Danny Sullivan begins to say that his past keynotes were all about telling the audience who owns who and which engine powers which search. But ironically he quickly goes over the "who powers who" diagram.
SEM Threats: - Contextual Pollution; Results only come up for a keyword search I desire. This works differently then viewing ads on a Web page based on browse mode versus "quest mode." Danny said "contextual ads" are not "search". Just because an ad is CPC-based doesn't make it search. Lumping the two together pollutes the data. Are you a performance marketer or a search marketer? Its important to separate these two types of marketing tactics out. One is search and one is contextual. Just because the search engines are providing this technology, doesn't mean they should be looked as - as one. - Agency Money / Branding Buck; There is branding value here based on the GoTo's 2001 study and IAB's study in 2004. He says the pie of a company's marketing budget isn't bigger, but you need to get a larger piece of that pie. The search companies are providing support for this primarily on the PPC (ad side). But SEM is not only ads its also SEO, which is Public Relations. The support on the SEO side is an issue, other then PFI, there is no support.
SEO Lives: - SEO should have died - Google has kept SEO alive and revived it (he notes a thread at WMW that discusses how 3 bots revived SEO. - You can sell ads but people want the PR (SEO) too
He then goes into a case study, a funny example of his 3 and 5 year old boys. His children call flash lights "flash torches" because Danny is American (flash light) and his wife is English (torches). So his kids are not hitting either market with the name "flash torch". So they can buy ads but they get nothing on the SEO side.
What is Needed for SEO Support: Danny basically pulled the info from an SEW thread (t=197); - Algorithm shift warning - More authoritative info - Express Spam Report - Public spam reporting and checking - Paid support program - Search query stats - Complete crawls - Partnership in attitude on both ad and free side - Commissions? Protection from direct sales? Certification?
What's the incentive for search engines to do this? - Helping to win the ad spend but can't be ad-only shop - It's not exactly like newspapers. You do need PR support and can do it without violating the church/state divide.
SEM Reputation Problem? To get more support, we need to deal with the reputation problem in our industry (reference the SEW thread in the forums). He also quotes the marketing guru, Seth's blog entry. He pleads that SEO is not a black art. He discusses the SEO contest and how link bombing worked. The customers when shopping for an SEM firm are afraid. Fast Company releases an article about the Google Dance 2003 with the title "Shmoozing with the Enemy."
He goes through some spam examples on the Web, with tons of links at the footers of pages. The search example was "san jose radio flyer" in Google. Then he did the same search in Ask Jeeves. The text is not hidden, but pages are filled with text that mean nothing to the searcher.
He says there are good SEM firms and good stories.
What do customers want? - Traffic that converts (not just top rankings), check references - Not to be scammed (maybe someone should start a public forum telling people about these companies) - Not to be banned
Solution: - Code of Conduct? "I will do nothing to harm search engine relevancy" but this is all very subjective. - Enforcement/Review > seopros.org > seoconsultants.com > any standards are open to debate
One thing Danny thinks will help is if the search engines themsevles get involved. - We need something, not sure what. - Search engine involvement in proactive way would greatly help (goes both ways) - Will it lock some out? Some people will be locked out but they will have to deal with it. Its not just a white hat versus black hat. He said there is a lot of gray in the industry, because its a very complicated area. I wonder if the audience understood "White versus Black"
He now gives the audience a peep talk about all we have done. SES will be giving out marketing awards in the future to reward us.
Forum coverage at Search Engine Watch.