The SEM agency is dying (and what to do about it)

Search engine marketing agencies will face many business challenges over the next couple of years, including increased competition, fee pressure, clients bringing SEM in-house and a decline in the prominence of SEM in general. SEM agencies that fail to pivot into broad-based digital agencies will either need to focus exclusively on small business SEM or cease to exist.
Why do companies hire agencies?
There are two vectors against which companies evaluate agencies: 1) the value that the agency provides; and 2) the scarcity of the agency’s services. For agencies, scarcity is determined by two criteria: a) the number of other agencies that offer the same service; and b) a potential client’s ability to perform the same service in-house. When you plot these factors on a chart, it looks like this:

As the chart shows, agencies tend to attract business when they can fulfill a scarce need. As supply increases, agencies lose their leverage with clients, resulting in either price wars

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Evangelizing organic search success: 5 steps to elevate performance

Working in the community of over 20,000 search and content professionals that our company (BrightEdge) has built, skilled practitioners often ask me how they can best elevate themselves professionally.
Even though they get results, they often have trouble securing the buy-in they need from key stakeholders. The result is that neither the marketer nor the business is able to reach its full potential.
The solution? Organic search evangelism.
Evangelizing what you do in any organization is challenging. It can be especially difficult when organizations have complex structures and fragmented business units that are all fighting for executive leadership attention.
Organic search marketers must therefore have the ability to translate their activity into successful business outcomes. The most successful organic search marketers I know have built sophisticated skill sets that enable them to not just get results, but to effectively communicate SEO’s business value within an organization.
It is important to note that every business has different needs when it comes to building a culture that

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How To Ensure Your SEO Recommendations Get Implemented

One of the most common problems in the SEO industry is that clients often do not implement their agencies’ SEO recommendations — and then they complain when they don’t get the results they expect from their SEO campaign (i.e., increases in visibility, traffic and conversions).
There are several reasons clients do not implement SEO recommendations, including:

Not having the appropriate resources or time to make the recommended changes.
Internal politics and red tape.
Lack of qualified developers.
High cost associated with the changes.
No internal champion.
Limitations to the CMS.

The bottom line: If they don’t implement any SEO changes, your clients’ brands are set up to fail.
For your clients to embrace and fully implement your SEO recommendations, some processes and procedures should be put in place. Here are three common challenges you may run into, and how to handle each.
Challenge 1: Client Education
It is important to educate all the proper stakeholders and C-level executives on the importance of SEO. Clearly lay out the tactics and strategies you plan to use,

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SEMPO Names 20 Leaders From Locations Around The World To Drive SEMPO Cities Initiative

Since announcing its SEMPO Cities initiative in April to replace former local SEMPO groups, the nonprofit search organization has selected its first 20 leaders from cities across the globe.
According to the announcement, the new SEMPO Cities leadership will be charged with representing the SEMPO brand in their local communities, as well as coordinating local events for the SEMPO Cities Month which is scheduled for October of this year.
We are confident that SEMPO Cities will continue to expand and help digital marketers around the world create viable, local communities.
“With this group, we are confident that SEMPO Cities will continue to expand and help digital marketers around the world create viable, local communities supporting search engine marketing professionals,” said SEMPO Cities vice president Krista LaRivière.
Here’s a full list of the inaugural SEMPO Cities leaders and their locations:

Katherine Anderson, Director, Sirocco Web Design (Newcastle, Australia)
Eric Cholette-Dufour, Partner, Planning Media (Montreal, Canada)
Krista LaRiviere, CEO, gShift (Toronto, Canada)
Alexandre Brabant, Search Marketing Specialist,

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SEO Can’t Always Get What It Wants — Or Can It?

Everyone can, and probably has, argued over what part of working in SEO is the hardest. From the frequent algorithm updates and never really knowing what Google is thinking to constantly explaining yourself to executives and fighting tooth and nail to correct our bad reputation, we have plenty of options to choose from.
Personally, my nomination for one of the most difficult challenges is managing the push and pull within organizations to ensure SEO gets the resources it needs to achieve results.
As an SEO, you don’t really “own” any one digital asset, but everything in digital has an impact on your organic search traffic. It’s a disturbing situation because when something changes — even if you have nothing to do with it and perhaps don’t even know about it — you’re still on the hook when your organic traffic tanks.
So, how do you work with other teams to get what you want?
First, a few generalities that apply to anyone you’re working with:

Speak their language. Throwing out

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When Google’s In Your Brain: A Science Fiction Author’s View

Sergey Brin once said that he wanted Google to be “the third half of your brain.” Larry Page has discussed a future in which Google anticipates your questions and answers them before you even ask. Google Chief Economist Hal Varian says he expects brain implants to connect people to the web by 2020.
Is that crazy? Are we headed for a world where people walk around with brain implants? What would that look like for search and SEO?
I’m in a possibly unique position to talk about this. I’m a search guy, having helped build Bing from the early days and having led program management for relevance, spam, and SEO of the site. I’m also a science fiction author, and my Nexus series is all about technology that puts your brain online.
The Future Is Closer Than You Think
Progress on neural interfaces is happening a lot faster than most people realize.
Scientists have already sent audio into the nervous system (via cochlear implants) and

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