I love doing video interviews, even though for some reason I always seem to be replaced by some woman who has my voice that I barely recognize. Mike is always an enthusiastic interviewer and a pleasure to talk to.
At Chicago SES, I had the pleasure of attending the first women in search luncheon hosted by Ylayn Meredith Ousley, SEOFan Girl, at a beautiful white table cloth restaurant. It was far and away the most unique event that I attended – a celebration of women in search. It was a chance to enjoy the companionship of other successful women who share a passion for search.
At SES New York, Li Evans, who champions women in search and recently included me in her series on the Women of Internet Marketingtook up the cause and arranged for another luncheon for women in search. Rebecca Leib wrote an insightful piece on the event that struck just the right notes. Rebecca opined that search is obviously no longer dominated by the classic stereotypical propeller-headed geeky guys, but now includes a generous measure of women. Danny Sullivan in a follow up post at his personal blog noted that there always has been a strong presence of women in search and at SES.
As a veteran in the industry, I would have to agree with both writers. The shift noted by Rebecca is real. Search is less geeky and more marketing than ever before. As search has moved to the C-level suite, it requires those who can speak to more than technical issues. C-level executives want marketing, many of the best and brightest in search are women marketers.
This being said I was quite taken aback by the comments to Danny’s post and a recent ClickZ column (read rant) by my long-time friend and colleague Shari Thurow; wherein, she inaccurately in my opinion noted:
“most of the women I shared lunch with were heavily involved in search engine advertising. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Search engine advertising is a rather challenging and detail-oriented niche. Kudos to my colleagues with the skills and patience to effectively compete in this arena.
Nevertheless, where were the women like me? Where were the techie women?”
Where were the techie women – the same place many men were – working for the women gathered at the luncheon? Those in attendance were not just “detail-oriented niche” players. They were agency heads, industry thought leaders, and search marketing pioneers. These are women who play large. Many have rich and varied experience bases and solid technical credentials.
Web marketing and in specific search marketing does require technical understanding. It is, as Shari contends, a left-brain/right-brain integrative discipline. Those of us who work in organic search must be able to understand and articulate the technical requirements of the discipline to be successful at what we do. I contend that we are architects of success, not just the carpenters.
I for one personally don’t ever intend to stand in front of the mirror and ask – “mirror, mirror on the wall, am I the geekiest women of them all?” I’ll leave that to others.
Recently, when I was preparing to bid adieu to an old computer (checking to make sure that it did not have any files on it that I might regret deleting), I came across a folder of old invoices dating from 1995. I paused nostalgically to see just what kind of work I was billing for so long ago and (alas!) how little I was charging for it.
What was I billing for in 1995 -- search engine marketing? The invoice was for keyword selection, META tag development and submissions. Yipes!
Little did I know at the time that 11, almost 12 years later I would still be doing SEO. The tools, tactics and search engines have changed, but goal is the same -- making sites visible on search engines. Who knows what the next 10+ years will bring.
Anyone who looks at this post will realize that this blog has been neglected for an extremely long period of time -- many reasons, no excuses. Recently, I have been deeply immersed in doing what I really enjoy -- working.
Search marketing is a fascinating discipline, and the more you work at it, think about it, analyse search data, the better you get at it and the more rewarding it becomes. That is why it has gripped me for over ten years now. It is fundamentally a marketing discipline, but it merges right and left brain activities.
I don't write code and highly respect those who do, but have a now over 25 year fascination with computer technology. I fondly remember a very smart colleague, Rich Huizenga, sadly deceased now, who would patiently explain programming logic and routines to me so that I could get the right data pulled from the huge mainframes into data tapes for my clients. It left me awed by the power of how technology could sift through such huge volumes of data.
I am still fascinated, and the volumes of data sifted have grown ever larger. Understanding the sifting process and how it applies to marketing is keeping me heads down working. I suspect it will for some time to come.
You could fill a shelf with books on search engine marketing, read them all and still not have a grasp of what really goes into search engine marketing. To the unsuspecting it seems easy -- just content and code twiddling. There is a new book that rips the covers off of any misconceptions about search marketing that you might have. It is Mike Moran and Bill Hunt's Search Engine Marketing, Inc.
This is the book that I have been waiting for -- a truly strategic focused book that includes plenty of how-to. From information that will help the only marginally technical understand a dynamically-generated URL and step-by-step instructions for paid search optimization to how to configure a search marketing team and navigate the shark-filled budgetary waters.
This is not just a book on how to improve the search positioning of a small business site. This is for those who must deal with the problems of the truly industrial-sized sites. And believe me I know from my own experience, they come with industrial-sized problems -- different goals for different areas of the same site, different teams responsible for different areas of a single site, globalization and other challenges. Bill and Mike present lots of helpful advise that even the most seasoned of search marketers will find useful.