Be sure to add $$myusername$$@$$mydomain$$ to your address book or safe sender list. (Enable Images to Fully Enjoy) Do not fail! Read SmallBusinessNewz.
Newsletter Archive | Article Archive | Submit Article | Advertising Information | About Us | Contact

Become a Partner!

Visit the SmallbBusinessNewz Directory
Do you have a business site?
Submit your business related site FREE!
Book Keeping, Training...

PPC, Print, Banner...

Brick and Mortar
Stores, Offices...
Direct Marketing
Mail, Telemarketing...

Web Hosts, Domains...

Carts, Web Design...
» Submit your site «

Get listed for free in the unofficial Twitter Directory!

Lee Odden

Why You Should Optimize For Customers And Not Search Engines

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Judging by the daily new business inquiries we get every day, there’s a groundswell of companies that have become frustrated at the lack of cause and effect data from their SEO programs.

Sure, there are workarounds for things like “not provided” keywords, but the lack of information and uncertainty about what Google will take away next is causing many marketers to diversify into other owned, earned and organic areas: social media, content marketing, online public relations, and certainly into online advertising.

At the same time, as SEO practitioners have matured as marketers, the shift from keywords as the driver for content optimization and creation have been displaced by a focus on answering customer questions along the sales cycle.

Ironically, this emphasis on solving for the customer and architecting content according to satisfying customer information is in alignment with Google’s Hummingbird update – i.e. the move away from “keyword SEO” to creating useful, customer-centric content that answers their questions is actually good for SEO.

But so many marketers have relied upon and benefitted from traditional SEO tactics and reporting, that they have a hard time letting go. Their internal marketing performance reporting is often keyword driven and a ridiculous number of companies cannot answer the question: “What is the profile of the target customer you are optimizing for?”. What does the sales cycle look like? What topics are important during the customer journey?

Think about that.

There are numerous companies that have top tier writers creating keyword optimized content with no clear identification of who the content is for, or what the specific intended outcome is. Or where one content object fits with other content and how they are connected to the customer experience.

What legacy SEO focused marketers often care about is rankings, organic referred traffic, and page views with trend lines that go up and to the right. There’s not a lot of focus on customer experience, customer journey or differentiation amongst segments.

Even if marketers were convinced that keyword lists and ranking reports are no longer the primary way (yet still useful in some ways) to manage a website marketing program, they aren’t set up to move to something else other than various online advertising options.

I’m sure more than a few brand marketers reading this can relate to situations where management wants tactics to affect certain big picture measurables like “rankings and traffic” that are not necessarily tied to other important metrics like increased orders, sales, revenue, customers added, sales cycle duration, and cost of marketing/sale. It’s the old KPIs vs. business outcomes thing.

So how can you move from that all-SEO program and mindset to a customer focused online marketing program? How can you put SEO in it’s place within the marketing mix without discrediting yourself and past advice? What’s the go forward and how can you continue to provide value with roots in SEO but with an emphasis on customer targeting across the sales cycle?

Fundamentally, it comes down to cracking the nut that is your target customer and how solving information problems for them in a way that leads to achieving business goals – leads, revenue, profitability, referrals, lower marketing costs, retention and advocacy. Optimize covers this in depth. That’s not a book pitch, it’s the truth.

Every week I know that companies are contacting their SEOs and saying, “Hey, we love the work you’re doing, but we’re shifting our focus. What else can you do for us?” When that happens, you’re up to bat, what are you going to do?

Read The Full Article

» Comment on this article

About the Author:
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.
Newsletter Archive | Article Archive | Submit Article | Advertising Information | About Us | Contact
Small Business Newz is an iEntry, Inc. ® publication - 1998-2013 All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy and Legal

All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy policy. Contact us.