Search engine marketing, like nearly all digital media forms, is evolving rapidly. Text ads
accompanying search results came into the world with little fanfare, but the real-time,
individually targeted, bid-based buying system they spawned is now on the verge of
becoming the dominant method for all commodified media buying. During the most
difficult economic times that the search marketing industry has seen in its decade-long life,
search marketers are more relevant than ever.
The Web itself is getting ―smarter.‖ Web 1.0 was mostly static with publishers
communicating to consumers. Web 2.0 is two-way, with consumers talking back to
publishers. Web 3.0 uses information from the consumer to tailor the experience to
individuals. Gmail ads already do this. By taking advantage of email content, Google is
able to serve ads that are immediately and individually relevant. The new search site
Hunch.com asks searchers to tell the site about themselves in order to predict interests and
suggest searches. Why this matters to search marketers is that the entire infrastructure of
the Web 3.0 economy is built on what‘s known as the ―semantic web.‖ Having a
background in search engine optimization and PPC advertising is just about the best
possible way to prepare for the new ways of doing business this technology enables.
While the consumers of the world get nervous about change, it won‘t be long before an untargeted
―dumb‖ ad provokes as much consumer backlash as the first targeted ads did in
the last few years. As advertising undergoes a transformation from annoyance to utility, it
will be the semantic marketers of the world who make it happen. It‘s a very good time to
be in this business for a variety of reasons. You represent the first wave of a new media
economy. If that isn‘t enough to convince someone of the increasing relevance of search
marketing, perhaps the promise of money to be made will.