Co-authored with Christian Splaine, Research Associate on Forrester's B2C Marketing Team

Earlier in the year, we came out with our State Of Search Marketing, 2017 report. The takeaway? Search marketing is only getting more complex and harder to navigate. And so far that has played out to be true. In fact, we here at Forrester have received an increasing number of questions this year on how to traverse the tricky terrain that is search. So, we have donned our mountaineering hats and written two new reports aiming to help search marketers navigate to the top of the search marketing summit.

The first report maps out the current relationship (or lack thereof) between search and social. Inadvertently, search marketers have become isolated from social intelligence insights that the rest of their enterprises are benefitting from. The benefits of connecting social listening data with search can range from better keyword targeting to improved campaign timing. The key to using search and social insights in tadem is collaboration between the two teams, which marketers can foster by:

·         Analyzing search and social insights together. For those marketers that are reliant on agencies, understand that they have both a search and social practice as part of their offerings. Ensure that their search and social teams are working together and sharing insights, so that you can reap the rewards.

·         Using both a social listening and a search engine optimization (SEO) tool. Many marketers have sought technology to sidestep agencies and develop their own internal customer insights. By investing in social listening tools that can help crawl social networks to track conversations, as well as an SEO platform that can crawl the web for search keyword data, such insights can be unearthed. Together, search and social tools can become a helpful guide as marketers ascend towards empowerment.

Speaking of an SEO tool, that brings us to our second report. Our Vendor Landscape on SEO Tools and Technologies looked at the wide variety of SEO tools out there and found that there are three but distinct categories that marketers have to choose from:

·         Crawlers. The foundational aspect of all of these SEO tools is crawling, which involves canvassing the web or specific websites for things like its speed, accessibility, and keywords.

·         Keyword Research Tools. Keyword research tools move a step further, by taking the granular details that a crawler provides and recommending action for a marketer to take based on the data.

·         Comprehensive SEO Platforms. This last category of SEO tools includes the capabilities of crawlers and keyword research technologies and adds features like content planning or optimization.

Please reach out if you have questions or comments regarding our research on either report.