One of my latest projects at work is helping to define and drive a search strategy for the organization. Given that I was something of a neophyte in this arcane field, it’s been a huge learning curve the past couple of weeks – organic vs. paid, “white hat” vs “black hat”, link farms, spamdexing…it’s a whole new lexicon to a strategy geek like me. I’ve read a bunch of interesting posts from the recent SEO Conference in San Diego, including this one on buying links. The most striking lesson for me is how critical search technology, and related tactics, have become in this Web environment. I sort of knew it was important, but had little understanding of the level of activity (and angst!) below the surface. And the landscape keeps on shifting, as search companies like Google tweak their secret algorithms, SEO consultants hype their evolving models and content continues to proliferate. For PR practitioners, understanding how to make materials “search friendly” has become a prerequisite rather than a nice-to-have skill.  Marketers eager to pump the profile of their websites or videos need to put as much thought into tags and linkage tactics as the actual content. And of course, there is no shortage of folks with dubious credentials eager to sell magic formulas to those seeking an edge. Add this to the long list of topics marcom professionals will need to learn as part of the Web 2.0 curriculum, if they haven’t already.

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