The Week in Search
Politics, Keywords and Monty Python
Are We Missing the Point of Search Marketing?
Often as a way to decide what to write about in each week's Follow Friday , I visit Sphinn.com to see what articles are getting people's attention. Even under the category of SEM , you'll see a multitude of topics ranging from brand awareness to conversion attribution to bid management. Andy Atkins Kruger had a great guest post on Search Coyboys this week entitled "It's the Keywords, Stupid" where he finally asks the question: Shouldn't we just focus on keywords?
As in politics, where candidates are tempted to talk about exciting topics like war or scandal, the discussion of keywords has lost its sex appeal and thus keywords have lost much of the attention. He writes, " we know keywords are important and fundamental – and yet most of the time we talk about other stuff." Even when we do shift our attention to keywords, we ignore critical activities like keyword research  and proper keyword organization  in lieu of fabricated metrics like KEI, keyword effectiveness index, which Kruger calls "frankly just bizarre."
To elaborate on this last point, one of the most powerful aspects of search marketing is the tracking accuracy that comes with it. Unlike putting an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine and estimating resulting ROI based on new leads and sales activity, search marketing actually allows the marketer to directly track specific spend and outcome. Sure, it isn't 100% accurate, but it's the closest us marketers have ever gotten. Why, then, do we insist on making up other numbers and using those to alter our campaign instead of the real data that's right under our nose?
What do you think?
And Now for Something Completely Different
I can't exactly follow the above with the importance of anything other than keywords and keyword research, so I'm instead going to finish by sharing a general business article that really made me laugh.
Though some funny stories arose this week, including an SEO agency getting busted for charging a client to fix a problem he couldn't solve without the help of a free Google support forum , the one that blew them all away was Focus' "20 Business Lessons Learned from Monty Python." I grew up in a Monty Python household--my parents' email address is a reference to one of their favorite skits and we all know that the best way to get each other out of a foul mood is to ask politely for an argument. You can then imagine my delight when I came across this article that finally put to use all my useless comedy knowledge.
I strongly suggest reading it yourself, but here are some business lessons that Monty Python has taught us:
- Brand Awareness: Your brand should be clearly defined and consistent; don't change it if it's working for you
- Marketing: Don't spread yourself thin by trying to be too many things. Also, give customers incentive to purchase from you without any hidden terms
- Marketplace and Competitive Research: Find the balance between being a unique, niche product and appealing to the masses
- Customer Service: You can learn something from even the silliest customer complaint. Reward your customers with direct and honest responses
- Employment: Do the research before taking a job to avoid disappointments in the future
- Business Tactics and Strategy: Follow ethical business practices and always appear confident to existing and prospective customers.
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