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Gord Hotchkiss

Gord Hotchkiss is President and CEO of Enquiro, Canada's leading search engine marketing firm and one of the top firms in North America. His articles are regularly published in both on and off line newsletters, including Marketing Monitor, SEOToday, Marketing and many other trade journals. Enquiro's own information portal is www.searchengineposition.com.

With an extensive 20 year background in the marketing and advertising business, Gord has been working to increase client's search engine visibility since 1996 and has specialized in search engine marketing since 1999.

The Strength of Weak Ties and Search

SEO in 2007 means dealing with a number of organizational challenges. Overcoming these challenges will help your organization's online presence and in turn will have a positive impact on lead generation for your business. In the end, an effective SEO campaign can be so rewarding that it in fact pays for itself and then some…...

K-Fed Up with Celebrity Skinned Search

You may have noticed earlier this week that K-Fed is actually launching his own search engine. Well, to be more accurate, he's slapping his face on an existing back end, so to speak. Personally, the more Federline-free my world is, the better....

Jimbo Wales and People Powered Search: A Long Shot

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is placing a fairly large bet that people can trump technology in the search engine game. He's putting $4 million (of other people s money) plus an undisclosed "large amount" from Amazon on the line, betting that he can steal 5% of the total search market away from Google with his new project, Wikia....

A Lesson Learned from the Pasternack SEO Contest

Why is search engine marketing defined by diametric opposition? It seems like for every question there are two extreme answers. And these polar opposite viewpoints are held with a tremendous amount of passion. The least questioning of our position can unleash a firestorm of retribution....

Don't Think Click Fraud, Think Negative ROI

But when you do an honest appraisal on the issue, the search engines would rather we get over our preoccupation with click fraud and start thinking of it as part of a much bigger whole, the return we get on our search marketing investment. This in no way negates the importance of click fraud as an issue....

I Have Seen the Future (Thanks to Regular Coffee)

Right now the majority of our access probably happens in two places: at work or at home. Mobile access is generally limited to checking e-mails right now, and even that is a truncated experience where we're scanning subject lines to see if there's any fires we have to put out....

The Inevitability of Personalized Search

Whether or not you have Search History enabled, you get personalized search turned on by default. This means that Google will subtly change your results, based on various “signals”, like what you have on your personalized Google Homepage and what sites you’ve bookmarked as a Google favorite....

The Social Fabric of Search

There seems to be a lot of buzz around social search but exactly how is social search shaping our search experience and why we should be looking at it in the future? We're going where we haven't been before and it helps us when people who share our interests can guide the way....

SEM's Seven Year Itch, Part Three

What we're not particularly good at is stepping back and looking at the big picture. The how's and why's of search, and most importantly, the who's. While this is true across the search space, it's most apparent with the organic optimizers. Virtually no one in the SEO world has given a hoot about messaging, user experience or intent. It's all about crawling your way to top spot....

SEM’s Seven Year Itch, Part Two

There’s another controversy stirring in the SEM blogosphere, and this one is revolving around the very future of organic optimization, the yin to the paid yang of search. While this debate rears its head with predictable regularity every few years, there’s a different flavor to this one....

SEM’s Seven Year Itch, Part One

There’s been a lot of speculation lately about the future of Matt Cutts. A few of Cutts’ posts and a recent interview have dropped the odd hint that the world of Google and the world of Mr. Cutts may not always be one and the same. While this is certainly noteworthy on many levels, it’s only one symptom of a much bigger issue, and one that will change the search landscape dramatically....

A Day in the Life of the Average American

The US Census Bureau has just released their new statistical abstract, and according to them, here's how the average adult or teen will spend their time in 2007. I tallied up my time on the Internet, actively using it, and found I averaged about 4 hours a day. That means I spend almost 2 months on the Internet in a year....

Yahoo’s Quiet Guy is Moving On

Tim is a pretty quiet guy. In fact, many readers of this column probably don’t know who Tim is. Tim is the head of Yahoo’s Anti Spam patrol, so he’s a bit like the Matt Cutts of Yahoo. But not quite. In an industry notorious for flocking the algorithmic cops at the major engines Tim Converse can walk through most shows unscathed and unrecognized....

The Elusive Click Fraud Issue: Google's Side of the Story

There are few issues in search marketing more thorny and convoluted than click fraud. It’s the elusive problem, the industry scourge that seems to defy definition. Everyone wants to know the extent of click fraud, but to date, there seems to be no credible numbers to attach to the problem....

Search and the Bumpy Ride Ahead: The Winds of Change in Chicago

There's a collective holding of our breath, to see what's next. One of the wonderful things about search, the fact that it's the intersection of so much activity on the internet, is also its biggest challenge. To truly leverage search, you have to have one foot in a lot of different worlds. And that's tough to do as a small independent shop....

SEMPOs Snapshot of Search

In something as dynamic as Search, its tough to keep your bearings. Obviously, year over year sizing of the markets is one yardstick, but there are a lot of other factors that we like to keep an eye on....

Search Gets Passionate in Vegas

That's what I love about search, especially where it sits today. It breeds passion. It demands passion. It grabs you by the throat and makes you realize that it could change everything....

The Coming Storm: Search and Consumer Privacy

It makes all kinds of sense for the worlds of search and behavioral targeting to overlap, and the conjunction of those two worlds is a very powerful place indeed for the marketer....

All Hands on Deck! Search Marketing is Crossing the Chasm

Last week, I gathered in New York with 12 other search marketers for SEMPOs bi-annual planning retreat. Observations included the current build or buy search marketing capabilities dilemma faced by the big agencies, the red hot demand for anyone with search marketing experience, the sudden development of search marketing in house groups in large organizations and the current push for industry wide certification of SEM practitioners....

10 Rules for Making B2B Search Marketing more Successful - Pt2

Using search as a B2B lead gen channel provides some unique challenges, but it can be very powerful. These are purchases that require a significant amount of online research. We know that's a perfect fit for search, but just be prepared to be patient for the pay off....

10 Rules for Making B2B Search Marketing more Successful

Weve learned first hand some of the realities of marketing in the B2B arena through research and working with clients, and in the interest of making the path a little less bloody, Ill share the Top 10 things weve learned. The first 5 are this week, and Ill follow up with the final 5 next week....

A Place for Pay per Call

Pay per Call is an alternative channel thats growing rapidly. The Kelsey Group estimates the Pay per Call market will more than double for the next five years, with revenues topping 3.7 billion by 2010. That makes it a revenue producing opportunity that more and more online publishers are beginning to pay attention to....

What Happens When the Whole World becomes Searchable?

The fact is, the whole world is becoming digitized and indexable. It's not a new trend, it's been making inroads for the last two and a half decades, but there seems to be a tipping point of convergence that's rapidly approaching. And Google is doing its level best to digitize every book ever written. So the print world is well on the way....

Tales of Pogo Sticks, Bouncy SERPs and Sticky Pages

The position, the messaging and the landing page experience all assume that we've captured that all important first click. But what about the subsequent clicks?. In the search business, this is called pogo sticking, the bouncing back and forth from the search page, clicking on a number of sites in sequence in an effort to find what we're looking for....

Life After SEW for Danny Sullivan

After 10 years, Danny Sullivan was leaving Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Watch. Jaws could be heard dropping around the world. Danny is synonymous with both the shows and the site. And ten years is an eternity in this biz....

Psst, Want a Hot Spot Paisano?

Hello, my name is Gord, and Im addicted to the Internet. I didnt realize I was addicted until I recently spent three weeks in Europe and had to go through withdrawal. But after hanging around hotel lobbies, trying to get a hit from a local hot spot, Ive had to face up to the fact that I cant kick the habit. I need my broadband, baby!...

