One of the things that frustrates me most about the online marketing world is the lack of strategic thinking from search engine marketers. A number of search engine marketers continue to focus on tactics and fail to look at the “big picture”. There has been great debate over whether online marketing is an art or a science. I’m beginning to wonder… I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by some pretty great thought leaders, but it becomes frustrating when conversing with others in the industry about personalization, usability, universal search or the like. Where are all of the thought leaders out there?
So just how do we define a strategic search engine marketer anyway? More importantly, how does a search engine marketer become a strategic thought leader? Here are seven keys to strategic SEM Thinking.
7 Keys to Strategic SEM Thinking
- Challenge the Status Quo – Look to push the envelope. While you may currently experience success, don’t rest on your laurels. Link building and on-page site optimization will only get you so far. Strategic search engine marketers tend to take risks and welcome change.
- Understand the Power of Change – The only constant in the search industry is that change is inevitable. Looking towards the future and knowing that rapid change is to be expected can help you plan your online strategy. Strategic thought leaders in any industry are those who embrace change and are willing to go that extra mile to generate positive return. To be a successful strategic search marketer you need to be able to forecast change, plan for the change and be willing to take some risks.
- Focus on the End User and Not the Search Engines – Strategically speaking, when establishing your online presence, make sure that your website is created with the end user in mind and not the search engines. Write the copy in the language of the user, not in the language of the search engines. Do not insert keywords for the sake of the search engines, make the copy flow naturally after all it is the end user who will convert online (or offline) not the search engine.
- Understand that tactics provide a temporary solution and that Strategy can last a lifetime – Tactics are often utilized to provide a quick but temporary solution. Strategic thinking enables search marketers to identify issues that are critical to the long-term success and will help with anticipating the future needs of their clients and their websites.
- Focus on Continuous Improvement – Strategic search marketers are visionary and look to always improve on past success or failure. Take, for example, the process of gathering keywords for your client’s keyword basket. Instead of doing a traditional keyword analysis evaluation, consider developing a feedback mechanism to gather popular industry “buzz-words” that your users may be using when searching for your client’s products or solutions. Understanding the language of the user will help you improve future keyword analyses. Strive to provide a better keyword analysis each and every time you visit the process.
- Dare to Be Different – thinking outside the box can provide great success. Strategy should be innovative. Innovative and strategic search marketers are willing to explore ideas that are truly different.
- Listen Before Acting – listen to your clients. If they are expressing concern over a specific issue, listen to them. Understand their pain and examine why the current “solution” is not working to satisfy this pain. Strategic thinking is not always easy nor should it be. Listening to your clients can provide direction and critical insight that can be utilized when planning an effective online strategy.
Whether you are part of an in-house search marketing team or work independently, developing strategic online marketing savvy through innovation can breathe new life into your area of business. The need for innovation and strategic thinking is at an all-time high. Strategic search marketers are highly sought after and are quickly becoming the “rock stars” of the marketing universe. I’m not saying that everyone has to be a marketing maven, just be creative, innovative and visionary.
Jody Nimetz is a senior organic search marketing strategist for Enquiro Search Solutions, Inc. Enquiro provides search marketing and usability consulting specifically tailored for B2B marketers. Jody is also author of SEO-Space, his blog about organic search marketing with a B2B twist.