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It Depends. The phrase you hear most in SEM

on 27 Mar  Posted by Admin  Category: Internet Related  

by Rob Sullivan

SEM is a complicated industry with various disciplines. There are firms specializing in different areas of the industry from traditional SEO, to PPC to content development to link building. In fact, it's becoming more and more rare to find a company that does all of these in-house.

And this is why I think SEM is similar to being a doctor or lawyer. Not because we have to go to school for years and years, but because we are always learning. In fact I think I don't believe we do search engine marketing. As with doctors, we practice it.

I say practice because we can never know all there is to know about SEM because it is always changing. Maybe this is why so many in our industry use a phrase near and dear to my heart: It Depends.

You will most likely never hear any other phrase come out of the mouths of SEM�s as much as you will hear 'it depends.'

This is because in most cases when you get a question, it's not a simple cut and dried answer. 'It depends' because there's always lots of factors at play, and not just the one you were thinking of when you asked the question.

It's really kind of funny when you think about it. When you attend a Search Engine Strategies conference (for example) and the floor is open to questions that is most often the response you get followed by more of an explanation. For example:

Q: What will happen if I buy 100 links this month?
A: It Depends (pause). While the engines don't like you growing links too quickly they may not find all the links that fast therefore they may not appear to grow quickly. It all depends on the sites you are buying the links from and how often they are crawled.

I find myself using this phrase a lot when talking to clients about SEM because generally they don't have the in depth knowledge to understand what the other variables at play are.

But that's ok, because we are here to help them understand.

And to the clients who hear 'it depends' don't despair. That is because in most cases it truly does depend on a lot of factors. You shouldn't really expect a 'yes' or 'no' answer because there is a lot to consider. Generally what you will get is a question in response to your question. For example:

Q: What will happen if I buy 100 links this month?
A: It Depends (pause). What types of sites are these coming from?

You see, one who is good at the practice of SEM will know to dig deeper to get as much information as possible. This is because they don't want to have to explain themselves in a month or two because something didn't work as they guessed because they didn't have all the right information.

Therefore, as a client of a practicing SEM, you must be prepared for the responses you will get. If you consider an SEM as akin to a doctor, you will know that a doctor will not make a diagnosis without as much information as possible. For example, what do you think would happen if you went to your doctor and said "my side hurts."

You know he's going to prod you for more information as he's poking your side.

And you should expect this type of treatment from the SEM. Because the more information you can provide the better his recommendation will be to you.

So next time you go to a search marketing conference, try and see how many times you hear 'it depends.' I bet you'll lose count.

Rob Sullivan
Head Organic Search Strategist
Enquiro Full Service Search Engine Marketing

Copyright 2005 - Enquiro Search Solutions.

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