Last week I attending Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago and was blown away by the quality of content and amount of information I was absorbing over a three day period.
After a conversation I shared with Chris Heuer and Matt Murray at Blog World Expo 2010, they discussed the importance of changing verticals aka jumping outside your fishbowl and challenging yourself. The context of the conversation regarded business development opportunities but really, this applies to every aspect of your personal and professional life.
I can say that from the last handful of conferences I’ve attended, Blog World included, I only occasionally hear from speakers that compel me to learn more or continue the conversation after the panel. This is not because I know it all, I don’t, but when you travel in the same circle to the same conferences, exposure to new conversations and industries rarely occur.
I interviewed a speaker at SES Chicago, Gabriel Villablanca, VP of Marketing for Brafton Inc. who shared his insight on why every blogger and business owner should think outside the 'now' and more long term in regards to their search engine strategies.
1. Why should bloggers and/or business owners dedicate more time to a search engine strategy?
Search is the way to be found online. Americans conducted more than 17 billion online searches in September, and more than a third of internet users turn to search engines to learn about products and services. Basically, search is a key stepping point between a website owner and internet users.
2. What would be best "go-to" sources for someone getting their feet wet with SEM/SEO?
There are plenty of online forums where you can learn SEO basics and best practices. SEOmoz, the Search Engine Journal and – of course – Brafton.com, are great starting points.
Newcomers to search marketing should also look carefully at competitors' sites. You can get a feel for the key phrases the competition uses to optimize their sites and learn industry buzzwords that draw relevant traffic to businesses in your field.
Google adWords' Keyword tool is a great resource to find phrases that will help make a site more visible to search engines and more likely to catch clicks from online searchers. Bing has a similar tool you can use to find words to optimize sites or ad campaigns for Microsoft once you set up an AdCenter account.
3. Do you think the average blogger puts thought into optimizing their site for search? Do you have a great example of a blogger doing this effectively?
Savvy search optimization is becoming increasingly mainstream among bloggers. Blogs are being used for marketing purposes by more than a third of companies this year, and nearly half of businesses will blog by 2012.
The blogosphere is getting competitive, so brands that want to be discovered need to optimize their content.
I think a good example of an optimized blog is blog.ice.com. They’re able to blend optimization with brand and produce a blog that attracts their target audience but also engages them and encourages them to interact and come back on a regular basis.
4. Should every company be invested in search marketing? Why or why not?
With more than 200 million U.S. consumers and counting using the internet, there is bound to be an online audience for any business, so yes – every company should get a search marketing strategy in place.
The internet is how people find businesses today. The majority of American consumers start the shopping process online, and nearly one in five begin right at search engines. This means search engines are a more common entry point in the shopping process than visiting retail stores, reading consumer reports or talking to friends and family members about products and services.
If a company doesn't have a site that's optimized for search, it's missing opportunities to connect with potential clients.
A few other sources we thought were worth sharing,
Click Equations Blog – Abundance of free webinars, white papers and videos on Paid Search
Pingdom – Free tools for webmasters
People we met and worth following,
Hat tip to Gabriel at Brafton, a Boston based News Agency providing unique and exclusive content for business and their websites by leveraging the power of breaking news through search engines and social media.
Image Credit: http://www.i-searchmarketing.com/