TopRank Marketing Editor

SES San Jose: Keynote with Microsoft’s Satya Nadella

Keynote with Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella is the SVP of the Search, Portal & Advertising Platform Group for Microsoft. In this session, Satya discussed the evolution of search and outlined strategies to help prepare for success. Specifically, he brings light to how we think about the evolution of search and the unique assets that will take it to the next level.

The evolution of search:

We can categorize the history of search by looking at 3 dimensions:
1. Core technology of search
2. Business model
3. Expectations

The core technology of SEO is the magic of keyword base search. The business model continues to shift with CPC driving efficiency as we continue to measure quantitative results and ROI.

Lee Odden

Search Engine Optimization is a Team Effort


TopRank’s SEO Team in Paintball Gear

As much as companies find the need to outsource part or all of their SEO efforts, many do not have a clear picture of the value that comes from hiring an agency versus a full time, in-house SEO. While many consultants and some agencies offer “value meal” pricing and packages, the cost for a search engine optimization effort will vary based on the scope of the project, hours allocated, client side resources, web site technology and competitiveness of the market.

Web site managers that balk at monthly SEO retainers claiming they could hire a full time person for those costs to do SEO in-house don’t really understand all that’s involved with marketing a web site through search engines. Client side SEOs are more Project Managers than they are implementation experts and often get burdened with related tasks on top of continued internal education and evangelism. It’s a lot for one person to do and do well.

Lee Odden

Should Companies Hire Multiple Search Marketing Firms?

Hiring Multiple SEM Firms

On occasion TopRank will get calls from prospective clients that ask about hiring multiple SEO agencies in an effort to get the “best of both worlds” in terms of best practices and performance through competition. On the surface, I suppose I could see how someone might think this might make sense but in practice, it really doesn’t.

The “two is better than one” philosophy might work when it comes to getting a second opinion from a doctor or a mechanic but with SEO, the last thing a company needs is two agencies stepping on each other to make on-page optimization recommendations. Even worse are the possibilities for confusion with link building.

TopRank Marketing Editor

SMX Advanced: Search Marketing and Surviving a Recession

TopRank Marketing Editor     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, Search Marketing Expo

Search Marketing and Surviving a Recession

While there is still a debate over the effect of the recession we are in, or even if we are in a recession at all, it seems most companies and individuals are preparing for it the best they can. Talks of budget cuts and conserving resources are on everyone’s minds these days.

So where does search marketing fit in to all of this?

Our expert panel this morning at SMX Advanced – consisting of Jon Miller from Marketo (a TopRank client), Russ Mann of Covario , Dave Davies of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning and Andrew Beckman of Location3 Media – gave great advice and opinions in how to come out of this recession thriving.

TopRank Marketing Editor

Agency + Client = Superhero Link Building Team

TopRank Marketing Editor     Business of SEO, Link Building, Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Training

Two heads are better than one. How many times have we all heard that in our lives?  When having a brainstorming session, it helps to bounce ideas off of one another to generate the best possible solution. Even when saving the world, is it always important to have a sidekick. Or a team of sidekicks.

captainplanet

The same is true of link building teams. It can be considered a general rule of thumb to say “the more, the merrier” when it comes to the size of a team working on link building, social media and content promotion. An experienced team working together will generate far more inbound links and traffic to the target website than just one person – bent over a desk, Red Bull in hand, click-clacking away on the keyword.

Lee Odden

Is Your SEO Firm Outsourcing Your Work?

Lee Odden     Business of SEO, Link Building, SEO

It’s pretty common in the interactive, advertising and PR agency world to outsource components of an engagement where the lead agency does not have specific domain expertise. Those scenarios are often structured by the client who is already working with other vendors or the lead agency bringing in outside expertise.  For the most part, it’s pretty transparent what is outsourced and what is not.

