Voice Your Opinion: The SEMPO Survey

This week, I was late getting to the polls to vote in the midterm elections, arriving just 20 minutes before the polls closed. I was pleased to find no lines but worried voter apathy was high. As the poll workers used their printed voting roll books to find my name, I could see at least half the names had signatures next to them, indicating those individuals had already made their voices heard.

I’m hoping the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) survey gets a similarly high participation rate and positive reception from advertisers and agencies. You have an opportunity every year to have your voices heard by the search engines through the SEMPO State of the Market Survey. Taking the survey as an advertiser or agency helps SEMPO’s research committee understand the issues you find most pressing. Sharing your opinions, preferences, and concerns through a structured survey lets SEMPO tell the search engines how they can best improve. The search engines are all supporters of SEMPO and this research. You may even get an e-mail from one or more search engines asking you to participate.

In exchange for about 20 minutes of your time to fill out the survey, you’ll get much more than an opportunity to make your voice heard. This year, one survey participant will win a free conference pass to any upcoming Search Engine Strategies Conference. In addition, everyone who completes the full survey will receive the preliminary results and analysis. This puts you in the know faster, before the results are publicly released.

You’ll have an opportunity to voice your opinion and preferences about several key issues facing the industry, including:

  • Keyword pricing. Are keywords getting too expensive? Will you be spending more over the next year?

  • Trademark use. How do you use trademarks in your search campaigns?
  • Click fraud. There’s an entire section dealing with this issue. The industry and the search engines want to know how you feel about this important issue, which has gotten tremendous press visibility this year. If you have a special interest in the click fraud and click quality issues, consider participating in the SEMPO-supported Click Fraud Study.
  • Better targeting. Keywords are only one way of targeting. Share your attitudes about additional targeting options.
  • Success metrics for search. What makes a successful SEM (define) campaign?
  • Local search. How do you use local search? Clearly, local search is heating up, but the industry wants to know your plans and preferences.
  • Paid inclusion. Yahoo may be the only one of the big three engines offering paid inclusion, but all the industry players want to know how marketers are using it and how budgets are allocated.
  • Technology. It’s increasingly difficult to manage complex PPC (define) search campaigns without technological assistance. The survey has a whole section covering technology use.
  • In-house vs. outsourced. Paid and organic SEO (define) activities are often accomplished in house. Other portions are outsourced. The survey tracks these trends over time.
  • Organic SEO. Though this column is about paid search, the survey is comprehensive and covers both paid and organic SEM. Of particular interest is how budgets and resources are allocated between organic and paid search.

Be sure to check out the results from prior SEMPO State of Search Engine Marketing Surveys. The 2004 and 2005 survey results are available for download via PDF on the SEMPO site.

The simple process of taking the survey and the questions asked will force you to think about the above issues, particularly budget allocation and resource allocation. By thinking about these issues, you may rethink some of the assumptions you currently have about best practices. That process in itself is valuable.

The more marketers and advertiser who complete the SEMPO survey, the more valuable the survey results will be to the industry and to all those who participate. So, please take a moment to forward either this ClickZ column or the included survey link to your friends at other companies. And take the survey today!

Join us for Search Engine Strategies in Chicago, December 4-7, at the Hilton Chicago.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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