Shaping the Search Engine Marketing Industry in 2009

In the latest installment of SEM Synergy at, Bruce Clay was asked for his top 3 items that will have an impact on shaping the Search Engine Marketing Industry in 2009.

His list consists of:

  1. Engagement Objects
  2. Personal & Universal Search
  3. Rank Reporting is Dead (ROI Tracking & Analytics)

Bruce Clay’s SEM Predictions List Explained

Engagement Objects
Engagement objects started to become a buzz word when Bruce used it in an interview at the PubCon in November 2009. Engagement objects are the interactive content on a website that will have an impact on your site’s rankings moving forward in 2009. The interactive content on your site can be anything from images & video to quizzes & polls. It is not just the creation of these engagement objects but utilizing them within industry and social networks to drive the traffic and buzz your site needs to be successful. Additionally, engagement objects can help you to achieve more universal search result listings.

Personal & Universal Search
These are two of the largest changes to the SERPs that we have seen in recent years. Personalized Search is the ability that search engines (like Google) have to deliver you results based on your past searches and clicks on the results page. This results in a page that has some of your more frequented sites automatically ranking higher just for you. Bruce mentions Personal Search goes beyond that to include IP tracking to serve geo-targeted results based on the location of your IP address. Universal Search is the integration of other sources of content (i.e. video, map and news) into the SERPs. Universal Search will impact the Search Engine Marketing Industry because those who are taking advantage of incorporating more engagement objects on their sites will have a greater chance of having these items included in the SERPs. So, engage your visitors and you will be rewarded by the search engines.

Rank Reporting is Dead
Bruce reiterated that rank reporting as an ROI metric in the Search Engine Marketing Industry is no longer going to cut it. You can blame this on Personal & Universal Search and the advancements in analytics. The tools for tracking the users who visit our sites have come a long way in recent years. Search Engine Marketers should now be providing clients with traffic and conversion reports. These reports will show the true ROI on SEO and PPC campaigns.