It’s Not SEO Anymore, It’s Marketing. Deal With It.

Customer Centric SEO

Optimize For Customer Experience

When people learn I’ve recently written a book called Optimize they usually ask what it’s about. I say it’s about optimizing customer discovery and engagement with content. The response I usually get is something like, “Oh, cool. I thought it was about SEO.”

Well, in a way optimizing content and customer experiences is SEO. That’s because what most of the better SEOs practice today is really more about the promise of marketing: attracting, engaging and inspiring customers to buy.

Whether it’s Google, Social Networks, Online News Media, Digital Assets or any other channel/format for content – best practices optimization is in effect for smart companies that want an advantage.

Online Marketing Best Practices: Software & Technology Marketing

software marketing best practicesAt TopRank Online Marketing, we work with clients in many different industries each facing a unique set of problems.  One of the industries we provide online consulting for regularly is software.  Be it network monitoring, healthcare system and hospital software, email marketing, project management, or B2C software, promoting technology solutions has been a part of our expertise since TopRank was founded over 10 years ago.

Software development continues to become even more valuable in today’s social, mobile and overall digital world as companies begin to migrate what were once offline industries into SaaS and cloud based services.  It wasn’t too long ago that recruiting, sales, and marketing relied heavily on meeting in person or over the phone. With advancements in software and devices, organizations are now able to accomplish the same if not better results at a drastically reduced cost.

Online Marketing News: Facts Tell & Stories Sell, Start-up Tips from Tech Giants, Mobile Skyrockets, Breaking Up With Customers

The Content Marketing Institute Presents A Brief History of Content Marketing

The History of Content Marketing

From the dawn of time people with things to sell have been using stories to attract, engage, and retain customers ala #optimize. The infographic above from the Content Marketing Institute takes us all the way through the evolution of content marketing and provides some meaningful insight into what companies have done in the past to generate results. You might learn a thing a two, plus it’s a great read.

 “6 Start-up Tips From the World’s Biggest Tech Companies”  Every company has to start somewhere.  Famous companies such as Google, HP, and Microsoft were built on a set of core principals including creating long term customer relationships and listening to feedback.  This post provides tips from some of the largest companies in world on how to get through the start up phase of your business. Via Inc.

Meaningful SEO Metrics: 3 Ways to Approach Measuring Online Business Success #SESLondon

SEO MetricsWhat good is great content optimization and social media promotion without meaningful measurement? This session at SES London focused on three different perspectives towards measuring performance which were as relevant to any online marketing as they were to Search Engine Optimization.

In fact, that notion of “SEO is Marketing” lends really well with the trend a lot of people are talking about in the online marketing industry. Many SEOs are building up more strategic skills and approaching optimization more holistically. Ironically, this is my topic next week at Search Congress in Barcelona so this session proved to be quite useful for a more holistic online marketing measurement perspective (with a SEO slant).

45 SEO and Social Media Tools #SESLondon

Social SEO Tools

I really lucked out after moderating the morning session at SES London on Social Media Tools by joining the SEO Tools of the Trade session that followed. Both sessions had great speakers and I’ve decided to combine my notes for both into one post about social media automation tools and SEO tools.

The sources for the SEO tool recommendations include:  Richard Baxter of SEOGadget, Dave Naylor from Bronco, and Neil Walker from Just Search. The social media tool recommendations came from Andrew Girdwood from bigmouthmedia, Paul Madden from Automica and Marcus Tober from SearchMetrics.

Before I get into the list of tools, I feel compelled to share a quote that I’ve often used to give people context for tool use, since it’s so important to use them for scale, efficiency and to gain a competitive advantage:

The Key to Social Media Success is Understanding Your Audience

What are customers saying about your brand?

I recently attended a great presentation by Taylor Pratt (@taylorpratt) of Raven Tools at OMS in San Diego.  He focused on the importance of using content marketing for improved social engagement.

TopRank has been a long time and well-recognized advocate for the notion of customer centric content marketing.  Over the years we have seen SEO, social media, and content marketing industry change and grow at a rapid rate, so now more than ever marketers must create content to meet customer needs in order to execute a successful online strategy.  The social media game is not only evolving but the way that our audience consumes this information is constantly changing.

SEO Migration Plan – Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail – SES London 2012

big ben

No SEO Migration Plan is much scarier than this pic of Big Ben.

One of the classic scenarios for the intersection of web design/development and search engine optimization is when companies decide to update their website’s design and content management system. Businesses that expect new revenue and continued visibility to various audiences through search need to manage their web site assets for more than just ease of back-end maintenance and customer user experience.

Hopefully the situation doesn’t come to light like this:

A website manager sends an email on Friday saying, “We’re launching a new website on Monday, can you take a look at it to make sure our site optimization is ok?”.

Video Interview: Social Media Marketing at GM – Charlotte Blank, Manager of Social Media

Optimize Digital Marketing Interview Charlotte Blank GM

At the recent Online Marketing Summit in San Diego I caught up with Charlotte Blank, Manager of Social Media at General Motors to talk about digital marketing.  In this short interview I asked Charlotte a few fundamental questions about digital and social media marketing related to customers:

1. How does GM segment digital marketing activities between customer acquisition and retention?

Follow up: Does GM follow a social media editorial calendar according to customer buying cycles and personas?

2. With all the shiny objects of social media in the world, how do you go about deciding what to test and what to implement?

Take a look at the video and I think you’ll be interested in the customer-centric approach GM takes with social media and how time is allocated towards new customers, activating current customers as evangelists and their approach to filtering shiny social objects.

Essential Resources on Social Business for Online Marketing

socially optimized business - Dachis Group

Attributes of a Socially Optimized Business - Dachis Group

Add “social” to just about anything and you’ll boost interest in your topic by at least 50%. While many consultants appear to be employing that tactic to boost their interesting-ness, it’s not the case with the topic of social business.

As companies work to figure out what role social media will play with external marketing and communications, there’s a rapidly growing trend with progressive companies that are also viewing social media internally. By that I mean, they’re looking at social technologies as platforms to connect people within the company for the purposes of collaboration, tapping into the collective wisdom of the organization and bringing internal social media literacy to a level that enables external communications to scale.