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Content Marketing Curation Tips 
Posted by blog - Tuesday, June 29, 2010
content curation
Blog search engine Technorati tracks over 100 million blogs on the web. New business blogs are started every day, on top of micromedia like Twitter, pseudo micro/blogging services like Amplify and actual long form articles from companies that realize consumers are no longer satisfied with basic products and services information. They want more. Creating new content on a daily basis is a challenge for most companies because they're not staffed to be a publisher. Even with copywriters, topics can get stale after a while. In other words, content creation over the long term can be a real challenge.

Enter the world of content curation marketing where you'll get a mix of definitions from industry thought leaders on what content curation is and what it can do as part of an online marketing program.

Even if you buy into the idea that curating content authored by others makes sense and that you can avoid any appearance of appropriating content in a way the author didn't intend, there's the issue of implementation. You can assign a person or people in your company to do it manually. This takes some coordination and cooperation between the people responsible for reading industry newsletter, blogs and feeds to identify content worth extracting and including in your curated publishing platform. Many popular marketing newsletters do this such as SmartBrief or sites like Social Media Today. The challenge is that it takes time and the sites you follow may not post something useful every day. Manual input takes time too.

On the other end of the spectrum is fully automated aggregation using third party tools that convert RSS to HTML. The pro of this method is that it takes no time at all after setup. It's all automatic. The down side, and believe me, there is some serious down side to this, is that it's not curation. Sure, you might make some editorial decisions when selecting the initial feed sources, but after that it's all splog. ie spam blog. Curation is about editorial discretion at the article level. But wait, I said above that manually culling great content out of multiple streams is too time consuming.

How can you get editorial discretion efficiently? One way is to use a service like the one our client Curata offers. Curata pulls in feeds based on keyword topics you identify and algorithmically filters content streams accordingly. At the same time, the publisher of the Curata blog can add comments to the excerpt as well as add their own blog posts. The mix of efficiently and intelligently curated content along with original content results in a productive source of information that is useful to readers, beneficial for publishers and a great complement to a content marketing program.

As will all software that manages content, it's a tool and customization as well as expertise in use translate into greater effectiveness in implementation.



5 Tips for Better B2B Search Engine Marketing 
Posted by blog - Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Search engine marketing is a top priority for companies of all types in today's digital age whether those efforts are part of a B2B marketing program or B2C. Business to Business search marketing however, takes a slightly different form than B2C. Typically, B2B markets are smaller, products and services are more complex, and sales cycles are longer.

B2B marketing must carefully consider target keywords, online content and link building a bit differently. Here are 5 B2B search marketing tips that can help companies maximize their results:

Getting found is just the beginning

1. While B2C companies can reasonably expect to generate a purchase from a single site visit, the sales cycle for B2B companies is much longer. Once a prospect finds the B2B website via search, the real work begins to convert the prospect to a sale. Understanding the B2B searcher and their position within the sales cycle (Evaluation, Consideration, Purchase) is essential for creating appropriate optimized content to meet their needs.

Content is key for B2B websites

2. For B2C websites, the majority of content focuses purely on product information. Because sales conversions for B2B organizations are based more on building relationships, content must position that organization as an industry thought leader and a trusted resource. Including video demos, case studies and newsletters on a site can help B2B organizations build relationships with their audience.

More robust B2B keyword glossaries

3. Clearly, targeting the proper keywords is essential to any search marketing campaign. But for B2B organizations, keywords need to cover a longer buying cycle, and therefore must often be more diverse than B2C target keywords. Prospects at the beginning of a sales cycle might use certain terms to search for information that differs from terms used by those ready to purchase. That variety of keywords must be supported by relevant content and link building as well.

Link building outside the box

4. Because B2B markets are typically smaller than B2C markets, there may be fewer websites capable of linking to B2B sites. Consider the amount of fashion-related blogs compared to food processing technology blogs. To increase the number of inbound links to their sites, B2B organizations must get a little creative:

B2B organizations can approach their supplier networks for inbound links to their site
B2B organizations with a small target audience can create link bait focused on a different, but related, market. For very specific niches, a B2B blog audience can be widened by blogging about more general company-related issues.

Speak to multiple entities within a business

5. Unlike B2C purchases, B2B purchases involve different stakeholders within a company. Each stakeholder comes to the site with a different set of expectations.

