A look at five key areas of building a successful search engine marketing program, and how these steps all connect.
Like all business functions, the time comes when it becomes beneficial in search marketing to move some expertise from an out-sourced third party to in-house, or to build an SEM (define) program from scratch. Search engine marketing is no exception. Bringing SEM in-house should be a question of balance - to what degree can we do this ourselves, and what should best be left to out-sourced specialists? Regardless of whether SEM is done in-house or is out sourced, decision makers must understand the basics so they can make informed decisions on what to look for and how to build an effective SEM team.
Search Engine Marketing From 30,000 Feet
Let's take the bird's eye view of SEM. Five key areas can be taken in-house either in part, or wholly: keyword research, on-page SEO (define), link building, paid search, and social media. Each is inherently interconnected, so it's important to have a grasp of SEM as a whole and how each area interacts with others. At the "Introduction to Search Engine Marketing" session at SES New York this month, I will talk about SEM as a whole, so that attendees know what it takes to run a successful, multifaceted SEM program.
It's important to remember that none of these five areas have simple solutions or are one-time activities. Successful Web sites need to continuously work on each of these areas to stay ahead of the competition. Further, a misstep in any of these areas can be catastrophic, so tread carefully and be well-informed. There is no shortage of examples of social media campaigns gone wrong, or Web sites falling out of the search rankings because of bad SEO practices.
Finally, the First Step
Get informed. Search engine marketing has become such an important part of business that every decision-maker and stakeholder of your Web site should have a solid grasp of the basics. While you don't need to become an expert in any one field, you should be familiar with all five.
Meet Jessica Bowman at SES New York, which takes place March 22-26, 2010, at the Hilton New York. SES and ClickZ are part of Incisive Media.
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Jessica Bowman is the director of SEO for Business.com and an independent consultant. Her background includes managing nine websites, in four languages across North America and Europe, in the competitive travel industry. Best known for being an in-house search marketer, Jessica relishes in the human side of SEO - the art of getting things done within an organization, a challenge for most search marketers.
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