Lee Odden

Moving from Fragmented to Segmented Online Marketing

Companies today have a virtual smörgåsbord of options when it comes to marketing their products and services online. Lack of expertise, numerous tactical options, pressure for sales in a down economy and the tendency to chase shiny objects cause many online marketing efforts to be fragmented. I really doubt that a significant waste of effort and disconnect with customers is part of any company’s online marketing strategy. But it’s happening. A lot.

Marketers must prioritize what will work best and in the mix of online marketing tactics. According to eMarketer, SEO and PPC have been rated the most effective for conversions and ROI and while some companies are using software like PPC management tools to make things easier, there’s a lot more to consider for better segmentation.

With any type of marketing, relevance is essential for achieving a profitable program.  When it comes to search marketing, understanding customers, the keyword searches they use and the offers they’re most likely to respond to are essential.

In order to move your online marketing from fragmented to prioritized and more relevant through search, here are 3 key concepts search marketers should master.

1. Understand searcher personas

It’s fundamental marketing to anticipate and understand customer needs.

To really make a difference with more targeted online marketing, search marketers need to become more sophisticated in their understanding of customer profiles and developing personas to represent who they’re trying to attract via search. Delivering generic content to a searcher looking for a specific product is a common mistake that creates a disconnect for search engines and customers.

“Searcher personas and search acquisition workflows are integral to the way I approach search strategy. Before you can start attracting visitors to your web site, you need to know who you are attracting and why.” Vanessa Fox

Knowing what kind of content and types of digital assets your customers will respond to can improve effectiveness at driving “organic” search  traffic.  The same goes for designing Pay Per Click ads and landing pages that are relevant to the needs of customers you really want to reach.

2. Develop an ideal keyword mix

Many companies start with a list of keywords they think are best for SEO and implement them with on-page optimization and link building.  According to MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Search Marketing Benchmark Report (SEO Edition), 67% of small businesses place more value on on-page optimization over keyword research. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your ideas about keywords are more important than those of your customers.

Developing a keyword glossary is essential and starts by collecting a raw list of concepts, topics and phrases from sources like website content, interviews with front line employees and actual customers, competitor web sites and good old fashioned brainstorming.  That raw list is brought into a keyword research tool that will output provide a list of actual search phrases plus variations sorted by popularity.

Understanding keywords from the perspective of the searcher and where they are in the buying process allows the search marketer to properly optimize content, landing pages and ads accordingly. Same goes for making the ads and landing pages more relevant because it leads to better performance with click through rates and conversions.

From an organic perspective, specifically optimized pages that have attracted relevant links from other related web sites will result in higher rankings for keywords that are being targeted. Customers will self-segment themselves with the search terms they use. By developing an ideal keyword mix that is focused on customer needs and the solutions offered by your products and services, your search marketing efforts will better target customers in a relevant way and increase sales.

3. Optimize content for specifics

Content can mean web pages, digital assets and any other documents that can be optimized for organic search.  Optimization also applies to landing pages used with pay per click advertising to improve quality score. If you read Online Marketing Blog with any frequency, you know my mantra: “If it can be searched, it can be optimized.”

If you don’t have enough content to accommodate all the keywords you’re targeting, then you have an opportunity to create more content.  A common misconception is that updated content is important, when the reality is that adding new content that reflects the search needs of customers is what’s important. The addition of every new web page means another potential entry point to your web site via a link or search.

Being focused helps search engines understand and rank pages so that customers get what they’re actually looking for. Delivering on the promise of a compelling search result is priceless for conversions.


Fragmented marketing with search helps no one. Marketers would do well for themselves and the customers they’re tying to reach by paying attention to the development of searcher personas, developing quality keyword research and optimizing specific pages and digital assets for specific phrases according the searcher needs in the buying cycle. As a result, you’ll deliver a more relevant experience for both search engines and customers.

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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 advice.

    The keyword tools available now, couldn't be imagined 15 years ago. I mean look at google keyword tool. It provides free information worth thousands of dollars!

    “Same goes for making the ads and landing pages more relevant because it leads to better performance with click through rates and conversions.” I never knew this. So should we also include the keyword in the actual ad, to have higher click-through rates?


  2. Avatar chandani84 says

    The important aspect of any marketing is also knowing your audience inside out. That is the most challenging and important aspect once it is achieved other process will fall in place.

  3. Lee. I completely agree with this post!

    Understanding your searchers means who is your actual buyer? how he/she reacts, from where he/she comes from and what he/she loves!

    Mixing with ideal keywords makes you winner for getting right kind of visitors on your websites and for you one must have an optimum content!

    Thanks again!

  4. Hi,

    This is my first visit to your blog, and I must say I am very impressed.

    I have bookmarked your blog and will look forward to your posts.
    Keep up the good work.

    Take Care

    Steve Duval

  5. I visited your blog first time and am really impressed, great blog!!!

  6. Avatar London Paris Train says

    I am impressed with the kind of knowledge and information written. Well done

  7. If we are already optimized for one keyword, and then we find another keyword that need to target,what should we do for on page optimization. We can not change most of the content, how we are going to optimize for that keyword ? Thanks if you can help on this

    • The solution to attracting more traffic through expanded keywords is to create more content. Think of the meeting the needs of search engines and customers with additional content.

  8. Avatar Ethan Poltrack says

    Thank you. Nice blog

  9. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for such a great post. I am agree with your all three points. Search marketers should know how important it is to analyze your competition. So that they can find the necessary changes to improve overall readability in crawler-based search engines and to eliminate any website indexing issues.

  10. I have used persona's for general business planning, but I have never thought to create 'search specific' persona's. It only makes sense that the search persona's will help to make your content more relevant to a specific demographic, just as your customer persona's help in designing a product that is specific for a particular segment. The same principles should clearly apply.

    Thanks for this article Lee

  11. As a Newbie to the internet, I am always searching online for stuff that can help me. Thanks for the information.