For example, a B2B site that sells recruitment software might be visited by a company’s HR manager to gauge the effectiveness of the software. A member of the company’s finance department might visit the site to assess the value of the product. In still another scenario, a member of the company’s IT department might visit the site to learn how the software can be integrated into the overall system.

There are many different considerations for B2B search marketing vs B2C. As with any marketing strategy, it's important to understand the unique needs of the target audience, how they search, evaluate solutions, consume information and ultimately, how search affects their decision making, both directly and indirectly.

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Minnesota SEO Firm TopRank to Write for Microsoft 
Posted by blog - Friday, October 16, 2009

Minnesota based Search Engine Optimization agency TopRank Online Marketing has been asked by Microsoft Advertising Community to write a monthly column on Search, Social and PR topics.

Posts will begin in November and continue about once per month. Microsoft is keen on being a great resource for online marketers and is walking the talk by providing the Advertising Community site.

"The point of our site is to support and educate advertisers of all disciplines and experience from search beginners to CMOs of big agencies. It provides a hub for people to get involved, helping each other and helping themselves to the latest research, tips, tricks and best practices to help them become better digital marketers."

I don't know who yet, but other internet marketing veterans will be contributing as well on a range of search and internet marketing related topics.

In addition to Microsoft Advertising, TopRank will be contributing to Technorati, where Online Marketing Blog is ranked in the top 100 Business Blogs, in the categories of marketing and blogging.

TopRank already contributes SEO and Social Media related articles to Mashable, PRSA ComPRehension, Business Blog Consulting, AllBusiness.com and of course, publishes one of the most popular marketing blogs on the internet at Online Marketing Blog.

While there are more than a handful of Minnesota SEO agencies that blog, few have undertaken the efforts of TopRank to provide useful information to marketers on emergening internet marketing strategies and tactics.

Whether you're a company in Minneapolis, Minnesota looking for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) information, or in another part of the world, be sure to subscribe to the sites mentioned above for up to date insights, tips and opinion on all aspects of internet marketing.

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Digital Asset Optimization Campaign Management Tips 
Posted by blog - Monday, August 04, 2008
Lee Odden Digital Asset Optimization DMA07

Optimizing web pages alone, is simply not enough in competitive categories. Increasing numbers of companies and SEO consulting companies have realized this and are adopting more formal holistic content optimization strategies. Digital Asset Optimization is a SEO Point of View that TopRank started developing in early 2007.

Managing a textbook search engine optimization program for a complex website and/or a big corporation can be challenging on its own. Managing a digital asset optimization program which involves a matrix of media types and formats with promotion channels in a big company carries even more of a challenge.

However, with that challenge comes opportunity for a competitive advantage, especially when it comes to managing DAO as an outside consultant.

The first step to managing a digital asset optimization program is to take inventory of the media assets and content types that are currently being created. It is important not to discount content because it is not published online. Many types of interactive, video and image assets that are used with CD, DVD, kiosks and various electronic advertising platforms can be repurposed for online optimization and promotion.

The second step for a successful DAO program is to create a matrix of inventoried digital assets and the corresponding promotional channels. This is helpful when a strategic promotion plan is put in place because it's easier to see what parts of a program can be promoted individually.

The next step is to keyword optimize the media and content types being promoted. Ideally, a process and training is put in place with the various content creation sources to enable new content to be optimized and promoted on an ongoing basis.

Another step in the digital asset optimization campaign management process is to create a content promotion plan. It's important to consider both the strategic DAO promotion opportunities as well as the promotion of individual media types.

For example, an entire viral campaign can be deployed leveraging not only the buzz building and word of mouth benefits, but also the ability for individual components of the program to drive traffic and attract links on their own.

Like all marketing efforts, campaign activity and conversion tracking and content interactions should be analyzed with analytics software. Monitor what's working and what's not ensuring to continuously test and refine.

Other Resources on DAO:
DMNews - "SEO Evolved: Digital Asset Optimization"
AllBusiness.com Search Engine Smarts: "Diversify SEO with Digital Asset Optimization"

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2009 Search Marketing Guide from Marketing Sherpa 
Posted by blog - Monday, July 14, 2008
Marketing Sherpa Search Marketing Benchmark Guide

For BtoB or BtoC companies that want to make smart decisions about their search marketing strategy based on research and case studies, then buy Marketing Sherpa's 2009 Search Marketing Guide.

