Lee Odden

Business Week Article on SEO

There’s a decent article on Business Week online Smart Answers column called, “How SEO Upped the Revenues” about an entreprenuer who used a web site redesign and search engine optimization to increase revenues by 45%.

Other than making the commitment to funding a technology upgrade, what else has contributed to your success?
I had to pick the right search engine optimization specialist and be willing to learn what she would do and how I could help. If I had just hired somebody to optimize my site and then wiped my hands of it, I’m not sure how great the results would’ve been. She had to learn everything about my industry in order to do her job right, and I had to stay involved with the process minute by minute.

That’s a good point. Search engine optimization isn’t something you just do, and walk away from. Web site owners and marketers should take note that SEO is an ongoing process, not an event.¬† It’s nice to see this kind of story about the benefits of SEO. Keep ’em coming Business Week!

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Lee Odden 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 B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Marios Alexandrou says

    Great to hear about someone else’s success with SEO, but I was a little disappointed when I read this statement:

    “It’s been a lot of work, but when people in my industry search on ‘pipe and drape’ at Google, there are more than 100,000 natural results that pop up and we’re in second place.”

    How much SEO work does it take to rank #2 out of 100,000? With so little competition you could get that kind of result with a browser title change. I’m hoping she just didn’t want to reveal her real keyword successes in a widely read article.

  2. Ha, yeah you’re right Marios. That’s true – not difficult at all. Maybe it’s indicative of a larger number of long tail terms. She’s obviously happy with her SEO results and they’ve documented an increase in sales, albeit a modest one.

  3. Avatar Igor M. (BizMord Blog) says

    Lee … finally they are picking up on it. 🙂

    In 2 more years they’ll talk about Google SiteMaps.

  4. About time!

    I do a lot of freelance Internet marketing for local companies where I live. I always have new clients coming to up to me and wanting SEO work and I give them a price and they balk at it. What they think is this:

    ‘ I pay this guy a one time small fee, he optimizies my site in less than a day, I land first in Google for my keyword(s), I become rich selling my widgets’

    But the truth is more like:

    ‘ I pay this guy a monthly set fee, he has to work 2-3 months with research, optimization, and up keep on my site to get me a great foundation for my Internet marketing plans ( which may include re-writing the content copy, fixing URL’s with Apache or IIS, setting up new folders and setting up redirects, etc.. ), and then every couple months this guy needs to come back and evaluate how I am doing and what I need to change if something is not working.’

    I have a rant about this on my site HERE that goes into more detail.

    It’s also important to note, just because SEO increased your site visitors ( which is what it is intended to do ), you won’t necessarly increase your sales or profits. SEO is intended to drive traffic to your site, it doesn’t sell your services/products for you. Make sure you have a method in place to cash in on your traffic.. having a bad product, overpriced service, or terrible business model will do nothing for you when the people start coming to your site.

  5. Avatar Barry Welford says

    The more visibility we can bring to this, Lee, the more people who will benefit and become missionaries.

    If you see SEO as a video game played against the search engines, then you may well not reap the rewards that are there to be had. It’s a long tail world, as Chris Anderson would say (book available this week 🙂 ). So interpret SEO to mean how can I connect with some real customers out there who are looking for this new gizmo that I’ve invented for them. I call it Internet Marketing but if you do the same things and call it SEO then that’s OK too.

  6. Avatar Eugene Calacat says

    On a totally different topic, I started optimizing our website for SEO around four months ago. I am no SEO whiz but just last week, we started getting results for all the work we put into upping our ranks in Google (which isn’t relatively much I guess). I literally jumped off my seat when i saw that we ranked fourth (out of almost a million results) for a keyword and hurriedly informed my officemates. When they checked the keyword in their own stations, all factors being equal, some of them saw our url in the first page, some of them didn’t. We got different results! When we keyed in other keywords, we got two different sets of results for one keyword. How is that?

  7. Hey Jason, that is a good point. Before SEO became so popular, people used to say the same thing about their web sites. Sort of a “build it and they will come” mentality.

    Same goes for a site that has been optimized. That will/should drive mostly relevant traffic, but the conversion is mostly influenced by the site design and user experience. Counting on SEO to raise profits is discounting the many influences in between increasing traffic and making a sale.

    This is where client education comes into play and we require it or we won’t take on the project. Absentee SEO clients rarely work out.

  8. I agree with Jason, the problem is that most people do not want to pay the money to get someone full time on their site.

    They think they will rank #1 in a couple hours and will be rich by the end of the week.

  9. It is interesting that you say that Barry, especially since the expectations of what SEO can do has broadened so much the past 5 or 10 years. Search engine optimization used fall mostly in the “technical” bucket and now SEO comprises as much or more “creative” characteristics as technical.

    Within increased expectations comes a broadening of the scope. I agree with you that many of the things people associate with SEO is actually internet marketing and I don’t see that changing anytime soon as long as positive articles about it are published.

    No longer is SEO something limited to an IT groupr or web development firm. SEO is multidisciplinary and interdeparmental. It is also long term.

  10. Eugene, not all search results from Google come from the same data center. As Google updates it’s information from new crawls, the data propogates over time (hours, days, weeks depending on how much of an update it is). That is why you might get different search results on the same query. You can chech multiple Google data centers with this tool: http://www.webrankinfo.com/english/tools/google-data-centers.php


  1. Jeff's Online Marketing Thoughts says:

    Investing in SEO will increase your revenue…

    Lee Odden had a post on his blog pointing to an article in Business Week about Sew What? Inc. and how their SEO efforts helped to increase their revenue. I really appreciate his point about SEO not being something you…

  2. Bot Obedience - SEO Buzz Box says:

    […] Lee Odden is on it, the way to get results in engines today is to blog, business owners who are experts in their niches can shine by learning how to market their knowledge via blogs. Want and example, do a search for the phrase “Blog Marketing” and you will find Mr. Odden, you can do this in any niche if you got the time and passion. Web site owners and marketers should take note that SEO is an ongoing process, not an event. – Lee refers to Business Week article, smart! Bot Obedience, nofollow tag, seo Social bookmark this page […]

  3. […] SEO is a process, and now Lee Odden highlights it for us again with a BusinessWeek reference. But really, SEO as a business is about managing customer expectations more than it is about ranking in the SERPs. And the more you talk about process (instead of rank) the more you are softening the demands on SEO consultants. The case study SEO managed the customer expectations well, and we will never know for sure about those SERPs. And guess what? It doesn’t matter. […]