Finding Fame Online, and Fame Finding You

Search acts as the connector to these nuggets of information. We gain the benefit of others that have been there and done that. It separates the good from the bad in a way that defies gaming the system and keeps everyone honest. Not every traveler does their travel research this way, but the number is growing every day....

Two Views Of Tempus Fugit

In the world I normally live in, time is constantly ticking towards the next deadline, and those deadlines usually come in sets, stacked on top of each other, dictating that impossible amounts of work get done before the seconds tick away. Companies have to go from start-up to sell-out in years, or even months. The Internet encourages and enables this compression. It's a phenomenon that goes hand in hand with the digital wiring of the world, but for some reason, it's much more noticeable in the new world than the old....

Whats Up with Verticals?

When vertical results appear on the major engines, they appear smack in the middle of the hottest part of the page. After a number of eye tracking studies, we can say with a degree of certainty that most searchers (upwards of 80%) at least look at the top sponsored ads and the top 3 or so organic ads. That means that vertical, wedged in between, will be at least grazed over by a lot of eyeballs....

The Rule of 3 in Search

In this study, we are looking at interactions with Google, compared to MSN and Yahoo! Many of you may have heard me speak about the results at various shows. Recently, one finding in particular seemed to be screaming out to be noticed. Being a compassionate sort of researcher, I listened....

Dear Google Search History

Sometime ago, I signed up for a Google Analytics account for my blog and at the time, I somehow activated Googles Personal Search History function. Because I have a laptop, and tend to use the same computer at work and at home, I was unknowingly capturing a pretty complete snapshot of all my search activity. Just a few days ago, I realized I was still logged in. Today, I took a look back at 2 months of search activity....

Branded Terms in Search Results: Pre-Mapping in Action

Searchers are incredibly adept at focusing in on just the portion of the results page that interests them. The time required to relocate to the prime real estate is literally a fraction of a second. Yet that real estate isnt always the same spot. It varies depending on query and intent. It also varies by user, but even the same user will navigate the real estate of the listings in very different ways, depending on what theyre looking for....

Wise Words about Branding from the Usability Sage

If ever youre looking for justification for not using large graphics on a site, look (sorry, no pun intended) no further than eyetracking heatmaps. In session after session, users skirt around large graphic blocks, focusing their interaction on text and navigation....

Search and the C Level Ceiling

Search just hasn't broken into the spotlight at the top of the corporate ladder. Senior execs don't get search, they don't want to get search and they certainly don't want to move significant budget to search. As you move down the corporate ladder, the love affair with search gets more ardent....

American "Idol"izing Google Trends

I'm going to jump on a pop culture bandwagon, but I'm doing it to prove a point. Search trends reflect the interests of our society, and they can provide an invaluable way to gain intelligence about what's on the public's mind....

Tales of Mobile Woe

My first lesson with mobile data roaming came soon after getting the iPAQ. We hopped in the motorhome and headed to California. We reached San Francisco and in trying to locate Molinaris delicatessen we just searched for the website, found the address and walked right to it. This was what being wired was being all about! Then we got home and found out what being hosed was all about. We got the mobile bill: $800 in data charges for two weeks!...

Welcome to the Search Marketing Sweat Shop

From the outside, it seems like anyone with an IQ topping 60 could market this way. So agencies launch search divisions. Large companies find people that seem to have no pressing items on their to-do lists and make them the new Director of Search Marketing. Everyone throws their hat in the ever increasing search marketing ring....

Quintura, Staking the Future on Semantic Mapping

A new desktop search tool, Quintura, is betting that a new user interface based on the concept of semantic mapping is just the ticket they need to win the search lottery. It's a powerful concept in understanding how people search and something we identified in our previous research....

Relevancy Rules in Sponsored Search Ads

The reason top sponsored ads are effective is because they're placed in the highest traffic portion of the page. We orient ourselves in the page on the upper left. Our destination is the top organic ad. Top sponsored ads are placed in the middle of the most popular real estate on the SERP....

Were Jet Setters, But Wheres the Paparazzi?

My perception of reality is getting a little skewed. When you do too many industry shows in a row, you get a distorted sense of your own importance. In SEM circles, Im fairly well known. But my accomplishments hold little weight with my wife, just in case you were wondering. The line "Do you know who I am?" usually lands with a decidedly flat thud whenever I try it....

Why Search May Not Fragment

As search becomes an increasingly important online staple, I believe the question of where all that activity will take place also takes on increased importance. For that reason, Id like to play devils advocate (in this case, the devil being the established search players, Google, Yahoo and MSN) and offer some reasons why we might continue to consolidate our search activity on these familiar partners....

Branding, Search and the Definition of Engagement

One of the issues with search has been its value as a brand building channel. The prevailing wisdom is that search is not a particularly effective brand building marketing medium. I believe this to be true, but it's because we're trying to apply the first definition of engagement, the idea of engaging with a brand, not a product....

Google is now Smarter than Daddy

It was a sad day in the Hotchkiss household. While doing her homework, my twelve year old daughter Alanna had a question. Until now, she always asked me, her father. This time, she went straight to Google....

Disney Disses Search, But Misses the Mark.

Yes, Disney has invested billions in creating the machine that can churn out entertainment. But the distribution channels for that content have changed irrevocably. We, the consumers, have millions of options, we have control, and search will be the gate through which we allow that content to flow through. That puts search in the drivers seat....

Video and the Online Paradigm

Online interactions are generally ruled by the left brain, the logical side of our intellect. Generally, we interact with most websites the same way we did in 1996. We read text, we click on links, we glance at the occasional graphic. For the most part, our right brain is idling....

The Bold and the Beta: Two Approaches to Search Innovation

When youre penetrating a mainstream market, every day you can hold an advantage over the competition is significant. The longer something remains in beta before it becomes a significant advantage to your main user base, the longer your competition has to even the playing field....

Enough Talk About Search Bubbles!

There was also a lot of press last week about Google's share price eroding because their CFO George Reyes said he expected slowing growth in the next quarter. So what's the deal? Is search growing, or isn't it?...

Ask.com: The Dark Horse in Search?

Barry Diller likes long shots. Hes built a career betting on the long shot. Fresh from killing off his venerable butler, Jeeves, Diller showcased the new Ask.com at the New York Search Engine Strategies show. In a keynote conversation with Danny Sullivan that opened the show, Diller made it clear thats hes in this for the long haul....

Is Search a Leech on the Internet?

Search works. Users know that. With that come some positives, and some negatives. The way I see it, search brings much more to these content sites than it takes away, so it's not a parasitic relationship....

Psst, Try My Search Engine and Ill Give You a Turkey!

The desperation shown by Yahoo! and MSN represents their admission of the importance of search in the new online ecosystem. I recently mentioned to someone that MSN has already conceded the first round of the search game to Google....

The Search Experience has a De Facto Standard (for Now)

Google's interface has become the de facto standard for search. Even now, all three of the major properties have very similar search results layouts, with only slight variations to distinguish them. It's in those variations, the nuances of design and layout, where the differences in the user experience can be found....

The 50 Millisecond Judgment

How important is that first, split second decision in online interactions? Because of something called a halo effect, it can be vital. If we have a positive emotional response in those first few milliseconds, our logical mind will kick in and try to rationalize that response....

The Real Cost of SEO: Its not Budget, Its Believers!

There is a cost to SEO. It's not the budget required, which is minimal relative to other marketing initiatives. It's the time and patience required on the part of one person to get the buy in that's needed to make SEO happen....

Lights, Camera, Point and Click!

Search is the engine that underlies all this functionality. It is the bridge that connects intent and content. This core functionality that will drive almost all online connections in the future....

Men and Women and Search - Part 2

Men appreciate the internet's ability to help them get the job at hand done. Women are social creatures. They multi task better. They are more comfortable browsing. Women will be more patient with non-obvious navigation options....

Men and Women and Search

Men and women have very distinct reasons for going online. Men tend to retrieve information. For woman, the internet is first and foremost a communication vehicle, with email usage a prime reason....

We Are What We Search? Hopefully Not!

I have said, on several occasions, that our search patterns are a reflection of our society. If that's true, our society's intellect is about as deep as the ring left by a Starbucks coffee cup....

What Happens on the Road, Stays in the Blog

This is a dynamic altering of how we communicate. The degrees of separation that divide our global community become short circuited online. We now exist with one foot in the real world and one foot in the virtual...

Targeting Your Search Campaign: Seeking 42 Year Old Female in Kalamazoo

In the recent full speed game of one-upmanship that the search engines are playing, it won't be long before Google and Yahoo have introduced their own targeting tools. This will be the new reality of search marketing....

Matt Cutts: Celebrity Google Engineer

On behalf of the webmasters and SEO's of the world, I do have to thank Matt. For a man who literally holds the power of online life and death for many webmasters, Matt's just a really nice guy....

A Whiter Shade of Black

Up to now, online has been the Wild West. The sheriff hadn't come to town yet. Black hats could get mediocre sites to the top of the rankings because the vast majority of legit sites had no clue about search engine optimization....

Battelles The Search: Google, Search and a Brave New World

Despite the name, The Search is not just another search book. It's a probing look at the crux of what makes the Internet such a powerful force for change....

I Speak Search

We are becoming adept at paring down complex concepts into a few well chosen words. There is no unnecessary filler. Even if we do throw in a few thes and whats, the search engine conveniently strips them from our query....

The Extreme Makeover of Integrated Search Planning

The rest of your marketing has one purpose: generate engaged interest. If successful, where does your prospect turn? Odds are very good that it will be a search engine....

If I Had $4 Billion - Part 2

If you were Google, you had access to $4 billion in cash, and you were taking on Microsoft on their home turf, what would you do?...

If I Had $4 Billion

The problem with search is the ease of switching. Going from Google to Yahoo! or MSN is a quick click. There are no barriers to exit....

Murthy vs the Goliaths: The Power of Search at Work

As search marketers, we often assume that the whole world knows about the power of search. Sometimes we forget that a large part of the world is still waking up to the new reality of online marketing....

Confessions of an Eye Tracking Junkie

We dont spend a lot of time on a search results page. Participants spent an average of about 6.5 seconds on the results page. In that time, they scanned just under 4 listings before they clicked on one....

Is there a Free Lunch in Search?

In an article entitled Search:2006, written almost 2 years ago I made some predictions about what the search game would look like in 3 years....

Getting from Point A to B with Search

No longer is online search just a way to find what we didnt know existed. Now its the fastest way to get to even our most familiar online destinations, making a comprehensive search strategy even more important for every online business....

Blink, Thin Slicing and the Art of Search Marketing

As long as were on our favorite search engine, we cant commit to anything that cant be corrected with a couple of clicks on the back button....

Search Will Get You the Lead, But the Rest is Up to You

If someone is reaching out to you, theyre motivated. Their money is sitting on the table. They want to buy. You dont want to give them any more time than necessary to find someone else to buy from....

Redefining Search Optimization

We search marketers use the word optimize a lot. We use it to talk about increasing our positions in the organic listings, or maximizing our bidding strategies, or fine tuning our landing pages....

I Love to Search but Words Get in the Way

We all have different intentions when we go to search. The challenge comes in the search engine trying to interpret my intentions based on my key phrases....

Searchs Multiplier Effect: The Hidden Value of SEM

The idea of paying just for your performing ads and the accountability that brings has fueled searchs meteoric rise as a marketing channel....

Can Search help the Customer be Heard?

How about search engines? Can they provide customers with a podium to be heard from? Theyre already the most popular sites online, so critical mass and traffic certainly wont be a problem....

The 70/30 Rule of Search

Every day, new research is coming out which points to there being a vast, untapped potential in search. Weve picked the low hanging fruit, but theres a whole tree full of rich marketing results that we have to reach a little further for....

Rashtchy's Golden Search turns Platinum

This past fall, Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy doubled his search revenue projections for the next five years. And, he bumped these projections less than two years after they originally came out....

A Battle Plan for MSN Search

What we really want is a better way to search. Something that gets us just the destination and information we want, quickly, seamlessly and, while youre at it, it wouldnt hurt to wow us with some new innovation as well....

Online not the place for the Road less Travelled

As search marketers, we need to spend more time understanding the territory that our target consumers travel through. All too often, we try to stake our claim to online territory, never knowing if our customer might even come that way....

Black vs White: SEM Soul Searching

At the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago, there was a new addition to the session list: Black vs White, And Lots of Gray! Danny Sullivan wanted to stage a showdown between known black hat SEOs and those that have chosen to tread the purer path....

All Roads Lead Online: Convergence and the Future of Advertising

As media converge online, the distinctions between various forms of advertising will disappear. Branding and direct, electronic and print, it will all become part of one seamless marketing continuum online....

The Growing Pains of Search

The little search marketing companies are unfurling their new wings and trying to peer over the edge of the nest. Suddenly, VC firms are looking at search marketing technology with stars in their eyes. It's beginning to seem that a few people are going to make a lot of money in this industry. And we've even got internal politics. All signs of an industry thats finally ready for a run at the main stage....

Inside the Mind of the Searcher Part II: Search Behavior Explored

Search marketers have to step back from our obsession with tactics and look at the bigger strategic picture. We have to understand behaviors of our target customers. We have to fully explore the nature of their online experience. We have to understand the potential of this marketing channel fully. If we don't, how can we hope to pass along value to our clients?...

Inside the Searcher's Mind: It's a Jungle in Here!

We decided to try to peel back the shroud that covers common search behavior. We wanted to see just how people searched, and ask them what went through their minds during the search process. It was a fascinating study, and resulted in a 30 page white paper. Today, I want to cover just a few of the things we uncovered....

Flying Blind? Search Marketing Metrics

Deciding on the right metrics is not an easy task to take on. It requires a fundamental understanding of your own goals and strategies, your customer's needs and behavior and the values and advantages that sets you apart from the competition. But if you're making a significant investment in your website and marketing that website, without metrics not only are you flying blind, you're also throwing money out the window....

Searching for Dominance: What Will Microsoft Search Look Like?

Today, the spotlight is on Microsoft, and how they will likely change the face of web search. In this column, I won't be talking about industry impact. Instead, with the help of our Organic Search wiz, Rob Sullivan, I'm looking at the promise of Microsoft's research itself, and what the tool may actually look like....

Google's Florida Update: One Month Later

As we mentioned in the last column, we expected this latest update to be a work in progress. Google confirmed this at the SES show. I pointed out a few instances where the relevancy of results were suffering badly from the broad exclusion of commercial sites. I expected Google to tweak the algorithm to allow for some of these sites to come back in. That seems to be exactly what is happening. Changes seem to be happening almost daily. On the more competitive searches, the new rankings do seem to be catching a lot of the previous spam....

Florida Fever: The Google Update Uproar

The most dramatic impact will be the devastation of the affiliate industry. Just 3 short weeks ago I listened to 4 major internet marketers say they didn't bother with organic SEO because their affiliate partners did it for them. Those days are over. If Google was targeting anyone with Florida, it was affiliate sites....



About the Author

Gord Hotchkiss is President and CEO of Enquiro, Canada's leading search engine marketing firm and one of the top firms in North America. His articles are regularly published in both on and off line newsletters, including Marketing Monitor, SEOToday, Marketing and many other trade journals. Enquiro's own information portal is www.searchengineposition.com.

With an extensive 20 year background in the marketing and advertising business, Gord has been working to increase client's search engine visibility since 1996 and has specialized in search engine marketing since 1999.

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