Lee Odden’s Guide to SEO for the Modern Marketer

By Heike Young

When you think of SEO, do you think of backlinks, keywords, and authorship? Truth is, SEO has changed a lot since the practice gained popularity in the ’90s.

Lee Odden knows a lot about how SEO has changed over the years—he’s one of the world’s top experts on SEO within marketing strategy, and we featured him on the latest episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce.

Lee is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency that consults Fortune 100 B2B and B2C companies. He also wrote the book Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.

On the show, we asked Lee about modern SEO for marketers wanting to attract new customers and prospects through search—without bludgeoning them with obtuse keyword tactics. In this podcast episode now available on iTunes, Lee explains:

  • Why SEO is distinct from content marketing
  • What should drive your strategy—SEO or content
  • How influencer marketing works, and how to get started
  • The role of review sites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, in your marketing strategy

Listen to a preview of the episode here, or download the full episode on iTunes.

Here were a few highlights from our discussion with Lee:

“The only thing worse than no SEO is all SEO.” — Lee Odden

When it comes to optimizing search today, Lee says it’s all about customer centricity. Google owns the search market and is simply trying to create the best possible search experience for individual users.

Companies are mistaken when they focus on the SEO tactics du jour (like keywords and link building). Instead, Lee says we must understand the customer journey relevant to search.

“Typing a topic or question into a search box is an explicit indication of intent.” — Lee Odden

That’s the magic of search: if someone’s typing into a search box, they’re explicitly demonstrating that they’re in the mood to learn more about a product, topic, or service. The goal for brands, of course, is to be there at the moment of need.

Companies can still use SEO to be there when someone searches, but marketers now need to back up that presence with better and more meaningful content.

52% of B2B customers now research products via smartphone.

Lee explained that we’re in the age of the self-directed buyer: people nowadays pull themselves through the majority of the sales cycle, relying on content they discovered through search—especially for B2B.

Given that such a large percentage of B2B marketers are doing research on their smartphones, B2B marketers must empathize with search behaviors and focus on content that works on a mobile device.

Your SEO is only as good as your content marketing.

Many marketers wonder about the relationship or differences between SEO strategy and content marketing strategy. Here’s one way of looking at it: SEO gets someone to your site. Once a customer gets there, it’s up to your content to keep them around.

Great content helps SEO. Likewise, solid SEO helps your content marketing.

That’s just scratching the surface of what we talked about with Lee Odden in the newest episode of the Marketing Cloudcast. Get the episode now and figure out how to meet the growing needs of search engine-reliant customers in 2016.

New to podcast subscriptions in iTunes? Search for “Marketing Cloudcast” in the iTunes Store and hit Subscribe, as shown below.

Tweet @youngheike with marketing questions or topics you’d like to see covered next on the Marketing Cloudcast. Image of Google logos via Scoop Whoop.