Lee Odden: What You Need to Know about OptimizationBy: Abby Johnson - April 24, 2012
What is optimization? The dictionary definition, according to Merriam-Webster, optimization is:
“An act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible; specifically: the mathematical procedures (as finding the maximum of a function) involved in this.”
In the online business world, optimization is often thought of in terms of search engine optimization and social media optimization. While these tactics are very important aspects of optimization, Lee Odden, the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and author of new book Optimize, told us that it doesn’t stop with them.
Odden, who is a 14-year veteran Internet marketer, came to this new understanding of optimization after a conversation with Google engineer Maile Ohye. As he explained to WebProNews, Ohye gave him a “palm forehead moment” after he voiced concerns over his speaking skills to her. She suggested that he optimize his speaking just like he would optimize a website for better performance. In that moment, he said it dawned on him that he should be looking at optimization differently.
“I just thought… why not make that the focal point of discussion when we’re talking about how to connect customers with brands using content, using social [and] using search,” he recalled to us, “and how to approach optimization as a state of mind… as a way of viewing the world versus just keywords and links and the on page sort of thing.”
The revelation inspired Odden to write a book and tell others why modern marketing calls for a broader customer-centric approach to optimization. He told us that understanding the customer is the element that is missing in most discussions today. When optimization efforts look at the totality of the customer experience, they have the ability to surpass individual efforts in search and social.
“If you’re focused on customer behaviors – what their goals and pinpoints are, what is it that they care about, and how we can solve those problems with brand information, brand solutions, or products or services – then we’re going to be on top of what it means to grow revenue, to retain customers, to increase orders, to increase referrals, and that sort of thing,” he said.
What’s your optimization strategy? Does it focus on SEO and social media, or does it go beyond these tactics? Let us know.
Traditional SEO tactics involve identifying the most popular keyword phrases relative to the products and services a business offers. Then, traditional SEO would have you make sure all your content, including the existing, new, and social media content, includes them as well. While checklist-type SEO tactics are effective, Odden told us that many more opportunities are present beyond them.
“I think you’ll find more opportunities when we take the effort to understand how is it that customers think about the problems that they’re having,” he said.
“It’s not just the checklist,” Odden continued, ”it’s having the wherewithal to understand customers, to understand the market, to understand the kinds of content that are meaningful, and also paying attention to the marketplace so you can actually on-demand come up with stuff that’s a marketing asset right here [and] right now – not just following a fixed editorial calendar or fixed marketing plan.”
In his book, Odden further details the opportunities in optimization and explains how they lead to attracting customers, engaging with them, and inspiring them to share, purchase, or refer others to the product or service. According to him, the book is geared toward anyone that publishes content on the Web. He believes it will equip them with the information they need to not only reach customers, but also to grow their business.
“It will empower them with a knowledge that will allow them to get more productivity out of the content that they’re publishing, [a] more meaningful versus mechanical experience for the audiences that actually consume that content, and a framework for how to create a process in an organization that will help you scale,” said Odden.
Optimize is currently available in all major bookstores and online.