TopRank Online Marketing

Archive for August, 2011


Lee Odden

MarketingSherpa 2012 SEO Benchmark Report

Lee Odden on Aug 31st, 2011     Online Marketing, SEO

MarketingSherpa SEO GuideOne of the report categories from MarketingSherpa that I’ve been reviewing for a long time, as in 5 or more years, is their coverage of Search Engine Marketing.  In particular, the Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition.  (See last year’s review here).

The sub-title is appropriately a great indication of the theme for this guide: “Research and Insights for Creating and Capitalizing on a Rich End-User Search Experience. This is a far cry from the days of “Boost Your Search Engine Rankings and More!”.  As Online Marketers have matured, there is an increasing focus on optimizing for customers and customer experience vs. the sole KPIs of rankings and traffic.

Lee Odden

#Optimize Your Online Marketing With Social Media, SEO & Content

Lee Odden on Aug 30th, 2011     Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media

OptimizeWith the boom in brands publishing content and the explosion of user generated content from social networks, the competition to stand out is only going to get more challenging for companies that rely on the web to attract new business.  Online Marketers that adapt, evolve and scale through a more holistic approach to marketing online gain both short and long term benefits, distinct from competitors reliant on the latest tactic du jour.

The process of change starts with acknowledgment that change is needed and then extends to identifying goals, understanding target audiences & communities, developing an approach and tactical mix for reaching business objectives. Assessing a starting point is usually accomplished through an audit, research and benchmarking for future performance tracking.

Lee Odden

SEO Training & Learning Resources

Lee Odden on Aug 25th, 2011     Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Training

SEO TrainingTo learn the art and science of SEO (search engine optimization) it is my belief that the best source is your own efforts at hypothesis, experimentation and refinement.

If you’re starting from scratch and really have no idea what SEO is, then certainly one of the popular SEO books would be a appropriate as well as attending an industry conference like SES, SMX, Pubcon or a regional event.

Both Google and Bing have made great efforts at providing webmasters with resources that are worth checking out as well. Online SEO training like that offered by Market Motive (affiliate link) can help those without the time to attend “real world” events.

Lee Odden

5 Tips on Crowdsourcing Content for Marketing

Lee Odden on Aug 23rd, 2011     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

crowdsourcing contentContent is an essential vehicle for corporate storytelling, attracting and engaging customers to buy. Organizations are beginning to get that, but struggle with content sourcing and how to scale. Besides hiring an editorial staff complete with corporate journalists, one of the most valuable sources of content for online marketing comes from your brand’s community.

Tapping in to what customers care about related to your products /services and what your brand stands for can be a gold mine of meaningful content.

I wrote about this recently on ClickZ, “Crowdsourcing and User Generated Content“, offering pros and cons plus a few tips. Here are 5 of those tips with some additional commentary based on discussions with audience members at the recent SES San Francisco conference:

Lee Odden

Lose the SEO Lingo and Optimize for Customers

Lee Odden on Aug 22nd, 2011     Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tips

SEO CopywritingNo doubt, you’ve searched Google or Bing and found web pages that were clearly “optimized” in the name of SEO. That kind of copy might help a page appear higher in search results (less so with Panda) but doesn’t do much for readers once they click through.

When I see those pages, it reminds me of the increasing importance of optimizing for customers and user experience vs. the common overemphasis on search engines.  Keep in mind, technical SEO and how bots interact with servers and web pages is timeless, but writing web copy that’s more useful and a better reflection of what customers are looking for, (vs. chasing the most popular keywords alone) just makes sense.

Lee Odden

Content Marketing Optimization: 8 Content Ideas for Business Blogs

Lee Odden on Aug 19th, 2011     Blog Marketing, Blogging, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Blogging ContentAt the SES conference this week I gave several presentations on Content Marketing: “Content Marketing Optimization” and “The Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing”.  In the CMO session, I provided SEO tips for each spoke in a hub and spoke model. The hub in this situation was a blog and one of the most common issues with business blog success is fresh content. In fact, one of the most common reasons companies don’t start a blog is over their concerns with creating useful content.

I can empathize with that concern and have addressed it with many companies over the past 7+ years that I’ve been blogging here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. To help anyone interested in ideas for creating business blog content, check out the following 8 tips. They’ve worked for us and for many of our clients and may very well work for you too.

Lee Odden

Optimize for Search, Optimize for Share – #SESSF

Lee Odden on Aug 17th, 2011     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO

Content SEOFor the past 8 years I’ve been a big fan of using content as a marketing vehicle to acquire new customers. In fact, during our agency’s 10 year history, we’ve never had a sales person and have engaged in very little outbound marketing (long before the notion of “inbound marketing” became popular).

