SMX East Liveblog: Tough Love … What I Wish CMOs Knew About Search Marketing

Internet marketers know the importance of SEO, SEM and content marketing … but that’s not always the case with the C-Suite. Hillary Glaser stresses the importance of maintaining SEO. If your CEO/CMO is unconvinced of the power of ongoing Internet marketing, Glaser’s insights are definitely must-shares. Erin Everhart shares the seven things she wishes execs understood. Tom Alison rounds out the session by sharing compelling statistics on the future of Internet marketing, and why PPC is necessary for branded terms.

smx cmos


  • Tom Alison, Managing Director, Vincodo
  • Erin Everhart, SEO Manager, The Home Depot (@erinever)
  • Hillary Glaser, SEO Manager, Lowe Campbell Ewald (@hilly293)

Hillary Glaser

It’s hard when you work in an agency and your CEO/CMO has so much on their plate, it’s hard for them to understand the importance of Internet marketing. Traditional and digital need to coexist, but the C-suite needs to know that.

Search takes time. It takes effort. In order for SEO/SEM to work, you need to invest, maintain and train.

SEO is not dead. SEO is integral. SEO is not just a function of content or coding – it should be woven into the entire marketing plan. Note:

  • Search is an investment
  • Link building is 100% necessary
  • Commercials, print ads and mailers can create search inquiries for your business. Make sure what you’re doing on and offline mirror each other.
  • Your competitors are doing marketing – you can do it better with SEO, SEM and social.
  • Organic search traffic doesn’t just appear out of thin air. And it’s not a one-time thing. It requires maintenance and consistent care.
  • Invest in full-time SEO, SEM and social media professionals. They’re worth every single penny that you pay them.


This is key to a great SEO campaign. SEO never ends – it’s ongoing. Maintaining a website is easier than having it break and having to rebuild it. We all know the algorithm changes constantly – if you’re not vigilant, that’s when fiascos can happen.


Constant training is essential considering all the algorithm changes. Employees – from top to bottom – need to attend conferences, have proper tools, etc. Stay ahead of the game with sharp skills – it benefits the entire company.

Erin Everhart

Sometimes CEOs/CMOs don’t understand how difficult of an undertaking ranking for terms are. SEO managers have to continually explain their roles.

The things Everhart wishes execs understood …

  1. Yes, you still need links to rank. Link building (and SEO) can never die. 92% of U.S. adults use search engines to find information. 56% percent use search engines at least once a day. That is proof SEO will never die – links are a key signal. Links will not go away, even though link building has changed.
  2. No, We Have No Idea How Many Links You Need. It’s different for every page. It’s vastly dependent on the keyword you’re targeting. What we do know, however
  3. We don’t have Content Just Lying Around. We’ve beat content to death, and “content is king” has marred by the content landscape – it’s not about just pushing out as much content as possible. Content should be quality. It takes time, it requires doing research to determine what content is right for your audience. We’re talking 15 minutes for a Facebook post alone. And, the task doesn’t end with hitting publish. You can’t just sit back and wait for the links to come. It doesn’t happen like that.
  4. No Place Exists to Just “Get Some Links.” Link building is tailored to the Content.
  5. And We Certainly Can’t “Ask for a Link.” That’s like asking a stranger to marry you – links have to be earned. And sometimes, all that earning requires is having great content. But more often, a relationship needs to be cultivated.
  6. This Will Take Longer Than You Like. There’s no way to know how long it will take to make you rank. Link building is an investment. It has to incubate before you can see any results.
  7. Make Sure You Set the Right Expectations. You have to let them know that this is not an easy or a quick process from the start.

Tom Alison

Know why things show up – CEOs are forever asking “Why is this showing up?” Or not showing up. Or showing up on an inappropriate query, etc.

On top of SEO, it’s necessary to do PPC for branded terms. CEOs like to ask about that. So, remind them:

  • There are 15-30% more clicks for terms that rank in organic search and paid search
  • Call and link extensions on ads lead to better traffic
  • Ads push competitors down or off your brand
  • Ads offer impression analytics
  • Ads can actually be inexpensive if optimized properly

Remember that advertising at large effects SEO.

Recent Google research shows that search ads create, on average, an 80% lift in aided awareness and 52% in unaided awareness.

Forrester estimates that 50% of U.S. offline retail sales will be influenced by the in Internet by 2017.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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