The end of search marketing

Mike Moran Search Marketing
Reading Mike Moran’s Search Marketing was well worth the effort – its a thorough, incredibly well documented text on how search marketing works.

On Mike’s Biznology blog, he has written a post on Open Season on Search Marketing. Its a great post, and I am definitely in the camp that believes in search marketing.

Its just that I think that one day search marketing will be far less important, because Content Marketing will be king (or queen).

Consider that you get traffic your website from three primary sources, two online and one offline:

  • Search Marketing – people search using keywords or directories, and your organic search result or paid search result leads them to your site. To market with search, read Mike’s book, or at least his SkinFlint’s Guide to Search Marketing
  • Content Marketing – people read content or otherwise (e.g. forums, referrals) find out about you on the web, and find their way to your site without search. To market using your content, you actively build content that reaches your audience right where they live (online).
  • Offline Marketing – people find out about your site offline and come directly to your site. Offline marketing would include publicity, writing news or magazine articles, or advertising. ‘Old fashioned’ marketing if you like.

As the web matures and online communities of interest strengthen, I believe Content Marketing will eclipse Search Marketing in importance. Together, Search Marketing and Content Marketing will turn Offline Marketing on its ear. Why bother searching for something if you already know where to find it?

The Googlezillas of Content Marketing? I’m thinking content will be a lot more decentralised. Category killers will exist, but not with the same dominance that Google has. Instead communities of interest will coalese around key bloggers, forums, MySpace networks and so on. Clay Shirky over at Wired Magazine wrote about the Meganiche, and I think he is spot on.

So, Mike Moran is right, and you would be a brave soul to run a business on the web today and ignore Search Marketing. But don’t ignore Content Marketing either. The doyens of Content Marketing are David Meerman Scott and Brian Clark (although he isn’t referring to it using this term yet). Read them, and learn all you can about it.

What do you think?