The growing popularity of content marketing within the SEO world has evolved from white hat SEOs that would proclaim “content is king” to recent declarations that Google’s Panda updates have now validated the need for quality content. But if Panda is the primary reason your SEO efforts are focusing on best practices content marketing, then you’ll still be at a disadvantage.

Lee Odden

Meaningful SEO Metrics – #SESSF

Lee Odden on Aug 16th, 2011     Online Marketing, SEO, Web Analytics

SEO Metrics Panel SES San Francisco 2011The only session I’m liveblogging day one of SES San Francisco conference is this one, “Meaningful SEO Metrics: Going Beyond the Numbers” so the pressure is on the awesome panel including: Todd Friesen, Ray “Catfish” Comstock, Rob Garner and moderation duties handled by Richard Zwicky.

First up is Rob Garner, VP Strategy at iCrossing and a VP at SEMPO. Rob started things off with a description of the challenges that most often occur with measuring the search channel.

90% of search channel bugets go to paid media, but paid media supplies 20% of returns. Only 10% of budgets go to SEO but a huge percentage of search marketing performance can be attributed to SEO.

Lee Odden

Social Media & Content Marketing Success: Short & Long Term

Lee Odden on Aug 15th, 2011     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media

Social Media Content ROIThe number of inquiries we get at our Online Marketing Agency has stayed pretty steady over the past few years but there’s been a notable shift in interest specifically towards social & content marketing.  What’s interesting is the focus on leveraging social media marketing solely for direct consumer acquisition. What’s the problem with that? Nothing. But there’s a lot of missed opportunity by focusing only on the short term benefits of social media & content.

Here’s a typical approach: Create a campaign that leverages a creative content object (hub) supported by PPC, social ads, email, online PR and social content (all optimized for keywords of course) to drive traffic & awareness. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, we love integrated campaigns because there’s so much to work with in terms of promotable content, digital assets to be optimized and social engagement. This can be a great mix, but if the company never runs another campaign, or runs them without any coordination between campaigns, it can be like starting over each time.

Lee Odden

Optimize: 5 Essential Customer Touchpoints for Online Marketers

Lee Odden on Aug 11th, 2011     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media

customer centric online marketingA lot of self-centered corporate marketing is giving way to customer-centric ways of communicating the value of doing business.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot in terms of online marketing and have been sharing these ideas through client content marketing strategy. At the same time, more companies are actively seeking expertise with a customer-centric approach to content.

One area of change is search engine optimization and going after the most popular keywords (relevant to products & services) and optimizing to attract customers. The assumption is that the search result will compel users to click and the destination page visit results in a conversion.

Before search, there are many other behaviors to consider that influence the consumer’s confidence in what they find. It’s a lot more complex than needing something, searching, finding & buying with no other influences.  I believe you can optimize for those influences.

Lee Odden

Brands As Publishers & Publishers Are Marketers

Lee Odden on Aug 9th, 2011     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

brands as publishersThe trend towards “brands as publishers” over the past year has an increasing number of businesses entering the world of content in ways that are creating new opportunities for online marketing. The notion of brands publishing editorial is nothing new of course and has been known as Custom Media or Custom Publishing for years.

For example, P&G‘s “invention” of the radio and TV Soap Opera or both “Food and Wine” and “Travel and Leisure” magazines published by American Express.  Interestingly, corporate editorial content publishing often overlooks the value of SEO as a way to extend reach and grow readership.

Publishers on the other hand, are becoming much better marketers. While online and offline media have always been reliant on growing distribution and readership to warrant advertising based business models, the changing nature of media, shifts in consumer behaviors and increased competition has warranted even more marketing savvy to capture, maintain and grow readership.

Lee Odden

30 Days Out: Things I Wish Google+ Would Do

Lee Odden on Aug 8th, 2011     Online Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking

Google+Despite starting conservatively with my personal Google+ use, I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I thought of G+ and when we’d write a post about it here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog.  With all the hype and past track record with Google’s social media tests, I decided to wait.  I’ve been a bit more active on Google+ as of late and strangely enough, nearly 6,000 people have decided this was worth a Circle inclusion. You can find me here: Lee Odden G+.

Rather than focus on yet another “Top Tips for G+ Power Users” post, I thought I’d write about what Google Plus doesn’t do. Or rather, what is it that I’d like a social application like Google+ to do. Maybe you’ll relate to some of these “wishes” and an interesting discussion will follow. I’m pretty reasonable on some of these, but certainly more “pie in the sky” on others. It’s Google after all, and the bar is/and should be high.

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