A Look at Search Marketing Standard Magazine

    June 8, 2007

Search Marketing Standard’s Boris Mordkovich offered me a subscription to their magazine a few weeks ago. I was dubious; I mean really, a magazine printed on paper about the internet? Despite my reservations I am a shameless blog whore so I instantly said yes.

A few weeks later I found myself thumbing through my shiny new Search Marketing Standard (SMS). It had a nice layout that was engaging, no fly by night stuff here. My bff Todd said that I would know the names and that proved to be true. Jaimie Sirovich, Kristi Serrano and Kim Krause Berg immediately stood out as people I knew. SMS made a good first impression on me.

The topic for the edition I received was about search engine marketing training. The primary article for it was a good overview of what’s going on in the field. David Temple wrote the piece. He covered the typical questions I see crop up around the topic. Topics like “How can you have a certification in a changing field?” and “Can’t you just learn it all on some forum?”. Then he listed a large list of ways to get some training. My first thought after seeing the list was “wow who paid who to get on that list?” and “How much do I pay?”. I wrote SMS and asked about the editorial process there and was assured that they have some integrity.

I sent some pointed questions to SMS’s, Boris Mordkovich, about pay per placement in the articles. Boris was kind enough to give the run down of how the editorial process works there. They recruit expert authors from around the industry and then have their editorial team help refine the articles. They don’t accept paid placement and maintain a strong separation between the content and the advertising. After reading the rest of the magazine I think they do a good job.

Digging further into it I noticed that SMS was organized into several sections. The topics were what one would expect paid search, seo, local search, and a few interviews. At the very front there was one called “Industry Analysis”. Being a linear type of guy I read that one first.

The Industry Analysis section was a bit bloggy in writing style. I don’t like that writing style in print. Off the cuff observations and speculation just rub me the wrong way when I see it in print. I asked Boris about the writing and he said that the authors tend to be bloggers and the section is supposed to be informal. I didn’t really think that fits well in a magazine.

Also in the magazine were an article that covered PPC and two interviews. I liked the PPC article. It was sort of a 50000 foot view of pay per click marketing; good for newbie clients. Of the interviews one was pretty good and the other one wasn’t so good. I didn’t like interview with Feedburners Rick Klau, it was just a bunch of softball questions. I liked the interview with Kristi Serrano and Perry Drake. The topic was the “State of SEM Training” and they did a great job of covering the topic.

The “Under the Hood” by Jaimie Sirovich (he’s the guy who wrote the php seo book) was my favorite piece. It was the geekiest section so how could it not be the coolest? Jaimie covered how to use AJAX and other design methodologies traditionally considered pariahs amongst seo types. This is a fight near to my heart that I had given up on. Discussing it with seo’s always ended with cursing at my inability to communicate how it can be done. Jaimie explained it wonderfully though; so I’ll just print it out and hand it out next time.

My overall impression was very positive and I’ll be recommending the magazine to my friends. I guess my whoredom totally paid off, I scored a great magazine.