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In this issue:

Predicting 2007: The Year in Preview

The Expanding Role of Search in Internet Marketing

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.

Happy New Year, everyone!

It's a new year and in an effort to keep you up-to-date on the most recent and most noteworthy industry shuffles, good deeds, rumors and hot topics, the Bruce Clay SEO Newsletter will now be sent out twice a month. We'll be sticking with our usual delivery date of the last day of each month, plus giving you an additional edition on the 15th.

But that's not all.

We're not just increasing the quantity of the SEO Newsletter; we're also expanding its focus while sticking to our commitment of ethics and quality. Like most of you, we've noticed the shift that's been taking place with big businesses and search engine optimization firms dipping their toes into the international market. To address this growing interest, the middle-of-the-month edition of the SEO Newsletter will be specially targeted to covering international search engine optimization and search marketing news. Our international coverage will begin in areas across the pond like Australia, London, South Africa and spread as the news develops. Wherever Internet marketing is expanding, that's where we'll be.

But SEO Newsletter traditionalists fear not, the quality of our newsletter has not changed. You will still find it bursting at the seams with authoritative articles on search engine optimization and search marketing. We haven't altered; we're just throwing in an international twist during the middle of the month.

So, sit back and enjoy your first installment of the newly-expanded SEO Newsletter. We're certain you'll find it even more informative and helpful than before. And don't forget, we'll be back again at the end of the month with a brand new edition. It's double the coverage on even more great search topics.

FEATURE: Predicting 2007: The Year in Preview

I am certain that 2007 will NOT behave in a traditional manner, whatever that is. While we continue to see industry growth, this will be a year where the somewhat premature mergers and consolidations of 2005 and 2006 are going to be restructured, if not totally written off as bad investments, and companies that grew beyond their means will pay a heavy price. We have had growth through acquisitions and mergers, but 2007 will be a more cautious time. I expect there to be more multi-firm cooperation before merging so players can get to know each other first, and this is a really good thing.

BACK TO BASICS: The Expanding Role of Search in Internet Marketing

For long-time search marketers it will come as no surprise that search has become a media darling. Pay-per-click advertising is the most popular online marketing strategy, and organic search engine optimization provides top click-through and conversion performance. Search is more popular than display ads and email marketing because of its excellent performance and ROI. Internet marketers should take note of the development in the search marketplace in order to better focus their advertising budgets.

Hot Topics

Defining Search Engine Optimization

The fresh slate of 2007 had the industry's search experts looking to define what search engine optimization is and where it's likely to go next. Is SEO an art? A science? A combination of the two or a perhaps psychology we hadn't even thought of? Defining SEO and where it's headed has been all the rage these first two weeks of January.

Kevin Lee, co-founder and executive chairman of, LLC., rekindled the conversation that was started back in October when fellow Did-it employee David Pasternack insulted many in the search community claiming "SEO is not rocket science". In his ClickZ article SEM and SEO: Rocket Science, or Just Plain Science? Part 1, Kevin responds to his colleague's backlash and defends his position, concluding that though search engine optimization and search marketing are both a science, they're not rocket science. There is an understood cause and effect relationship that can be applied to both.

A few days later Kevin was back for SEM and SEO: Rocket Science or Just Plain Science? Part 2, this time concentrating mostly on paid search, but discussing the complexities of both and affirming his previous conclusion.

On January 8th, Mike Grehan answered back with SEO: Art, Science, Bollocks Or What? Mike focused on the organic side of search engine optimization, and says though a monkey could be trained to do "textbook SEO", the science behind search is difficult and very much akin to rocket science. Mike's comment sparked a slew of debate, eventually spurning a discussion over at the Cre8asite forums in a thread entitled SEO: Art, Science, Bullocks or What?

A day later, WebProNews' Jason Lee Miller chimed in that SEO Was About To Change and a new Cre8asite thread "Interdisciplinary Research And The Future Of SEO" proposed looking at SEO from a new anthropological, psychological and education perspective.

Then, On January 10 the conversation was really stepped up a notch when:

  • Search Engine Watch's John Tawadros asked The Bigger Question of SEO
  • Jeremy Schoemaker explained what he meant when he commented that "onpage SEO is trash" during an episode of WebmasterRadio's SEO Rockstars
  • Industry expert Gord Hotchkiss added his two cents with The SEO Debate Continues
  • And Oilman aka Todd Freisen answered back with Shoemoney, A Fish Bowl, and Bullshit

To hopefully put an end to things, Danny Sullivan commented on the incessant debate at his new home, Search Engine Land. His post expanded on his initial comments from late December that for the uniformed or industry newbie, search engine optimization is rocket science. This time around Danny seemed exhausted by the never-ending debate, but his opinion hadn't changed. Search engine optimization is still relevant and worthwhile.

The wealth of conversation and passionate debate signals one thing: Even search professions sometimes have difficulty defining what they do. When broken down, search engine optimization is just a small slice of the larger Internet marketing pie. Learning and adapting to the ever changing methodologies may be a science, but how you get there is an art.


TechCrunch gave birth to the TechCrunch forums, Chris Garrett replaced Nick Wilson as Performancing's CEO, MarketSmart Interactive officially closed its doors, and the search community took note as Mike Grehan announced his new brand company, SearchVisible.

eBay paid $310 million for San Francisco-based StubHub, while Yahoo launched new mobile offering oneSearch and bought MyBlogLog for real this time for a reported $10 million.

Internally, Bruce Clay, Inc. updated the Search Engine Relationship Chart®. As always, the chart shows the engines with at least 1 percent of market share which means that a few circles have vanished this time around.

In international shuffling, The Guardian merged their print and online teams into one division to facilitate cross-platform deals; Yahoo! announced it would reorganize Yahoo! China as a business search engine, French social networking site Yonoo received $2.25 million in funding, and Google invested $5 million in Chinese video site Xunlei.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a job, Todd Malicoat is looking for a Web Developer/ Operators Manager and we're looking to hire for a few good people as well, including analysts in the areas of SEO, PPC and Web analytics.


Things to keep on your calendar:

  • The Affiliate Summit arrives in Vegas Jan. 21-23.
  • The Bruce Clay SEOToolset training scheduled for Jan 22-24 is sold out. The next course will be Feb 20-22.
  • Ad:Tech Sydney hits Feb. 7-8. If you're in town, make sure to stop by. Bruce will be there, as will members of the Bruce Clay, Australia staff.
  • Search Engine Strategies heads to London Feb 13-15.
  • Come for the conferences; stay for the training. There are still spots available for the Bruce Clay, Australia - Pty. Ltd. SEOToolset Training, Feb 12-14 as well as the Bruce Clay UK training course, Feb 27 - Mar 1.


The results of Search Engine Journal's 2006 Blog Awards were announced earlier this month. The awards two biggest prizes, Best SEO Blog of 2006 and Best SEO Blogger, were awarded to SEOmoz and Matt Cutts, respectively. Congrats to all the winners!

Special congratulations go to Google for being named the best place to work by Fortune, and for the success of Google Calendar, which according to Hitwise has increased its market share by 333 percent between June 2006 and December 2006, putting on track to surpass Yahoo Calendar in popularity.

Word on the Wire

Rumors are spreading that Google is gearing up to launch a Chinese YouTube, and that they may be readying a radio deal with CBS.

If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, In