Lee Odden

What is Your Measure of Success

Have you been in the search marketing business for more than a few years? I am curious what your measures of success as a business are?

For some, it’ notoriety. It’s the pomp and circumstance of celebrity within their industry that gives them something to hang their hat on.

For others, it’s respect from their peers and certainly contributions to the growth of an industry are also perceived as indication of a company’s success. There’s also no arguing that financial success is an unmistakable yardstick from which to measure any businesses’ success.

I suspect it may be a combination of these “signals” that indicate success, but it really does depend on why the business was started in the first place. Many independent SEO consultants that I know are very satisfied that they get to do what they love to do and make decent money at the same time. There are others that use their search marketing expertise to monetize content in a very, very big way and clearly it’s a financial motivation that drives them.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed in the search marketing business is that with the web, it’s fairly easy for a company or even a person, to present an image of success online, even though “the books” don’t paint that rosy of a picture. It makes me wonder if people get a little too caught up in the notion that making the effort to become well known in an industry can be as much a distraction as it can be evidence of success? In other words, there appear to be a good number of SEO/SEM practitioners that are spending more time promoting their own brand and not building their business.

In the end, I believe that a businesses’ success has to do directly with the goals the founders set out to achieve, more so than any external evaluation. There are plenty of “lifestyle” companies providing tremendous value both to their clients and employees. At the same time there are always going to be companies built on creating momentum so they become attractive for acquisition or sale. ie, they get in to get out. It’s all about the money.

If you’re a search marketing consultant or if you run a SEO/SEM company, what’s your motivation? What is your measure of success?

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About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.