Search marketing is the core component of any digital marketing campaign. However, search has changed, Google has changed, the SERPs have changed and marketers must adapt.

Since Google introduced its Panda and Penguin algorithmic updates we’ve seen a seismic shift in the way that we work ‘with’ search engines.

Pair this alongside a renewed interest and focus on content marketing and the convergence of paid, owned, and earned media and we have challenges, yes, but also great opportunity that marketers need to adapt to. 

Penguin 1.0 and now 2.0 has transformed the way that people work with regard to link building, content creation and outreach and relevancy. Dark art tactics aimed at gaming the search engines have shifted towards dark art content and social media practices.

Organisations have adapted by changing their working processes, strategies and in some cases branding (content marketing agencies of the future).


Many of the technological changes that affect search are reflected by the changes in the SERPs. Aligning and optimising campaigns across search, social, local and mobile means that aligning talent across multiple departments and disciplines must follow. 

What’s more, as paid and owned media converge with earned media, aligning PPC, display, RTB, content and creative teams gives organisations the best chance of delivering highly targeted, relevant, and efficient digital campaigns.

It is no coincidence that in 2013 we see more change and structural innovation as companies attempt to accelerate digital transformation with the rise of Chief Digital Officer, Chief Content Officers, and Chief Revenue Officers as search and social media practices are integrated into the wider digital mix.


Since John Deere published “The Furrow” in 1895, content marketing has been right in front of the consumer eye.

The growth of social media and the links between content and social and search engine results has changed and the ability of content to attract, retain, and convert customers naturally draws parallels with conversion and purchasing funnels. However content marketing tactics and strategies overlap in numerous areas.

This has meant that customers don’t always follow a traditional funnel system.

Producing mature content that is thoughtful, unique, insightful, and perfectly placed is the way that real content marketers approach their campaigns. Content is distributed and recycled and reproduced and aligned line with quality editorial, seasonal, and consumer based timelines.

Quality content marketing really has to be produced by individuals and not technology. Technology only distributes and helps you create and curate some of that content. Individuals are the content agents of the future and AuthorRank encourages content creators and bloggers to publish insightful, relevant, and regular content.

Many dark art practices of content distribution and outreach have been highlighted recently. This relates to dodgy backlinks, spam campaigns and irrelevant outreach campaigns for guest blogging posts. It is important not to confuse this with real content marketing that it not primarily focused on link building.

Creating unique and insightful content and distributing it across multiple digital channels is in many ways transforming the future of digital marketing.


Digital channels and markets have change and converge and so should your marketing organisation. Search, social and digital growth has redefined the role of the CMO.

For some organisations it is a process of reorganisation to adapt to change and move from traditional structures, based on pre-defined departmental structures, to build new and innovative ways of working and matrix management that are more flexible, less political, and are built by optimising talent first.

As I mentioned earlier – the rise of digital CMOs and forward thinking CMO place this marketing talent at the center of all activity and across all areas of the organisation.

Mastering ‘big data’ AND building a successful marketing organisation based around how talent powers the adoption of data and technology is going to be a key CMO challenge in 2013.

Accountability is key to success and this comes from the talent in your organisation. Who creates the content, authors thought leadership, works with the brands?

Who drives digital strategy, who creates product and brand messaging, and who is responsible for content and digital collaboration are just some of many questions the CMO and CEO need to address.


Attribution has many meanings and is a phrase that is often over used in some areas. As I have mentioned in previous posts attribution is not just an apt term to describe digital marketing interaction, it also relates to psychology, copyright and content, organisational performance and behavior and talent.

All are relevant in today’s integrated marketing ecosystem. For the purpose of this post attribution relates to:

  • Attributing, measuring and optimising cross channel digital marketing strategies in line with the convergence of paid, owned and earned media as described in the early sections of this post.
  • Attributing and optimising talent within your organisation as you structure and build teams, multi-function departments, and matrix management process.


Technology change is a constant but people don’t change at the same pace, and when they do they do differently. It is essential that all your digital marketers campaigns are optimised for the user. Every campaign, every strategy, every tactic should be built with the end user in mind. 

When we talk about organisations and structure let’s, for a second, forget the technology, changes, and economy and think about how you organise talent and make the most out of whole brained, left brained, or right brained marketers and talent. 

It’s all about balance and at the moment many individuals, organisations, agencies, and brands are struggling to make the most out their left and right brain marketers and cope with change and transform their digital organisations accordingly.


The real, and largest, change in digital marketing has ultimately been the growth and rise of tools, technology, and platforms that have allowed us to build and engage with brands and clients using ‘pull’ marketing compared to traditional content techniques that were focused on ‘push’.

For example, the rise of social media is all about content and engagement driven through new technology.

Expect more technological change, innovation, and more investment. Be prepared to adapt, align, structure and optimise if you really want to transform the way you work.