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Lee Odden

10 Tips: Pre-Hire Checklist for Digital Marketing Agencies

Lee Odden on Jul 23rd, 2012     Business of SEO, Online Marketing

brand agency checklist

A lot of agency blogs don’t talk about the diversity of client experience because they think it may reflect poorly, but it’s simply a reality of varying personalities, a dynamic market and changing organizations. Clearly the goal is retention and our online marketing agency has had clients for over 10 years!

When agencies don’t over-promise and under-deliver, manage expectations properly and actually get great results, you’d think the company and agency relationship would be unstoppable.

With the dynamic nature of digital and online marketing as well as the normal changes in business from new and discontinued products to staff changes to mergers and acquisitions, the assumed success formula for an effective agency and client relationship isn’t always so simple.

Lee Odden

Classic Marketing Consulting Fail: “What We Got Here is a Failure to Implement”

Lee Odden on May 21st, 2012     Business of SEO, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

implementation failIf you’re old enough to remember the classic movie, Cool Hand Luke, there’s a moment when a rebellious prisoner played by a young Paul Newman refuses to “go along” with prison rules despite some grueling punishment. The warden, played by Strother Martin, made the famous observation about a lack of communication.

The failure to communicate is probably the most important cause of failure with client and internet marketing consultant relationships. Everything from managing expectations to performance reporting are affected. One of the most common outcomes from a lack of communication in a consulting engagement is the failure to implement.

Lee Odden

MarketingSherpa 2011 SEO & Social Media Benchmark Report

Lee Odden on Nov 2nd, 2010     Book Reviews, Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media

marketingsherpa sem report 2011MarketingSherpa has done it again with their SEM report for 2011. With the help of Lead Author, Research Analyst Jen Doyle, they’ve put together an excellent resource for marketers looking for strategic guidance as well as real data about search engine marketing.

This particular report focuses on Search Engine Optimization with an emphasis on the interplay of search and social media, two topics that are very near and dear to the consulting practice at TopRank Online Marketing.

According to the MarketingSherpa report, 64% of marketers surveyed are integrating social media into their search marketing plans which syncs well with the soon to be released SEOmoz SEO Industry Report, which cites 71% of the 10k plus search marketers that responded as leveraging social tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

TopRank Online Marketing

Two Biggest Advantages of Small Businesses SEO

TopRank Online Marketing on Feb 8th, 2010     Business of SEO, Link Building, Online Marketing, SEO

agility-creativity-search-marketingWith search engine optimization, small businesses have two advantages larger competitors often can’t match: creativity and agility.

By embracing these two philosophies as part of their digital marketing DNA, small businesses can carve out a search marketing strategy that runs circles around larger competitors.

Today, we’ll briefly explore why creativity and agility are advantages small businesses have for search marketing, and some quick tips to activate each.

Creativity as a search marketing advantage

Large = more risk management – Small = creativity/individuality can shine

Larger corporations are naturally risk-averse. Most won’t create blogs that take sides on issues, create controversy or linkbait, push the envelope with snarky ideas or allow shining examples of individuality. Which is why individuals and smaller companies have a continued advantage: there are far less stakeholders so it’s easier to sell creative, controversial or compelling ideas. The more creative your content is, the more editorially earned, organic links you’ll attract from the web community that content builds.

TopRank Online Marketing

5 SEO Tips for Online Retailers

TopRank Online Marketing on Nov 13th, 2009     B2C, Blogging, Business of SEO, Content Marketing, Keyword Research, Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tips

Retail SEO

Online retail websites face a unique set of obstacles when it comes to improving sales through better search engine visibility.  Repetitive product descriptions, a lack of content and frequent churn of products can all be hurdles to overcome. But with these specific tips for retail search engine optimization, online retailers can turn those challenges into opportunities and maximize their organic search traffic.

1. Add fresh content to the website. Many online retail websites focus on selling products rather than informing and providing value to customers, and hence severely lack content. It’s a good idea to include pages on a retail site that are purely content-based. Not only will informative, optimized content improve search rankings, it can help retailers sell more products by engaging customers.

Lee Odden

Reader Poll: Best Paid Subscription SEM Communities

Lee Odden on Oct 27th, 2009     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tools, SEO Training

We recently posted a list of over 100 resources our readers could leverage to learn more about marketing online through search. One of the categories was paid subscription SEM communities that offer training, forums and often times templates, forms and guides for implementing effective Search Marketing programs.

A pioneer forum that has a paid channel in this area is the WebmasterWorld Supporter’s group. SEOmoz has been wildly successful with their Pro community over the past few years and SEO Book launched their training community after discontinuing the actual book.  The newcomer to this group is SEO Dojo.

Below you’ll find info and links on each community and if you’re a fan, take this poll to vote which is your favorite:

Lee Odden

The Truth About SEO

Lee Odden on Oct 19th, 2009     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

seo truthI’ve been in the business of SEO for about 12 years and have worked with hundreds of companies of all sizes. I cannot be anything but biased towards the benefits of optimizing web sites to improve visibility in search and the commercial outcomes that can result.

For some, Search Engine Optimization is a favorite whipping boy.  Of course, marketers that have experience with proper SEO efforts and consultants, dismiss the sweeping generalizations often made by those looking to “stir the pot” to draw attention to themselves or who are pontificating based on an incomplete set of information.

All industries have a range of practitioners with varied levels of experience. Ease of online publishing allows anyone with a computer to promote themselves, with or without “real” skills.

Lee Odden

Ten Search Marketing Awards You Should Know

Lee Odden on Oct 12th, 2009     Business of SEO, Marketing Industry News, Online Marketing

trophy“A person will work for a living, but they’ll die for recognition.”  I’m not sure who I heard that from first, but it’s just as true for agencies and companies as it is for individuals.  One common way to recognize excellence is through awards. There are awards for just about every industry from software to design to public relations. What about search marketing?

Awards are like lists. They’re valuable in part, because they include, but mostly exclude. The motivation for organizations to run award programs varies greatly from being a source of revenue from entry and sponsorship fees to seeking to advance the industry by recognizing it’s finest to something in between. Many SEM awards focus on paid search and attract large agencies in that space. Others offer a variety of categories.

Lee Odden

Measuring Real Value from SEO

Lee Odden on Sep 7th, 2009     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

hever castle

I know you’re thinking, “What does a castle have to do with measuring value from search engine optimization?”. Nothing really, but I’m in England for the next week or two and didn’t need much of an excuse to post a photo of Hever Castle, which I visited recently. Actually, I do have a metaphor, so read on.

Search engine optimization is most often known as a pull direct marketing channel or inbound marketing as many are calling it. Customers are actively looking for solutions, products and services using various forms of search and that spells opportunity for marketers to do what they can to be front and center.

Typically it’s the marketing department that funds the SEO effort whether it’s handled in-house, outsourced to an internet marketing agency or as is increasingly more common, a mixture of both.

Lee Odden

5 Tips on Hiring and Getting the Most Value from SEO Consultants

Lee Odden on Jul 6th, 2009     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

searchWhile Google offers advice on hiring SEO consultants, there’s not much information about how to get the most value afterwards.  There’s an impressive amount of information and resources for webmasters on SEO related topics, but I’m pretty sure Google as a company has never hired a SEO agency and therefore isn’t in the client/vendor relationship advice business.

Having worked as a consultant for well over 10 years in the SEO space with hundreds of companies, large ($100bn) and small (un-funded startup ca 2001), there have been many opportunities to learn the ins and outs of working with companies to effectively provide SEO related services.

Lee Odden

What Snapshot of SEO Drives Your Web Business?

Lee Odden on May 27th, 2009     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

drive seoSearch Engine Optimization is a changing field. At any given moment in time, companies that rely on the web for new business or customer communications will consume information about SEO and then rely on that snapshot for months or even years.

In the marketing mix, SEO is only one slice and company marketers are tasked with many other responsibilities. Wearing many hats does not leave much time to stay on top of SEO current best practices, let alone being able to test and experiment to uncover competitive advantages.

The snapshot of SEO knowledge taken months or years ago starts as a well intentioned premise, but without current information and best practices, can become outdated. Client side marketers and agencies that don’t specialize in search that rely on infrequent snapshots of information can end up unitentionally sabotaging the SEO effort.

Lee Odden

3 Ways Companies Sabotage Their SEO Investment

Lee Odden on May 6th, 2009     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

SEOCompanies invest thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars per month into improving their natural search engine visibility. At times, certain influences or perspectives occasionally evolve to work directly against the efforts of the professional SEO consultant.  Here I’ll describe three scenarios and hopefully help companies avoid the unfortunate expense of sabotaging their own SEO investment.

1. Redesigning web sites or changing content management systems without a SEO migration plan. At a recent conference I met a web design type who asked what I do. I replied that I own a SEO consulting company. His reply, “Ah, keyword stuffing”. While this was most likely an attempt at humor, my reply was more typical: “Thanks to web designers/developers, SEOs are busier than ever.”  “Do you do web design?” says the humorist.  My reply was common for most SEO agencies: “It’s not our focus, but I have web dev talent on staff to fix issues caused by design agencies that make client web sites nearly invisible to search engines.”

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