Lee Odden

3 Ways Companies Sabotage Their SEO Investment

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.”

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

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

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

25 Ways Marketing Agencies Market Themselves

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With so much uncertainty due to inflated promises, bad press and a fast changing industry, what “signals” of credibility do companies look for in trusted internet marketing partners and resources? Our gift to you today is an annotated list of 25. In one way or another, TopRank is involved with all of the following marketing and PR tactics either for ourselves or for our marketing and public relations clients.

But I’m also curious what Online Marketing Blog Readers have to say on this topic. Let’s have a little vote shall we? After the list there is a poll so you can vote for your favorite.

Lee Odden

Vintage Search Engine Strategies San Jose

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While moving some of the material from my home office to our Lake Minnetonka office, I recently came across the SES San Jose 2004 Conference Handbook (dust and all) which was the first SES conference I ever attended. Paging through my notes was a trip down memory lane (in internet time). People talk about how things change so quickly with search marketing, but looking at the content from this event 3 years ago was tangible evidence.

For example, the session on “Web Feeds, Blogs and Search” with Danny moderating and speakers: Scott Rafer of Feedster (Now with MyBlogLog/Yahoo), Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit, Jeremy Zawodney of Yahoo, Chris Tolles from Topix and Mark Fletcher from Bloglines (Now an Ask.com property). In my notes it mentions that there were 4.1 million blogs and that the number would hit 10 million by the end of 2004. Now in 2007 Technorati reports over 92.4 million blogs. Who knew then blogs would take off? Amanda did.

Lee Odden

What is Your Measure of Success

Have you been in the search marketing business for more than a few years? I am curious what your measures of success as a business are?

For some, it’ notoriety. It’s the pomp and circumstance of celebrity within their industry that gives them something to hang their hat on.

For others, it’s respect from their peers and certainly contributions to the growth of an industry are also perceived as indication of a company’s success. There’s also no arguing that financial success is an unmistakable yardstick from which to measure any businesses’ success.

Lee Odden

Reader Poll Roundup

reader poll

We’ve been running polls the past month and I thought I’d share the results. Below are the past 4 polls we’ve run along with the number of respondents and the top 5 responses for each.

What do you like most about your search marketing job? (67)

  • You are truly appreciated for your expertise and contributions (21%)
  • The client projects are fun, interesting, challenging (19%)
  • Flexible hours, work from home or office (18%)
  • It���s all about the money (10%)
  • Fun atmosphere/environment at work (10%)

Money made a run for it early, but this one was nearly a tie between being appreciated, fun and interesting projects and flexibility.

What is your favorite marketing conference? (56)

  • Search Engine Strategies (46%)
  • WebmasterWorld Pubcon (27%)
Lee Odden

Elements of Successful Client Relationships

On the heels of yesterday’s poll about why agencies would discontinue working with clients, I think it’s important to consider what makes a successful client engagement. As was pointed out in the comments, not every client relationship is the same and a lot depends on the work that is done up front.

On the agency side, there must be an effective process in place for accurately assessing the client situation and making proper recommendations. Too often agencies lead with the services they WANT to offer rather than what the client actually NEEDS. Having a good handle on staffing, client load, expertise and account management are also critical.

Lee Odden

Reader Poll: Top Reasons to Let a Client Go

reader poll

For the most part, when you mention “firing” someone, it’s in reference to an employee termination. Or perhaps it’s a situation of a client “firing” their agency. There’s also the “firing” of clients that happens for a variety of reasons. Hopefully it’s a good reason for both the agency and the client. It’s an inevitable part of doing business, especially with consulting,  marketing and advertising industries where agencies are in high demand.

No one likes to do it, but it happens.

For example, the client needs might change beyond what the agency can deliver or the business model of the agency might change, requiring the “cleansing” of client engagements that are not consistent with the business. I am curious about the reasons that client engagements are terminated by agencies, so if you’ve been in that situation, please take the poll below: