Lee Odden

Search Marketing Tips from Online Marketing Heroes

Online Marketing Heroes

Wiley recently announced the launch of a new book, “Online Marketing Heroes: Interviews with 25 Successful Online Marketing Gurus”, in which TopRank has an entire chapter on the subject of social media marketing for SEO and PR.

The list of internet marketing experts interviewed for the book include consultants, agencies, CEOs, PR professionals, client side bloggers and marketers. Topics range from paid search to online copywriting to online PR and social media marketing. The list of marketing experts includes:

Joan Holman, Greg Hartnett, Jacob Hawkins, Mark Oldani, Jeffrey Glueck, Lauren Freedman, Tamara Adlin, Steve Rubel, Greg Jarboe, Eric Ward, Jordan Gold, Heather Lloyd-Martin, Chris Baggott, Ed Shull, Brian Lusk, Lee Odden, Jill Whalen, Liana Evans, Perry Marshall, Kevin Lee, Paul O’Brien, Ron Belanger, David Fischer, Phil Terry and Patrick Duparcq.

The majority interviewed are involved with search engines or search marketing so I reached out and asked those whom I am connected with to provide their unique perspectives and takeaways as a resource for our readers. Here is what they sent:

Ron Belanger – VP Agency Development Yahoo
It started out as a direct marketing medium, but today more and more traditional marketers–including brand marketers–are beginning to utilize search engine advertising.

  • Use search advertising to take advantage of high-impact moments where a customer is interested in receiving a product or marketing message.
  • Search marketing isn’t just for national advertisers; local businesses can use search marketing to target down to the individual market level.
  • Social search lets you locate and communicate with passionistas–your most passionate brand advocates.
  • Search advertising is a low-barrier, low-risk medium. It costs you very little to get started, and the potential results are huge. So dip your toe in the water and start advertising!

Kevin Lee
– Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Didit

We are in the midst of a change in the advertising ecosystem and those marketers who embrace change with passion will triumph over those who fail to evolve with the massive shifts in consumer behavior and preference. Paid Search Marketing and Online Media is only the beginning of this macroeconomic shift in the way content and advertising is “consumed” by the consumer. Marketers will increasingly rely on data-driven models for media and advertising, but they better be sure the data is accurate and the models comprehensive. Bad data is sometimes worse than no data at all.

  • Consumers are beginning to pay attention only to advertising that’s relevant to their needs.
  • The way to reach consumers online is via narrowcasting a relevant message to each individual segment of your target audience; not by mass marketing a general message that everyone sees.
  • Creativity in online marketing involves the ability to analyze data and formulate strategies based on that analysis.
  • Search needs to be considered in relation to other forms for advertising; everything interacts with everything else; nothing is a silo onto itself.
  • Carve out a portion of your marketing budget for experimentation with new media and advertising types.

Greg Hartnett
– President BOTW

  • Do your homework before you launch your business—establish an accounting system, obtain legal representation, do all the typical Business 101 stuff.
  • Focus on the long haul—don’t expect to get rich quick.
  • Incorporate web directories into your marketing mix, along with traditional search engine marketing.
  • Strive for a mix of pay-per-click and organic search engine results.
  • Hire the best possible individuals—and don’t be afraid to outsource nonessential activities.

Paul O’Brien
– VP Marketing Zvents

If you want to convert local shoppers into customers, you need to take advantage of local search. That means doing the following things:

  • Optimize your site for local search—make sure you include locality information as part of your keyword set.
  • Focus on local directories as much as you do the big search engines.
  • Think beyond the business listing. You’ll retain your customers with a business listing but attract customers with search engines like Zvents.
  • Make sure you have a version of your site available that’s optimized for mobile devices.
  • Include latitude and longitude information for inclusion in upcoming GPS-enabled devices.

Jill Whalen
– CEO High Rankings®

My interview discussed how search engines and SEO in particular has changed over the years including:

  • The search engines themselves have changed as the old ones we used to optimize for (AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, etc.) don’t even exist anymore, and Google is basically king of the hill.
  • Google is so entrenched in the popular culture that it will be very difficult for them to be dethroned anytime in the near future.
  • The incorporation of Universal Search could change the way we optimize websites, however, it’s still in its early days and my recommendation is not to stress about it just yet.

We also talked about the High Rankings SEO process, in general, as well as the importance of having a link-worthy website, doing extensive keyword research and making sure that when you design or redesign a website, you keep SEO in mind during that process and not think about it later as an afterthought.

Greg Jarboe
– president and co-founder, SEO-PR

In particular, pay attention to these important issues:

  • Pitch your press releases directly to consumers, via web search engines
  • Optimize your press releases and online articles for best placement on Google News and other news search engines
  • Think about what people are searching for, and write simple, easy-to-understand headlines accordingly
  • Measure your PR results in terms of actual sales, not press clippings
  • Recognize that blogs can drive more traffic to your site than traditional media–and treat bloggers as you would members of the mainstream press
  • Get your PR people out of their own little silo and get them interacting with other members of your marketing and technology teams

Heather Lloyd-Martin
– CEO SuccessWorks

Your Web page content is extremely important for two reasons. One, good content encourages higher conversion rates. The second reason is Google and the other engines stress that good content is important for strong search engine rankings. The trick is to write content that appeals to people and spiders. Here are some quick tips:

  • Writing for your audience is extremely important. Some people think that all you have to do is shove keyphrases into your copy – and that’s just not true. Remember that the search engines don’t pay your bills – your customers do. Write copy that speaks to your prospects’ pain points, overcomes their objections and showcases why people should work (or buy) from you. Never sacrifice your copy’s tone and feel for the engines.
  • Keyphrase research is the foundation of any SEO campaign (and the first step before writing a page.)
  • Don’t be afraid to create scads of value-added content. If you know that your prospects value product reviews, offer them. If how-to articles are a big hit, create more if it makes sense. Your site will be seen as a valued resource through your efforts. Plus, articles are a great way to naturally drive incoming links.
  • Choose your copywriter (or copywriters) carefully. It’s not true that “everyone is a writer.” Nor should someone from the IT department write your Web pages because they are “in charge of SEO.” A good writer can make a difference between so-so sales and rankings and high ranking copy that drives conversions like crazy.
  • The search engine results page (SERP) is your first opportunity for conversion. Create Titles that, yes, include keyphrases – but also (when possible) include a benefit or call-to-action. Check out Zappos.com for a good example of this. Zappos promotes their free shipping in almost every Title. That’s smart SEO copywriting!

Li Evans – Director Internet Marketing KeyRelevance

  • For the time being, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Ask are the most important search engines; the smaller players don’t have much chance of breaking through the ranks.
  • Google is the big dog, of course, but other engines might be better to reach particular types of users.
  • Even though search engines rank different factors differently, the same basic SEO techniques will help your ranking across the board.
  • When optimizing your site, focus on relevant content first and link building second.

What I also drive home in the chapter is that “search marketing” isn’t about title tags and keyword densities anymore, search marketing has taken on a whole new meaning with the search engines trying to deliver the most relevant and engaging experiences for their users. Marketers need to realize, the days of “post-Florida” are gone, this is a whole new marketing medium that we ourselves need to adapt too.

Lee Odden – TopRank® and Online Marketing Blog

  • Publish your media to different sites and channels to maximize the potential search engine hits—images to an image-sharing site, videos to YouTube, and so forth.
  • All media are valuable, but none so much so as text, because of its importance to search engines.
  • Most blog software is search-engine friendly out of the box and can provide a platform for delivering fresh content for the search bots.
  • When content gets noticed and cited by multiple blogs, you get multiple links back to your main web site—which drives direct traffic and can increase search engine rankings.
  • To succeed with social networking, you have to be transparent and honest. You must provide value in order to receive value.


You can order the “Online Marketing Heroes” hardcover book at Amazon.com

Search Marketing Tips from Online Marketing Heroes” was originally posted at Online Marketing Blog.

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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. Great, another unoriginal, uninspired attempt to take a handful of successful people in a manufactured environment, supported, propped-up and overly-promoted by its members and make them appear heroic.

    The real heroic people are those who keep plugging away in spite of the fact of such “niche club” oddities stroking each other rather than doing anything actually helpful for the everyday guy and gal online marketers.

    Awesome, this should get sphunn through the atmosphere…


  2. It’s marketing Sam – heard of it? LOL

  3. that was a cheap shot sam. i think it’s safe to say the folks in this book “keep plugging away” just as much as the next guy. through this blog, other social sites and in person, lee and the toprank gang are helping the everyday guy and gal online marketers more so than 99% of the other marketers out there.

    oh yeah, one more thing. i think lee is beyond creating content for sphinning if that’s what you were implying.

    congrats on the book lee, keep up the great work.

  4. What about the power of the blog? I do local SEO non-stop for my company and my customers. Blogging, done properly, is still an extraordinary SEO tool and also a great way to drive traffic directly. Every local company should use a blog as part of their SEO activities.

  5. TJPhilly, blogs are a great tool of course and are certainly covered in the full book.

  6. I’m leaning more to Sam’s way of thinking. Yes Lee; your blog is good and I agree with you on some things. I disagree on other things as well. I totally disagree with you when you state that “Every local company should use a blog as part of their SEO activities.”