I downloaded the Executive Summary and it's pretty good. I'd say if you're a client side web marketer or working for an agency and you're asking yourself any of the following questions, this year's SEM Guide would be a good investment ($397).

1. Am I budgeting enough or too much for SEM in relation to the rest of my marketing budget?
2. What is the real impact of landing pages on conversions?
3. What's the first thing consumers do when they land on a retail site?
4. How can a change in my internal search engine improve my site's conversion rate?
5. How are merchants policing affiliates and search?
6. Why would I want to bring SEM in-house and why would I want to continue to outsource it?
7. If I want to do business in China or India, is click fraud something I should worry about? Also, is it important to translate my site?
8. What should my conversion rate be for PPC vs. SEO listings?
9. What do mobile internet users search for? What response should I expect from a mobile ad?
10. Is the search marketing salary boom slowing?

MarketingSherpa ran their regular survey plus they included reports from 50 other online research sources. Tables, charts, graphs and eyetracking heatmaps plus 2 new special reports: "The Branding Effect of Search Advertising" and "Heatmapping Baidu to Understand Chinese SERP Viewing".

Here's a mini review of the 2009 Marketing Sherpa Search Marketing Guide for more info.

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SEO Minneapolis 
Posted by blog - Saturday, March 15, 2008
When you search on Google for phrases like "SEO Minneapolis" there are approximately 373,000 search results. That's pretty amazing considering there are so few search engine optimization blogs being published in the Twin Cities.

A search for "SEO Minneapolis" on Google Blog search returns over 4,000 results but most of them are scraped content from a much smaller number of actual blogs about SEO.

Undoubtedly, there are many search engine optimization practitioners in Minnesota. I would speculate that most are individuals working as independent consultants or promoting their own networks of content sites, on staff SEOs at web dev shops, interactive firms, ad agencies or PR firms where search engine optimization is a complimentary service but not a specialty.

What's interesting is that many web sites that rank for "SEO Minneapolis" (like ours) are not companies with offices in Minneapolis but rather a company with offices in the suburbs. For the most part, clients don't really care about that since they're just trying to find a local company they can trust.

Whether the SEO consultant or one of the few pure SEO agencies is in Eden Prairie, Wayzata or White Bear Lake - doesn't matter. Besides, the queries for SEO plus a suburb name are so low, it hardly makes sense to optimize for them.

Using KeywordDiscovery.com, reinforces there's not much demand for specific geo-targeted queries for SEO companies in Minnesota or Minneapolis. Below is a list of phrases with the number of times each phrase appeared in the Keyword Discovery Global Premium database in the past 12 months. Not very exciting.

minneapolis seo - 3
seo minneapolis - n/a
seo minnesota - n/a
minnesota seo - n/a
search engine optimization minneapolis - n/a
minneapolis search engine optimization - n/a
search engine optimization minnesota - n/a
minnesota search engine optimization - n/a
internet marketing minneapolis - n/a
internet marketing minnesota - n/a
minnesota internet marketing - n/a
minneapolis internet marketing - n/a

Sometimes I get asked why we don't focus on more local and geographically targeted content optimization and you can see why above. Besides, ranking well for both general terms like "search engine optimization firms", "search engine optimization consultants" or "search engine optimization services" and local versions creates the kind of credibility that inspires companies to pick up the phone and call about your services. Much more than relying purely on geo-targeted phrases like "SEO minneapolis".

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Link Building Tips - Blast From the Past 
Posted by blog - Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Here's an article on link building that originally ran over 3 years ago. It's amazing how much has changed since then. Enjoy:

Link Building
Here are tips for effective link building:

Reasons to link:
a) To drive traffic directly to your site
b) For search engine rankings

A) Linking to drive traffic to your site

Location Location Location
Identify high traffic sites that would be visited by your target audience. These include: publications, buyer's guides, product review sites, shopping sites and guides

Low Hanging Fruit
Look for a links like: "submit site" "add url" "submit product" or "contact us" to contact the site editor to see if they will list your web site or product. Some of the sites will have a form for you to fill out. When it asks for the site name, use a name that includes your keywords.