Is this the same in the search marketing and especially, the SEO industry?  The variety of creative, technical and social expertise required to excel and succeed with today’s online marketing programs makes it a formidable challenge for any search marketing agency to staff accordingly. The “cowboy” mentality prevalent in the SEO world makes employing some of the best at their craft unlikely.

Lee Odden

Session: Build Investment Interest in Your SEO/SEM Firm

Pat Hall Anne Kennedy

How to Build Investment Interest in Your SEO/SEM with an introduction by Anne Kennedy and a presentation by Patricia Hall, Investment Banker, Hallmark Capital. If you own and/or are running a fast growing search marketing agency and want to gain more insight into making your firm more valuable for acquisition/investment, then this session is for you.

Pat Hall

What Wall Street looks at.

  • Client list is important. Keep in mind, if you have big name clients now, what will you need to do to keep them.
  • Nature of revenues. Are they one time projects or are they retainer based? One time projects can be good if you specialize and can go to all the other players in a category.
Lee Odden

Pros and Cons of Hiring SEOs

Lee Odden     Business of SEO

As a growing mid-sized online marketing agency, TopRank has had opportunities to interview well over a 100 people for various search engine optimization and internet marketing positions. We’ve been fortunate to hire and develop an amazing team of professionals. We’ve also experienced the flip side.

There are increasing numbers of resources from which to attract or find candidates whether it’s traditional online job boards like Monster.com, SEO job listings at SEMPO or sites dedicated to SEO recruiting. Making sure actual SEO skills and experience are in alignment with company/client needs is as important as setting accurate expectations for job responsibilities and work environment.

TopRank Marketing Editor

5 Ways to Better Leverage Your SEO Firm

TopRank Marketing Editor     Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO

3d People Around a Table
Search Marketing is well documented as one of the most effective marketing strategies a business can employ regardless of the economic environment. Now more then ever companies recognize search as an essential element to their businesses bottom line and are seeking out the help of professional SEO firms.

Finding the right search marketing agency is no doubt a daunting task. But what happens once you’ve done your due diligence and chosen an SEO firm that best suits your style and philosophy?

Below are 5 ways to ensure you’re getting the best return on your search marketing dollars from your SEO invrestment:

1. Have Realistic Expectations

Lee Odden

Reader Poll: Getting Paid Based on Performance

About every 2 weeks we get calls from companies that feel their growth opportunities are so significant, outside marketing vendors are expected to be paid based only on performance. I know there are some search engine marketing consultants that take on pay for performance or marketing partnership deals, but very few agencies that do.

It’s one thing for a consultant with low or no overhead to be able to spend the time it takes to build momentum on such a project but another thing entirely for an agency with capital expenses, salaries, etc to pay while the PFP program gets off the ground. While those issues can be overcome as part of the cost of the venture or risk, not having full control over web site functionality and design, after the sale actions and content can be problematic.

Lee Odden

Why Search Marketing Is So Hard – Mike Moran

Editor’s Note: I am excited to introduce the next in our series of guest articles from IBM Distinguished Engineer Mike Moran.

mike-moran.jpg

The credentials list on Mike is a mile long including 20+ years experience in search technology, co-author of the best selling book “Search Engine Marketing Inc” as well as his recent book, “Do It Wrong Quickly“, 4 patents on search and retrieval technology, a sought after speaker at SES, DMA and AMA events and a great blogger with Biznology. Even though he’s one of the busiest people I’ve ever known, Mike stole some free time on a plane to write this post on the difficulties of search marketing for readers of Online Marketing Blog.

Lee Odden

SEO Developments, Challenges and Tactics

Lee Odden     Business of SEO, SEO, SEO Tips

UK based e-consultancy holds periodic round tables meetings with agency and client side search marketers to discuss issues in the industry with a report published afterwards. The most recent September report, which highlights a number of search engine industry developments, SEO challenges and tactics motivated me to write this post. Many of the issues in the report are on the minds of in-house and agency marketers world wide.

Here are a few of the issues discussed and my own thoughts as they relate to each with a nice little rant at the end: