

Russell C. Horowitz, chairman and CEO of Marchex

Throughout 2008, those of us involved in any form of search need to truly keep the consumer in mind first and foremost in all that we do: So much emphasis has been placed in recent years on search marketing and advertising that we all need to remember that if the consumer is not getting what he or she wants from the actual search experience itself, any related form of advertising loses its power and relevance.

As an industry, we need to continue simplifying the search process, especially in local, by deploying refinements and other useful tactics to provide a relevant and actionable set of results that are specific to the context of each particular consumer. When you are looking to make a local buying decision, you usually don't need 10,000 results, but just a few truly relevant and useful results based on exactly what you need. Also, what consumers want in a local search is indeed different from what they expect in a broader search, so we as an industry need to keep this in mind for 2008 and beyond.

Sage Lewis, president of SageRock

My resolution is to get our clients thinking about link campaigns that starts with content; to think about what makes them link-worthy.

Simon Heseltine, director of search at Serengeti Communications

New Years Day 2008 was actually a big day for my company, as we rebranded to Serengeti Communications from RedBoots Consulting, so there are a lot of things that we're looking to do this year that are different over previous years, new offerings, new directions, etc. But in general, I would say that my main resolution would be to not neglect my own blog, which typically ended up being pushed aside when higher priority items came up. I need to do more pre-blogging, having a 2 week buffer of posts that will give me breathing room for when I need it, because I most assuredly will.

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