Keep your message short, simple, keyword rich and accurate. If the site does not have a form for you to fill out but provides a contact email address, be sure to include how you want the site to link to your site. Point out the benefit to the site editor of why they should add a link to your site. Typically this format works best:

Link Title: Site Name (add keyword here)
Link URL: http://www.domainname.com
Link Description: Site name keyword keyword offers: keyword, keyword, keyword and keyword.

You could also provide this as HTML code to make it even easier for the webmaster to just copy and paste your link onto their web site. An example:

DomainName.com - Keyword - Site name keyword keyword offers: keyword, keyword, keyword and keyword.

You might also consider paid listings on high traffic web sites. Some sites charge a one-time fee and some charge by the month. Ads that appear near the top of the page are best.

B) Linking for search engine rankings

Search engines rank pages of web sites based on many different factors and each major search engine uses unique algorithms for determining relevancy and ranking of web sites. One factor that all major search engines use to some degree is link popularity. If two sites are have equally relevant content, but one has more high quality links to it than another, the site with more links will rank higher.

Your task is to find "quality" sites and get them to link to you using text links that include your keywords. Try to avoid reciprocal linking or link exchanges. Many, many sites are abusing this method of linking and search engines will soon discount the value of any links shared directly between two sites that do not match certain criteria.

Quality is better than quantity.
By "quality" I mean sites that you need links from need to be considered authority sites on topics related to your own site. These include subject matter resource sites, publications, etc. Sites with .org, .edu are great. Chances are, there are many, many web sites out there with a theme similar to your site. Most that explicitly offer links require you to link back. When this happens, ask yourself if you would like to this type of site anyway - even without a link back.

Also, is the page where your site will be listed related directly to your site? The page that is linking to your site should have less than 40 links on it to other sites. 40 is not a hard number, but the lower the number of outgoing links the better.

The links to other sites should be to sites related to yours. If the links go to all different types of sites, that is of little value for you. If the links page has many, many links it may be of any value. The smaller the number of links to other web sites, the better for you if that page links to you. But the topic of the site should be related to your site.

How to find links.
Go to google.com and do a search for one of your keywords. Check each of the top 20 sites to see if there are opportunities for you to get a link back to your site.

You could also search Google and Yahoo using your keywords plus phrases like, "add site". Example: keyword phrase" add site" or keyword "submit site". This might result in sites that are open to accepting links.

There are many other ways to find links and will be included in a future, more in-depth article.

Remember, when you get links from other sites to yours, it is important that they are text links and that the text includes your keywords. Also, you don't always need to use the same keywords and you don't have to always link to your home page. You can get links from other sites to your specific product or services pages as well as your home page. Example:

Link Title: Product Keyword
Link URL: http://www.domainname.com/product-keyword.htm
Link Description: Order your product keyword online from domainname.com

By doing this you can build the link popularity to specific web pages of your site as well as your home page.

To Reciprocal Link or Not?
Avoid reciprocal links. Focus on one-way inbound links. It's good to have a resources page pre-populated with links to authority sites in your industry. These would be one-way links out to other industry, association or resources web sites. Try to keep the number of links you have going out to other sites to a minimum compared to the number of links coming in. If it really makes sense to trade links with another site, you can use your resources page to link to them.

Building links to drive traffic directly to your site can also help build your link popularity. Just keep in mind that text links are ideal and they should include keywords relevant to the page you're linking to. Set aside a few hours per week to research new links for your web site and mix up the links between your home page and the major category pages of your web site. Over time you'll build link popularity across your entire site and rankings will follow.

More resources on link building are available at:





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New RSS Feed URL 
Posted by blog - Wednesday, May 23, 2007
This SEO blog is retired.

Be sure to subscribe to the new feed at:

For daily updates on search marketing industry events, interviews, tips, tactics and the most comprehensive list of SEO blogs on the web, be sure to visit Online Marketing Blog!

Need SEO in Minneapolis? Contact TopRank at 1-877-872-6628.



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Previous Posts
* Content Marketing Curation Tips
* 5 Tips for Better B2B Search Engine Marketing
* Minnesota SEO Firm TopRank to Write for Microsoft
* Digital Asset Optimization Campaign Management Tips
* 2009 Search Marketing Guide from Marketing Sherpa
* SEO Minneapolis
* Link Building Tips - Blast From the Past
* New RSS Feed URL
* Checking for Clean Links
* TopRank Featured in Star Tribune