Well, I’ve finally managed to read the entirety of the Summer issue of Search Marketing Standard — and I must say that I found it to be a pleasant read. The articles were well-written and interesting, which certainly makes for an overall high-quality experience.

If I had to say there was anything missing for me, it would be that I felt the material didn’t necessarily challenge me much. The articles didn’t make me confront new ideas about how search marketing could work, or challenge my notions of the world of search. Granted, I’m pretty well plugged-in to the industry: The fact that I’ve read moderately extensively in the search marketing field MIGHT just have an impact…. I’m not viewing the subject from the perspective of the intermediate marketing manager or business-owner who really needs the information, after all.

Disregarding the level of the information, the articles were uniformly well-written, informative, and interesting. My universe wasn’t shattered by the news, but there were tidbits scattered through out which were valuable reminders or interesting perspectives on the issues. It was filled with good stuff.

The fact is that there’s little value in targeting a print magazine towards advanced marketers: it’s FAR too small of a community for that to be successful. For a conference (like SMX Advanced), there’s a market: but for a magazine, not really. I think the magazine does an admirable job of addressing the appropriate market.

I did have one minor complaint about the magazine layout: I didn’t like the way the “Industry Analysis” section was laid out. It’s not that it was offensive or ugly…but the three-column continuous layout made it feel kind of like a run-on sentence. I would have liked to have seen more variance to the layout through those four short articles. This could have given each individual author a little more presence and perhaps allowed advertising to be spread out through the section rather than clumped together with two bottom half-page ads in a row. (I should say, clumped together with two easily ignored half-page ads in a row.) Repetition makes it much easier to know where not to look.

But, as I said, only a minor complaint.

The theme of the issue was great – SEM Training and Certification is definitely one of those areas that could stand some better publicity.

I’m looking forward to the next issue!

For full disclosure, I should mention that my subscription to Search Marketing Standard was delivered compliments of the publisher, and came with a bar of Santander Chocolate. So, I wasn’t paid to do this review…but I was definitely bribed. 😉