What does the Future of SEM behold? This session delves into where SEO/SEM professionals feel SEM will be beyond 2004.
Fredrick Marckini, CEO and Founder, iProspect was up first. He sais this is the year of the Paid Search Marketing. 2004 will be defined by PPC, PFI, SEO, Analytics, Conversion Enhancements (this should go in reverse order of importance by this he means start with Conversion Enhancements, then Analytics, etc.). Paid Inclusion is going to increase in all fashions including specialized feeds in terms of PR and news related items. PPC expectations will continue to evolve, for example 1996-2000 SEO was it, 2001- 2002 SEO+ Metrics, 2003 SEO + PFI + Metrics, 2004 PPC + Inclusion + SEO + Analytics are all now expected. SEM firms will all be building or choosing a PPC bid management tool. Campaign Optimization: (1) Traffic Optimization, (2) Scenario Optimization, optimize based on Web logs. SEM is here to stay and will not be going away.
Cheryle Pingel, Chairman & Co-Founder, Range Online Media feels the future is that there is more money available. They no longer have to say I am spending X for get Y. They are now saying I can spend X but the return is beyond conversion numbers. Now you are seeing a niche within this niche of Search Engine Marketing. For example, just local search will hit 2.8 billion dollars within the SEM market. SEM was a niche of Marketing, she feels its amazing.
Andrew Goodman, Principal, Page Zero Media Inc. For the immediate future, it comes down to 3 principles (1) better targeting, (2) non intrusive advertising method, and (3) control of the details on how they run their campaigns. Advertisers want more distribution. Consolidation of the industry versus innovation (convenience is going to be more important - feature sets will be removed). You will see better customer service from your PPC representatives.
Michael Sack, SVP and Chief Product Officer, Inceptor, Inc. He believes that advertisers desires this year will affect SEM. SEM industry will also be changed by technology, for example RSS, embedded contextual links. Also market behavior and response will make an impact on this industry. Currently, the big guys compete directly with the mom and pop shops. Expect the big guys to completely knock off the little guys like they do on TV. Think about natural language and speech technology - as to how they will apply to search. SEMs will need to learn how to control the users click-paths. Figuring out how to connect online and offline marketing and transactions.
Jill Whalen, Owner, HighRankings.com talks on the future of SEM. Jill is going to look at it from the tactical SEO perspective. Jill said SEO tricks are on the way out this year. SEO is not just about page optimization or link building, its going to me also about conversion rates. Jill feels that its not going to be all about paid search, there is plenty of room in organic results. She said about a month ago you saw in Google that you saw a lot of directory information on left and paid on the right. She said if you can get that right, then you might see more of that. Partnerships will be huge for the small SEOs.
Q & A component: