When I speak in public or talk about SEM I always stress the 2 sides…. SEO and PPC.
My company’s story is pretty easy. We found success with SEO, made some decent checks with contextual advertising, then negotiated direct deals with affiliate programs that allowed us to leverage a higher payout for playing with PPC.
SEO – I started with Search Engine Optimization 3.5 years ago and its still my #1 focus. Its free but takes a lot of work and time. The whole goal behind SEO of course is to get top free listings in search engines without paying. Without my SEO skills I would be dead in the water. I often say I suck at SEO which mostly means for shoemoney.com I am just really lazy and do not care where it ranks.
PPC – I discovered Pay Per Click about 6 months ago when I set aside $40,000 to play with Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, Microsoft Adcenter and Adbrite. I had ZERO prior experience with paid placement in search engines. If you missed my adventure you can check out this post here and the 2nd part here.
Ok thats my thoughts on SEM … As for SEMPO I had always had bad experiences with SEMPO people (being solicited through email and in person from dirt bags using the SEMPO name). I have always refrained from speaking negatively in public about the group simply because I hardly know anything about them. That and I have some friends that I respect who are in SEMPO and rave about it. Anyway Greg points out how their chairman is using his position to push his own products and agenda. I met Dana Todd in Chicago and she seemed to be pretty cool. I wonder what her thoughts are on this.
Anyway you have to read Gregs Post Here. He does not post much but when he does its always worth the read.