Search Engine Marketing 2009?

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2009 search engine marketing2008 is coming to a close, and you may have embarked on your first, well-overdue, search engine optimization (SEO) project for your business. Many steps were likely taken in your SEO project through the discovery phase of assessing how friendly your website architecture is for search, keyword discovery around your industry/market/brand/product/competitors, research where your visitors hang out online, the physical optimization and improvements to your site, etc. Now that your website is SEO’d for Google and others, what’s next?

You’ve laid a solid framework for your website and search, the fun now begins with the multitude of search marketing strategies to increase and saturate search engine positioning with Google, and watch the increases in search traffic to your site. Let’s call this your phase II search strategy, which we’ll get into a bit later.

2009 will likely see Google capitalize more online market share (already at +80%), which will place more emphasis on the search channel in your marketing, and improving existing strategies to milk Google for all its worth. Let’s not forgot those other two– Microsoft and Yahoo. Will they merge, or will Yahoo survive. Either way, any new partners or alliances between these two will create an impact in your search marketing.

How is your internet marketing or search marketing budgets for 2009? Yes, we’re not all oblivious to the recession were in, but with search as a ~$10 billion dollar industry this year (2008), and an average growth rate still climbing, we may not see too much of a pull back in search marketing budgets. Besides, consider the operating overhead on search, it’s mostly people resources and knowledge you’re investing in. Businesses will still need to invest in their people if they want to remain or achieve a competitive edge over the competition….those guys positioned 1 or 2 positions above or below your Google search position(s).

2009 will see great things during a recessional time. Primarily more attention will be placed on corporate focus for payback on performance as companies tighten their wallets during the tough times ahead. I believe this will truly make some web marketing channels shine in 2009 as search marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing and online advertising are some of the few marketing mediums for businesses today to quantify their spends with real-time metrics, results and ROI.

If I had to place a bet in Vegas, I would throw it down on search and email marketing. Email, simply for the fact it’s a silent platinum bullet finally getting the respect it deserves as more companies realize how much $$ have been left on the table with all their active and historical communications. Let’s not forgot that email accounts are one of the first places people go to when the online. Attaining a strong inbox delivery of your business emails to customer accounts to create that bridge or doorway back to your website will be critical…..among a few other reasons.

Search – as Google grows market share, and more businesses stressing cost-efficiencies will need to squeeze performance from the tangible, profitable and measurable strategies, such as search. We may see overall search marketing budgets increase slightly, or percolate at their current levels, but definitely more focus will be placed on taking the search engine marketing strategy to the next level.

Investments into search marketing also need to consider the temporary lifetime value it offers. I say temporary, because you never know what type of dance moves Google will do next to shuffle the search results, but the long term affect of a strong, organic search marketing strategy, will pay its dividends year after year.

Assuming your have a solid search engine optimized (SEO) website, any phase II search strategies you develop in 2009 should support any ongoing organic optimization initiatives. Such initiatives should show your boss, the quantifiable impact organic SEO has on website traffic and sales, allowing him to make those data-driven decisions where to invest his dollars for the next upcoming budget. During recessional periods, tangible results get results.

And less we not forgot our mobile users of search – those people who will be receiving a new iPhone or Blackberry Storm under the Christmas tree this year. Opus Research reports that 26 percent of mobile phone users access the Internet on their mobile devices, and of those, 56 percent use search. With the recent launch of the iPhone, Blackberry Storm, and Google’s own mobile platform, we should expect to see these grow in this area over 2009 / 2010.

Ensure universal search engine optimization will be on the table in the search strategy conversations you have in the new year, and ensuring that whatever SEO and search strategy is deployed, will talk friendly to both PC search and mobile search….and let’s not forgot console search (Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, etc.). Surprisingly, we found clients getting traffic from these gaming consoles – and the client is an industrial, equipment manufacturer.

This should give you some thought when mapping out your 2009 search marketing strategy. Giving consideration to all digital assets available today, along with an orchestrated effort of saturating search results through news feeds, blogs, video, audio and even image search, will ensure you have a blended global holistic view of your search marketing.

All are a sum of the whole, and should compliment your entire internet marketing plan for 2009.


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