A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

The Jungle Map, your guide through internet marketing

Can anyone really be a search marketing expert anymore?

December 4th, 2007

In a magazine I was recently reviewing, David Rodnitzky wrote a great column with the same title as this post.

His basic point was that in just ten years, search engine marketing has gotten quite advanced.  In fact, there are so many aspects to it that no one can really be a true expert in all of it.

In particular, he was speaking of PPC and it’s so true.  I remember starting out in Overture and AdWords back in 2002… 

I pretty much just started playing in Overture and figured it out on my own.  When AdWords got a little popular, I read Andrew Goodman’s e-book and was good to go.  One quick read and I was on top of my game.

Five years later and there are so many aspects to PPC (let alone SEO) that it is hard to keep up on it.  For example:

  • Not just AdWords, but YSM, Microsoft, and even Ask
  • Pricing models are CPC, CPM, and even CPA
  • Each engine has it’s own content targeting (AdSense, YPN, etc.)
  • You can place ads on print, radio, video, mobile, maps, etc.
  • You can create text, graphic, audio and video ads
  • You can control geo-targeting, ip-targeting, etc.
  • You can create ads just for specific websites

It certainly can be a little overwhelming.  In fact, my Google AdWords Professional certification is about due to be renewed and I’m a little nervous about taking the test.  It’s hard to know ALL this stuff!

So David’s feelings were that search marketers need to specialize.  He used the analogy of the medical profession.  There are basic doctors, but then you see the specialist (who charges more)!

Personally, I see it a little differently.  I think the role of the SEM is to know that all these things exist.  Even more importantly, we need to know which ones are worth doing, based on the client.  (Similar to what a local doctor would do.) 

But instead of forwarding you on to a specialist, I think we all owe it to our clients and potential clients to take the time to learn the specific aspect that they will benefit from as deep as we need to. 

We live in an age where the talented people don’t know everything.  They just need to know it exists and be able to learn and use it quickly.