Search Engine MarketingThe excitement felt at the SEM Community Mega-Event event, sponsored by Search Engine Strategies and Onward Search, was certainly a refreshing change from the constant hum of economic downturn news. The Wall Street Journal’s report of unemployment reaching nearly 10% by 2010 was certainly not the topic of conversation at the House of Blues in Boston on Monday night. About 200 search marketing professionals mingled with their peers as they heard industry leaders and hiring professionals line up to announce that their companies are hiring search engine experts.

After a short meet and greet, it didn’t take long for recruiting agents to dart forward to the front of the room, line up and get their company’s pitch in. Tom Ellis from Adverplex, Inc. was one of the first up to pitch his company and service while making the bold statement: We are hiring. Need look no further than the front page of every commercial newspaper and magazine headline; the point is being made clear, social media and SEM is the new wave of marketing and human communication. After speaking with Katie Donovan, the managing director at the Sempo Institute, it is clear that SEM is the backbone of this new integration of marketing, PR, advertising, internet research and social media. Companies of all sizes are just getting started using Pay Per Click Advertising to pursue active users to follow their blog and Facebook as the ROI for social media is beginning to be realized.

Although the tremendous potential of online networking is creating a stir, one question still remains: how to increase the ROI from SEM?