Enterprise SEOs, unite! The SMX East 2016 session recap

Enterprise SEO is truly unique. While a larger company size may provide substantial leverage in many cases, it also creates some particular challenges.
At the recent SMX East conference, I watched a great panel covering this topic with Scott Nickels of Hearst Autos, Simon Heseltine of HP Enterprise, and Amber Fehrenbacher of Surety Bonds.
In today’s post, I’m going to summarize much of the wisdom they shared about enterprise SEO challenges and their approaches to overcoming these obstacles. I’ll also add a few of my own thoughts along the way.
Basic organizational structure
Large enterprise organizations often have many different product/service teams that focus on different offerings of the company. As a result, you can end up with many different ways that the SEO team can be set up:

A centralized SEO team that interacts with the different product/service teams and provides them with guidance.
Distributed SEO teams, where each product/service team has its own SEO resources.
A combination of the two, where there is a centralized

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What Google’s recent RLSA updates mean for advertisers

At the recent SMX East conference in New York City, Google’s Jerry Dischler announced a number of paid search updates that should roll out in the near to immediate future. Among them, two in particular stand to expand the footprint of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).
Here are the changes you need to know about, starting with the most impactful.
RLSA membership duration expanded to 540 days
Since beta testing all the way back in 2012, RLSA has been restricted to include only those users who visited an advertiser’s website within the past 180 days.
This meant that there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for using RLSA in reaching out to once-a-year converters or baking seasonality into targeting as much as many advertisers hoped.
However, that 180-day limit has now been tripled to 540 days.
What does that mean?

A lot more searchers can be targeted with RLSA, as the number of distinct visitors to a brand’s site is naturally much higher

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What’s new with markup & structured data

Structured data makes certain types of web content highly accessible and understandable by search engines and other third-party programs. Because the data on the page is tagged with standardized identifying code, it’s far easier to process and interpret than a regular webpage.
For that reason, people refer to this type of data as “Linked Data” (similar to the way that the World Wide Web links billions of documents together).
At June’s SMX Advanced, Aaron Bradley did an awesome job in his presentation, “What’s New With Structured Data Markup?,” providing a detailed update of what’s going on in this area.
If you’re interested in a really detailed timeline of all the major happenings in the world of structured data markup, you can get access to that here.
The overview
In the SEO world, the most common form of structured data we speak about is Schema.org. This is because it’s a standard that was developed by and for search engines.
It’s stable, reliable and extensible. For

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SMX Advanced recap: Lies, Damn Lies, and Search Marketing Statistics

At SMX Advanced 2016 in Seattle, Adria Kyne, SEO Manager (North America, Australia, and New Zealand) for Vistaprint, gave a presentation on doing search marketing testing — or any kind of marketing testing — that provides valid results.
Kyne made the point that by not understanding the importance of validity of sample size, we often end up unintentionally lying to ourselves, and we may actually “prove” the opposite of what we think our tests are showing.
Adria Kyne, Vistaprint
Common problems with marketing testing
We need to start with understanding the point of our testing:

We want to know what is really happening when people visit our site.
We want to be sure we can use the results to predict likely future behavior.

We also need to understand the basics of hypothesis testing:

We want to know if the variation we are testing is better, worse or the same as the original.
We don’t want to see a positive outcome that isn’t really there (a false positive, or Type I error).
We don’t want

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Shopping campaigns: Play like every day is a holiday

Shopping campaigns are becoming a major source of website clicks and revenue during the holiday season, and the “Shopping Campaigns: Play Like Every Day Is A Holiday” panel at SMX Advanced featured tips and advice from three PPC veterans: Ann Stanley, Todd Bowman, and Mona Elesseily.
Ann Stanley: Shopping ads, buy buttons, social commerce & remarketing
Shopping ads and buy buttons are everywhere. Stanley explored those areas where ads are driven by product feeds, and clicks either lead to retailer websites or convert on host platforms. Her talk was full of data insights and provided a neat map divided into three conversion areas:
Area #1: The search giants: David Bing vs. Goliath Google
Thanks to Windows 10, Bing Shopping ads share is growing (21% US, 9% UK). With Google Shopping winning by volume, Bing nearly always shows lower CPCs. In terms of conversion and ROAS efficiency, results vary heavily by vertical. Bottom line: if you target the US or UK, give Bing

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SEMPO announces its newly elected Board of Directors & Officers

SEMPO has announced its newly elected Board of Directors and officers for 2016 through 2018.
Mike Grehan, CMO at the digital marketing agency Acronym, was re-elected as Chairman, and Mike Gullaskin, who serves as iProspect’s COO, was named President.
“Congratulations to the new SEMPO Directors,” said Grehan in the release announcing the search marketing association’s new board members. “Thanks to the outgoing Directors for their service and contributions, and to my fellow Board members for their expression of confidence in re-electing me Chairman.”
According to SEMPO’s list of officers, Grehan will also serve as the organization’s VP of programming.
Here is the full list of SEMPO’s Officers and its newly elected Board of Directors:
SEMPO Officers:
Chairman: Mike Grehan
President: Mike Gullaksen
Secretary/Treasurer: Mike Corak
Sponsorship VP: Christie Reed
Membership VP Mike Bonfils
Programs VP: Mike Grehan
Research VP: Mark Engelsman
Education VP: Chris Boggs
SEMPO Cities VP: Krista LaRivière
SEMPO Board of Directors:
Chris Boggs, CEO/Founder, Web Traffic Advisors, LLC
Michael Bonfils, International Managing Director, SEM International
Mike Corak, VP/GM, DAC Group
Marc Engelsman, Director,

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SEMPO’s latest salary survey shows search marketer average pay up 16% over 2013

According to SEMPO’s most recent salary survey, the average pay for search and digital marketing professionals is up 16 percent since 2013.
The nonprofit organization for SEO and SEM professionals polled nearly 600 search and digital marketing professionals across a variety of roles, from entry-level to executive. Survey questions covered a variety of salary and work-related topics, including compensation packages, bonuses and benefits, professional responsibilities and search marketing budget sizes.
Other key findings from the survey showed a growth in SEM salaries at the $100,000 range, and the ranks of search veterans also on the rise. On the flip-side, the number of entry-level practitioners was on the decline.
Ninety-four percent of respondents said analytics were a key part of their search duties, and more than 10 percent of respondents claimed to manage 50 or more accounts or websites.
As far as job perks are concerned, being able to work remotely was the most-cited work benefit.
Marc Engelsman, SEMPO’s vice president of research,

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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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10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them

Today is my 20th anniversary of covering search and search engines. To mark the occasion, I wanted to reflect on some of the big changes that I’ve seen over the past two decades of covering the space.
1. The search revolution
Chances are, the first resource you turn to if you have a question about something is a search engine, whether it be Google, Siri, Bing, Yelp, others or a combination of services.
This simple act, that you likely don’t think twice about, was a highly revolutionary change to how people sought information. Before popular consumer-focused search engines emerged just over 20 years ago, people got answers the same way they had for hundreds and thousands of years: largely by asking other people.
If you needed an answer, you turned to people like a teacher, a professional, a best friend or a librarian. Sure, there were also tools to use: libraries, library catalogs, yellow pages and professional databases like LexisNexis. But for most people, getting an

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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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