25 Random Things About Search Marketing

If you spend any time on Facebook you’ve no doubt been tagged by the ’25 random things’ game that’s been plaguing the social media-sphere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you either don’t use Facebook or you live in a cave, or both. By the time you read this you will likely know […]

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If you spend any time on Facebook you’ve no doubt been tagged by the ’25 random things’ game that’s been plaguing the social media-sphere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you either don’t use Facebook or you live in a cave, or both. By the time you read this you will likely know more random things about more people than you ever wanted to. So while I’m not posting 25 random things about myself on my Facebook wall, I will take this little corner of the Internet to post 25 random things about search marketing (and a couple about me). Please send your 25 random things to 25 of your closest friends. You’ve been tagged.

  1. When I got into the business in 1999, it wasn’t called search marketing. People just called it “that search engine thing.” One early customer called it “serendipity.” Seriously.
  2. I started out running paid inclusion campaigns for e-tailers. It was fun, and we didn’t really know what we were doing, but we made money for our clients, so they either didn’t care or didn’t notice.
  3. I worked for an SEM agency but we didn’t know we were an SEM agency (see #1).
  4. I’m left-handed.
  5. The name of my first business contact at Inktomi was Tomi.
  6. Paid inclusion used to drive more volume than pay-for-placement.
  7. I bought paid search ads from Google on a CPM basis in 2003.
  8. I forget what eight is for.
  9. I had a boss at an SEM Agency who said to me, and I quote, “I feel this company is ready to take off. And if anybody gets in my way I’ll rip their f—ing throats out.” He wasn’t my boss for very long.
  10. I used to buy Looksmart for all my clients. Once they lost MSN distribution, I stopped.
  11. I once had a client who asked me to do some regression analysis to project what a paid search program would look like if we bid every keyword to position 2. I told him I did some “back of the envelope regression analysis” and it would increase his cost by 50%. He was OK with that.
  12. SEM is an ad buy. SEO is religion.
  13. At my last agency job, where we had big-brand customers, clients were primarily interested in running SEM campaigns that were well-integrated into their broader online and offline marketing programs. They were much less interested in running SEM campaigns that were well optimized.
  14. My favorite thing about paid search is its flexibility. This year we’re optimizing to profit instead of revenue. Just like that.
  15. When I first came to Yahoo!, the first thing I did was audit all the SEM business going on across the company. When I presented my findings to management, I highlighted the SEM programs that posed the greatest risk to the company. Three weeks later I was directly responsible for those very SEM campaigns.
  16. These days you need to find a way to value your SEO traffic, otherwise you risk losing all of your resources.
  17. It’s time to stop doing SEO audits to fix what’s broken, and to focus on building SEO-friendly web assets.
  18. It’s David E Roth, not David Lee Roth.
  19. In 2008, I standardized SEM processes across our company. This involved 4 different functional groups and a dozen properties and it took me 9 months to build the necessary content and sell it across the organization. It was worth it.
  20. Last quarter in annual planning, I did no less than 14 versions of plan across 12 properties.
  21. Yesterday I bought the keyword “zombie zombie zombie.” I lost money.
  22. Watching the Super Bowl, it was interesting to see companies make a more conscious effort to support their ad buys with their web assets.
  23. This year, Coca-Cola finally got their Super Bowl search strategy figured out, and I can no longer use them as fodder for my presentations at industry events. I guess I’ll have to find a new target.
  24. I don’t think too many people are searching for “open happiness,” but I did and I was pleasantly surprised to see the link to Coke’s MyCokeRewards site to go view their Super Bowl ads.
  25. Sammy Hagar sucks.

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About the author

David Roth
Contributor
Dave Roth founded Emergent Digital in order to use digital marketing to make the world a better place. B-Corps, nonprofits, social enterprises, green technologies and educators now benefit from the same strategies that drive billions in profit to the Fortune 500. Roth recently served as Vice President, Marketing at Move, Inc.’s realtor.com. There, he oversaw paid and organic Search, Affiliate, Mobile and Social Marketing for the Company. Prior to his arrival at Move, Dave was Sr. Director of Search and Affiliate Marketing at Yahoo!, Inc.

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