Book Review: Search Engine Marketing, Inc.

Ten pages shorter than the first edition and accompanied by a two-hour DVD, Mike Moran and Bill Hunt are at it again with their soon-to-be-released second edition of “Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Web Site.”

Driving well-qualified, highly targeted search referred traffic to you company’s Web site isn’t getting any easier. Building successful SEM (define) strategies demands a well-balanced mix of business, writing, and technical skills. Because few people master these three skill sets, the authors strive to help fill the gap with their detailed presentation of what SEMs really need to know in today’s so-called Web 2.0 world.

If you’re looking for shortcuts and tips to help move your company’s Web site to top positions in the search engines, this isn’t the book for you. Moran and Hunt stress that you don’t need “tricks” to build a successful SEM strategy. What you need is methodology and a plan that must be executed flawlessly around your company’s business and online marketing goals. The authors help readers learn what collaborative SEM is all about.

SEM Basics

Foregoing “irrational exuberance,” Moran and Hunt take the reader through the fundamentals, including why search marketing is important and difficult, where searches come from and where they go, and how search engines and search marketing actually works. After walking through the basics of searchers’ learn, shop, buy, and use stages, just about anyone will understand the concept of the users’ needs behind their search queries.

Developing a Search Marketing Program

Focusing on collaborative requirements within an organization, Moran and Hunt stress the importance of building value-driven search marketing processes into an organization. Starting with how to identify a Web site’s goals and how to measure a Web site’s performance against online marketing goals, the author’s deftly take readers through the entire process of defining and selling a search marketing strategy to a broader team, including designers and executives alike.

It’s not easy to start your first search marketing campaign. But with a little information and some structure you can learn how to help your company embrace SEM and bake best practices into your company’s Web site. “Pick something and measure it” might seem like simple advice to tenured search marketers, but these are critical steps that few organizations take when developing their search marketing strategies unless someone helps guide them along the path through the process.

Executing a Search Marketing Program

With numerous methodologies that address each part of the search marketing process, readers learn how to choose and target keywords and phrases, and then optimize the content within their Web sites. From there, the authors address how to attract links and where paid search fits in with an organic search marketing program. Of course, it all starts with getting your site indexed. Successful search marketing is all about executing a plan.

Applying Multimedia and Social Media to Your SEM Strategy

While Moran and Hunt acknowledge that Web 2.0 and social media opportunities aren’t exactly part of SEM, new media can drive traffic to your Web site. Covering blog basics, microblogging, wikis, ratings, reviews, and good old-fashioned message boards, the authors hone in on how user-generated content, images, audio, and video can play a role in viral marketing.

What’s Next for the Search Industry?

With more competitors producing more personalized content using advanced technologies, search marketing won’t get easier anytime soon. With a little help from the authors, you can at the very least embark on building a solid search marketing strategy for your company today and be prepared to sort out how the search industry will change tomorrow.

As with the first edition of the book, Moran and Hunt present a very well-organized and logical walk through the highly complex SEM process. Readers of the first edition will find the same familiar skull and crossbones icon highlighted when the author’s address a line that should be crossed at your own site’s peril. The globe icon is once again used to highlight techniques that are specific to international search marketing campaigns.

If any chapter of the book looks like the “odd man out,” it’s the author’s foray into optimizing your site’s internal search functionality. Internal site search functionality is more about user stickiness and understanding user metrics than natural search marketing.

The second edition of “Search Engine Marketing, Inc.” doesn’t belong on a dusty old shelf. It belongs on your desk or at your work station, just like any other reference manual that you pull open time and time again.

If you pick up the book, get ready to dog-ear and highlight information that is highly pertinent to your company’s SEM initiatives. Be prepared to read and re-read the portions of the book that help you navigate through the ebbing and flowing waters of search. It doesn’t matter if you’re agency or in-house. Moran and Hunt have done it again — they’ve written a must-read guide to strategic search marketing.

Join us for a new Webcast, High-Touch Personalization, The Successful Marketer’s Secret Ingredient, September 29 at 2 p.m. EDT.

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