SEO Jobs for December 2008

Friday, 19 December 2008

The turbulent economic conditions should not have a major impact on the online market in 2009. All major Australian jobs classified websites seems to have plenty of new job offers in December. Below is our quick selection:

Search Marketing Analyst - SEO: In house role for a major travel industry player in Sydney, Hotel Club. Experienced SEO required. Learn more

Junior SEO Specialist
: Sydney based role working for an agency. No real experience required. $45 to $55 K + Super Learn more

SEO Manager Role:Sydney role. Agency side role for an SEO Specialist. Client Facing role. Good remuneration. Learn more

SEO Consultant:
Agency role based in Sydney. 2+ years experience with SEO. Outstanding communication skills. $80 to $100. Learn more

When does Christmas start for Online Retail?

Monday, 8 December 2008

When does Christmas start online? If you ask yourself this question at this time of the year and expect to cash up on the annual shopping frenzy, it is probably a little too late.
Each year it seems that Christmas is starting earlier and earlier. This year, I have noticed both online and offline Christmas-themed stores as early as mid October. While it might look a bit odd from some, marketers love Christmas! It is the time of year, when consumers are spending more than they should on things that they do not really need just because it is Christmas. From family gifts to office Kris Kringles, Christmas is when we spend big bucks!

According to the Australian Retail Association, the six weeks prior to Christmas 2007 recorded a $36.5 billion spent in Australia, with $800 Million spent just on the 25th December. Looking at these figures, it makes a lot of sense for marketers and retailers to try to extend this period and cash up on the Christmas spending frenzy.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, When does it really start?

Most retailers consider that the Christmas season starts to kick in the six weeks prior to Christmas ( 25th December), which implies a start on the second week of November.

Looking at the share of weekly online traffic in all categories over the last 4 years in Australia provided by Hitwise (see below), it appears that the starting point of the Christmas period is actually the first week of November.

The heaviest part of the Christmas season (especially in the US) starts on Black Friday(Friday after Thanksgiving) for "physical" retailers and on Cyber Monday, which is the Monday following Thanksgiving (usually the first Monday in December).

What to expect for Christmas 2008 ?

Christmas 2007’s spending was a 10 years record. Some online retailers have recorded increases up to 30% compared to 2006. With a fast growing Australian economy, low employment rate and tax cut, last year’s Christmas season was set to be a great success.

In 2008, the context does not seem to be as pleasant. The economic downturn, the crash in the share market and the uncertainly about a possible recession does not make people want to spend. Even if the interest rates and petrol prices are low, the consumer confidence is pretty low.

While many experts are quite pessimistic about the outlook for Christmas 2008, it seems that the first results are actually quite promising.
According to Alan Long, the research Director at Hitwise, the first week of November has shown a 3.14% increase in the share of visits compared to last year.

comScore has released the online spending results in the US for the first week of December and the online sales are actually 9% higher than the same period last year. comScore Chairman, Gian Fulgoni is however cautious as the overall Christmas season results will highly depend on what happens in the next few weeks.
Overall, comScore estimates that the online sales in the US will be similar if not a little higher than last year (US$ 29,200 M for 2008 versus US$29,169 for 2007).

If Australia follows the same trend as US, it would mean that 2008 will equal 2007, which is a pretty good results considering that 2007 was a 10 years record!

SEO and SEM do not replace a marketing strategy

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

It is quite funny to hear marketing people and business owners talking about their plans to grow their business online. Most of the time, they are disappointed and frustrated with their late 1990's website generating only a few sales. They are even more frustrated when they read or heard that some companies have dramatically increased their online sales with these new, fancy activities :SEO, SEM, Affiliate Marketing.
And now, these weird acronmyns quickly become are the solution to the past challenges of selling online.

Now the fun quickly turns into frustration, when you try to explain that SEO and SEM will surely bring traffic, but sales is a different story. In the same way as people do not always buy a product if they go to a physical store, people wont always buy because you drive them to your website! People will buy your products because the product will fill their needs and deliver a superior value than your competitor's one and this value is shaped by your business marketing strategy. If SEO and SEM are relatively new, the concept of competitive advantage and Unique Value Proposition have been around for a while and everybody knows about it. However it seems that when executives are dealing with online, they tend to forget about it.

The Never Ending Story

It all started in the early 90s with the emergence of the internet and its promises. Success stories of teenage entrepreuneurs, who received million of dollars from venture capitalists, experts forecasting trillions of dollars in revenues as well as the overwhelming media coverage contributed the the common belief that internet , and more specifically website, will be enough to sell anything!
Following the common frenzy, many marketing execs and business owners jumped in the bandwagon and built a website thinking that it will be the solution to business growth!

He worked for those who had strong basis, but for most the early 2001 dot com crash smashed the beautiful promises. The golden child became the black sheep. Marketing execs lost faith in websites, which became accessories.

Since 2003, the strong growth of online marketing reinforced by a large amount of media coverage fed by success stories such as Google has revived the dream with another "promising belief". This time, the answer to online success is more rational and makes more business sense. To be successful online we not only need a website, but we also need to do some promotion to attract traffic and sales using SEO, SEM PPC Advertising and more.
Well we are getting there, but the bottom line has not been grasped yet. The story continues and it is likely that the crash frustration will be revived too.

Think about Strategy and then Tools, not the opposite

One of the biggest misconception around SEO and SEM is that they are very effective tools, but they do not replace a strong marketing strategy and especially a strong value proposition.
Using SEO and SEM, you will be able to increase your brand visibility in search engines, but then why would people click on your listing?
Well they will probably click on your listing because you have something that they are looking for and they will get value purchasing it from your site. If your product is 10% more expensive than your direct competitor (accessible in a click)and you do not offer anything else they probably won't click on your listing or if they do, they won't probably buy.

Even if you do get some sales from these, the money invested into SEO and SEM won't probably deliver the expected results, the frustration will come back and the internet medium will be blamed. Could this lead to another crash?

Do SEO and SEM make sense for every business ?

Following a slightly different perspective, we could even ask the question:

Should every business use SEO and SEM?

Well in theory, it will depend on a business ability to generate competitive advantage over its competitors and deliver value to its customers. A business falling to do so, should invest some money in improving its offer rather than spending money on SEO and or SEM.

This trends could also have an impact on the way search agencies are conducting business. As mentioned earlier by Jeff Quipp, search engine agencies could only select clients with strong business models? The future winner in the search industry could also be search agencies , which offer an integrated approach including marketing consultancy and search consultancy?