    As far as yet another silly ebook that interviews the “inner circle” of conference goers, etc?…. ya all know how I might feel about that. Is there a puke button in here somewhere? 🙂 The only people who promote inner circle people are, hmm, erm, … other inner circle followers.

    What do you think the great majority of people in our industry think? After all; the great majority do not attend conferences or hang out in spin.

  7. “Every local company should use a blog as part of their SEO activities.” where did I say that?

    Regardless, if you don’t like it Doug, turn the channel.

  8. Hmm… well, i’m a novice. And i would admit, i got a lot of ideas from this blog. I also think that the book your promoting can give me some help with regards to online business..

  9. Blimey this has sparked something.

  10. This looks great, as I’m just getting into the whole IM thing, it is good to read what successful people have done and think. Thanks.

  11. If I were to judge the book based on the quality of content in this post alone, I’d have to think that the book must be a really good read. Seems to me it is exactly this kind of information that does “help the everyday guy and gal marketers”. Ah well, to each his own. Thumbs up from me.

  12. Avatar spostareduro says

    In every marketing environment theres opinion. Positive, negative and the in-between is in the eye of the beholder. All opinions even those contrary to my own are admissible. (especially contrary to my own-smile)

    In life as a general way of speaking, there’s also opinion. Positive, negative and the in-between is in the eye of the beholder once again. The same rules apply.

    When mixing marketing with humanity, there will also be varied opinion. In fact, I welcome it because it makes me use my noggen a bit more fully. It’s all a learning experience.

    But even animals know their place in the wild. And typically only attack when in need of food or other sustenance. When this happens, we know they are animals and all is excusable. As for the human nature, there are ways to provide opinion and insight without attack. If it had been in defense, I would be more likely to watch this unfold from a distance. But it was not. A sneak attack against Lees marketing strategy? LoL classic. Like der..I second Lee’s, “It’s marketing Sam – heard of it? LOL” I don’t approve of A LOT of marketing strategies and the whole butt kiss thing with marketing, but when you don’t approve of something, just DON’T DO IT YOURSELF. Duh.

  13. Well done Lee and everyone else involved.

    @Doug – I think you’ll find this isn’t an ebook.

  14. Thanks Chris, Donna, Kimberly and Nick. Glad most folks see this post and the book for what it is, a useful resource. Greg Hartnett has a nice take on the whole “hero” thing.

  15. Come on Sam. A lot started in the same place we are. They are in the club because of that. And any book can teach you something. It’s just a matter of scale and modification. I am reaching for this position and try to keep my sour grapes to myself, knowing that, if only for my future advances, I have to recognize it as jealousy.

    And Doug, doesn’t total rejection of an idea close off a part of the openmindness that is needed to keep up to date in an environment that changes daily like the internet. Can’t it close it off enough that we find out a week later that that attitude put us months behind others in our same field?

  16. A very interesting and informative interview, this would help a lot of us.

  17. Great job mate…. and the fact that Doug had a derogatory word only solidifies the effort – Doug you need to start a new approach – I automatically feel the other side has omething valid when you criticize them…. The Doug Heil Seal of Disapproval

  18. When it comes to the success of others there are basically two kinds of folks:

    1) the guys that believe a rising tide floats all boats, and
    2) the kind that thinks putting someone else down makes them look taller.

    I’ve only had personal dealings with one of the guys in the book so far… and to avoid sounding like a sycophant I won’t toss out a name… but he’s the first type. Glad those are around, it makes the industry a better place. Should be a good book.

  19. Yes Aussie; the thing is, I and “many” others in OUR industry don’t drink the inner circle koolade as you do and others posting in this thread. I just happen to be one of the very few who speaks and talks our own minds. We don’t need the inner circle lapdogs to speak for us.

    Flame me again please. I guess disagreeing with the majority opinion in here is not wanted. I sometimes think that some people seem to actually believe our industry consists of only people in the circle who tout and promote others in that same circle. Let me clue you all in a bit; there are thousands of others out there who could care less about that circle. Social media has made it so it’s now the in thing to self promote, especially if you are a good butt kisser. If you don’t kiss, you are chastised for not joining the circle. And Steve; I don’t need to read this stuff daily like some do as I have my own place with a ton of great people who I learn from daily. Those people don’t see the need to be in this circle either.

  20. @Doug – I get your point but still don’t see the need to rubbish the efforts of others.

    Book deals aren’t that hard to come by, publishers are pretty open to proposals from the IT sector, especially when they are business orientated. I’ve turned down one inquiry myself – many of my friends have published books and one referred me to their agent.

