An Interview With Christine Churchill – speaker at SMX East

An Interview With Christine Churchill – speaker at SMX East

8th September 2011

As you might have noticed, State of Search is a media partner for SMX East. We are doing several interviews with speakers. We talked to Danny Sullivan, Julie JoyceDebra Mastaler and Rob Kerry.

Today we have a veteran in the industry: Christine Churchill. Christine Churchill is the President of KeyRelevance, a full service search engine marketing company offering search engine optimization, strategic link building, and pay per click management.

Could you tell our readers what your talk will be about?

Certainly Bas. I’m the speaker for the “Keyword Research and Copywriting for Search Success” session. This is one of the hour-long Boot Camp sessions. I really like the longer solo sessions because it allows the speakers to go into more detail on a subject than we can cover in the regular panel sessions.

Keyword Research is a favorite topic of mine because I see it as such an extremely important area. It really is the first step in any online marketing. If you skip it or do it wrong, none of your marketing campaigns will be successful. In today’s economy, there is no room for mistakes, and doing proper keyword research at the beginning of your marketing campaign will help you lay a strong foundation to spend your budget wisely.

In the Keyword Session, I’ll walk through the keyword research process covering the steps involved and I’ll provide the audience with resources and tools so they should be able to do keyword research with confidence. I’ll even do a few live demos of some of the popular keyword tools so people can see what the tools look like from a user’s perspective. I do demos a lot and have been told that this is often a favorite part of the presentation. There are some tricks to setting up the tools properly to get the best results. For example, most people using the Google Keyword Tool forget to select exact or phrase match AND unselect the broad match default. Not doing this can give you erroneous results. I’ll also show some of the new features of some tools that are very helpful to the search marketer.

As I go through keywords I’ll be suggesting ways to get insights into phrases so you can better understand the user intent behind why the searcher used that particular phrase.

Finally, I’ll also be covering copywriting for search success. In this segment of my presentation, I’ll show ways to elegantly incorporate the keywords into your HTML pages, blog posts, press releases and social media.

My hope is that when audience members leave the room they will be ready to conduct their own keyword research and have a good understanding on how to use the phrases in a natural manner in their copy. It’s not about tricking a search engine; it’s about feeding the search engine the correct information in the right place so that the engine can more accurately assess your site’s content.

What makes SMX a conference you want to speak at?

I remember going to Danny Sullivan’s first conference back in 1999 and feeling like I was with my “own kind” – you laugh, but back then we didn’t really have an established search industry like we do now. Most of us who worked in search back then were lone wolf marketers. I was an in-house marker and no one in my company had a clue what I did…only that I sent a lot of traffic to the site. Going to the conference was a pivotal moment for me. I was so excited to be with people who understood what I did and spoke the search language.

Jump ahead twelve years and we see the search industry as a recognized career field. Danny helped morph the industry into what it is today…a real profession. He’s too modest to admit it, but Danny is the founding father of the search industry. He understands search and its evolution, and he’s always been there providing guidance and insight along the way. To put on a First Class conference you need that depth of understanding and history with the industry to get perspective on what’s important.

The SMX Conference provides sessions at different levels of expertise so both beginner and guru can learn some new tricks. If you are in the search industry, search conferences are
where you go to continue your professional education. This industry is too dynamic to try to stay up-to-date by yourself. Between the well thought out sessions and the networking where you can meet and pick the brains of the best and brightest, SMX is a fabulous, fun place to expand your knowledge. If you work in the search industry or are thinking about it, you need to attend. The way I look at it, I learn something every conference that more than pays for the expense. It’s an investment in yourself and your future.

Do you feel the industry is changing now that Google is entering the world of social with Google+?

The search industry is constantly changing. That is the nature of the beast. The Google+ is just the latest change of many. Next year it will be something new. That is characteristic of the search marketing world….it is never stagnant. It is fast paced and dynamic…I guess that is much of the appeal.

What are your thoughts on Google’s social efforts?

Google has been highly successful and innovative in a number of areas and clearly has set the standard for search engines.

Social is a different world and I don’t think Google truly believed in social until recently. I remember when they first launched Orkut….it was the rage for about 6 months and then everyone ignored it. If Google as a company had encouraged Orkut, it might have been more viable, but I don’t think Google embraced social back then.

Hopefully Google’s latest social endeavor will have a longer lifespan. They are in a difficult spot though. It is hard to regain market share when Facebook has such a commanding lead in the social landscape. However, we are talking Google here. If any company can come from behind they can. Time will tell.

What do you think is the search marketers’ future? Is there a job for him or her in 4 years time?

Absolutely. Search marketers or more broadly “online marketers” will continue to be in heavy demand. The job might have a new title and we might be utilizing new techniques but marketing is a vital part of business and it’s not going away.

The principles of marketing and finding out what motivates people into taking action (be it buying, donating, signing up for a newsletter, etc) is an integral part of business, whether it is online or in person. Where we get in front of the target audience may change – in this case it might be a new social media site that doesn’t exist today – but marketing will be with us in the future.

To stay competitive, search marketers will need to continually add new skills and knowledge to their toolset, but the work isn’t going to disappear – quite the opposite. I see it expanding. So, if you are in search or thinking of getting into it, the demand will be there if you are willing to work and constantly grow in your knowledge.

Thanks Bas for including me in your interviews. It was an honor to be part of your series. See you at the show.


More posts about SMX East 2011


Be sure to also look at our overview page of SMX East 2011

The coverage of SMX East on State of Search in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search. To get your free trial, give a card to this blogger in person at the conference or drop us an e-mail.


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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