The 2010 In-House SEM To-Do List
While it may feel like 2010 is already whizzing by, now is a good time to take a step back and think about the big to-do list items for in-house search marketers this year. We’ve all got a list of million little search optimizations that need doing, but here are some larger tactics to think about for 2010.
If you aren’t running an active paid search account with Microsoft’s Advertising adCenter, 2010 is the time to start. The latest comScore figures (December 2009) report Bing has now reached over 10% in share, closing in on Yahoo’s 17%. If the two year trend of Bing stealing Yahoo search share continues, expect to see your Yahoo paid search account traffic and conversion volumes decline.
You’ll need to have a marketing strategy to recoup Yahoo paid search losses. Shift some of your time and resources to getting your paid search keywords on Bing to take advantage of the traffic shift. The adCenter desktop tool makes porting over existing accounts and making easy find and replace updates efficient.
In terms of the Microhoo deal, the latest timeline suggests that paid Microsoft/Bing results will being appearing on Yahoo in early 2011 in major markets with the goal of all results by early 2012. While 2011 is still a year away, there’s no time like the present to start preparations for this transition. The announcement of their deal is already six months old, so see how time flies?
Bing’s not going anywhere in 2010, Microsoft will likely continue their advertising push to steal search share, and Yahoo is unlikely to aggressively respond to win significant share back. Coupled with the imminent syndication of Bing results on Yahoo, marketers should start treating Bing as they would Yahoo in terms of search priorities and resources.
Google is the priority
Despite lots of news and noise about Bing and Yahoo, Google is still any search engine marketer’s main priority. Google maintains a commanding share of the search market (65-67% in December 2009) and the market leader position for paid search, so no surprise that the bulk of any paid search marketer’s time should be spent on AdWords, as that’s likely responsible for the majority of search marketing traffic and conversions.
In the flurry of activity around other projects and news, it is always a good idea to remind oneself of that. There’s always more to do with AdWords: test content targeting, placement targeting, sitelinks, target devices like iPhones, creating mobile ads (more on that below), image ads, video ads, and classic strategies like simply testing some new ad text.
Time for mobile?
As more innovative devices (like the Nexus One) hit the market the mobile buzz, and search share, is increasing. Get in on the ground floor by kicking off a mobile search strategy in 2010. For many search engine marketers this might largely consist of lobbying for a mobile friendly version of your organization’s website, or for better reporting and tracking on an existing mobile site.
Marketers lucky enough to have a functional mobile site should start testing mobile paid search campaigns to increase direct traffic. Particularly focus on messaging, a mobile user will likely respond to a different ad text than a user at their computer – a last minute, local emphasis might garner a better response.
If your organization has a mobile application, consider search strategies to promote the application. Maybe a paid search campaign to encourage downloads is worth pursuing. A strong search presence for an application can also boost PR coverage as most reporters and bloggers conduct searches as part of their research.
Work on yourself
Every day, in every way, you are becoming a better search engine marketer. Think about new ways you can add value to your organization’s in-house marketing efforts. Is anyone committed to working on your organization’s social media presence? Becoming the Twitter, Facebook, blogger and all around social media guru is a great way for an in-house search engine marketer to increase their profile and responsibilities. As more Twitter and Facebook links populate the search result pages, this will only help your existing search efforts.
Increase your industry knowledge. Bravo for kicking this one off already by being a reader of Search Engine Land! There are tons of other great search engine resources out there on the web, almost an overwhelming amount. Take some time now to pick a reasonable number of resources that speak to your level of expertise and that you enjoy reading, and add them to your RSS reader or bookmark them to a folder and take a look through them once a week (my favorite Friday lunch or listless afternoon activity.)
Consider participating in an organization like SEMPO or your local digital marketing association to network with your peers. Definitely try to secure budget to attend at least one search engine marketing conference this year. Your greatest asset is your expertise, so kick it up a notch in 2010!
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