    I imagine you and the other moderators at IHY have a wealth of knowledge that could be shared with the world? Why not get a book out there!

  21. Avatar Doug Heil says

    Thanks Nick; Your are very right. I shouldn’t post to things like this. I’m sorry. I guess it’s a matter of reading stuff like this all over and biting the tongue on a continuous basis… not saying a word. You get to a tipping point where you can’t hold back anymore. We know there are groups who are constantly promoting out there. Other groups who don’t say one word.

    I just don’t have the time to promote like that let alone write a book. Some go to 20 conferences per year. Others are constantly promoting. I don’t know where they all find the time. I’m just a small biz and don’t have employees to do stuff, so I have to do it. I just can’t get away for a week at a time all through the year. Even if I did have time, I wouldn’t be back slapping others in doing so… not my style.

    It’s just hard to sit and read places without saying anything, but I’ll do my best to keep my mouth shut in the future.

  22. The agenda for people disposed to berate others is hardly honorable. Drawing attention to good work by friends stands on it’s own regardless of observations by pessimistic, negative people.

    It’s very telling when someone says they’re a marketer with no time to self promote but with plenty of time criticize those that do.

    @Nick Wilsdon, the book “Online Marketing Heroes” is the result of unsolicited inquiries to people the publisher identified to participate in phone interviews. The interviews were transcribed, edited and published. Nobody in this book pitched Wiley for a book deal. The people interviewed all have something useful to share and people are free to engage or ignore.

    @Doug Heil One of the great things about blogs, forums and other online information/communication platforms is the opportunity for smart dialogue. Your initial comment mis-quotes me as saying something about small businesses needing blogs when it was another commenter who said that. Such carelessness only reveals your predisposition.

  23. Avatar Doug Heil says

    Thanks Lee; I already stated I was sorry. Should I bow down to the almighty Lee Odden as well? OK fine; praise be to you Sir.

    I also stated in a prior post that I quoted you wrongly.

    Frankly Lee; Your post above is showing your true colors buddy. It’s showing what “many” of us have known for a long time.

    I take back my apology now. Thanks for your post.

    Kind of funny that I’m the only one posting in your blog who has not linked up his website.

  24. Goodbye Doug.

  25. Sam was a little harsh but I know where he’s coming from as it’s just the same old regurgitated content from the same old regurgitaters.

    What I find most amusing is Wiley would commit to print what can be found for free on most of the SEO blogs and webmaster forums but I suppose they’ll find a market in the same people that fill the halls of SES/SMX/PubCon year after year.

  26. For the record, the author, Michael Miller, contacted each of us individually and asked us to be intereviewed for the book. As far as I know, nobody had any prior knowledge or makes any money off the sale of it.

    Not really sure why anyone would be commenting negatively about a decent book of interviews from a diverse group of internet marketers. Buy it or don’t, it’s as simple as that.

    Also, not really sure why Doug is allowed to post anywhere but his own forum either, but I guess some blogs and forums allow anyone to post, no matter whether it’s trolling flame bait or not. I guess that’s to be commended in the name of free speech or something, but personally I feel the Internet would be a much nicer/safer place of all the trolls were banned post haste.

  27. It is very good information and useful for me thank’s.

  28. Thought I’d log on and add my two cents as the author of the book in question. As several of the participants have mentioned, no one lobbied to be included in the book; I chose the list of interviewees myself. I tried to cover a broad range of marketing activities — everything from copywriting to search engine marketing to blog marketing to social network marketing to email marketing to online retailing to online PR, and then some. (As I say in the book’s introduction, “marketingis a big tent.”)

    I belive that the value of the book is in the knowledge passed on by the diverse group of interviewees. Even if you profess to know everything about a particular topic, there are a half-dozen other topics that you probably know less about, and can learn something useful. There are even a few interviews, such as the one with Northwestern Universityls Patrick Duparcq, that provide a much more holistic overview to the whole area of online marketing. I went out of my way to make sure that the book offered more than just “the usual suspects,” whomever they might be.

    I urge anyone on the fence to pick up a copy and read a bit before you make up your mind. There’s a lot of good stuff here, from Lee and others!

  29. Well said Michael, and thank you for stopping by. The book is a great resource with varied selection of contributors. The search marketing slant of this post made a few trolls think the only contributors were SEMs, but of course, that is not the case.

  30. Thanks for such kind of great tips. can i get a copy of this book?

  31. Rishi — The book is available at most bookstores, or online at Amazon.com. Also can order (via Amazon) from my website.

  32. Thanks for the link Michael, I made it an anchor text link to avoid formatting issues with our blog. 🙂


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