There's a wealth of information about optimizing your content to appeal to customers, search engines and social networks in Lee Odden's new book, "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing."
Whether you're B2C or B2B, prefer Facebook over Pinterest, manage PR, CR or HR, "Optimize" offers strategies and dives deep into tactics to help you create competitive advantage for online content.
"Optimization is more about brands and customers than it is about keywords and rankings on search engines," states Odden, who is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing consultancy and a frequent speaker at search marketing, social media and PR industry conferences.
He puts the focus on engagement and effective relationship-building -- and rightly so, I think -- because the technology (whether search algorithms, online platforms, computers, tablets, or smartphones) is constantly evolving.
"Tools are important, but it's also important to focus on whatever it takes to stay connected with your customers and community using the search and social channels that are most relevant," he writes.
The real meat -- the step-by-step walk-through -- begins with Chapter 7. If you're looking for a high-level overview of SEO, this may not be the book for you. The opening chapters assume a certain level of understanding and immediacy around implementing tactics into existing marketing and content-development programs. They're somewhat disjointed, as well, bringing up case studies, which would have been helpful to the reader, only to drop them and continually noting that more detailed discussion continues in later chapters.
Odden is true to his word on this last promise. He provides a detailed analysis of keyword research in Chapter 7 and, in later chapters, describes how keywords can be used to create content plans across the organization and placed on webpages in ways that engage customers and attract search engine attention. He differentiates among content types -- listing 30 kinds, from blogs to videos, PDFs and e-books -- and advises how to manage and balance content creation and curation.
"The consumer journey from initial query to purchase is increasingly complex," notes Odden, who uses later chapters to explore the role of social networks and influencers, as well as how brands can optimize social search efforts.
"Optimize" goes beyond engagement and marketing to explore how many of these tactics can be used in Public Relations, Human Resources and recruiting, and Customer Service departments. Each chapter describes free and paid tools, programs and services and concludes with a list of Action Items to implement in your own content and marketing programs.
By taking a "customers first, then search engines" approach, Odden offers a solid action plan in "Optimize" for auditing and optimizing content to engage audiences.
"By knowing what a customer group cares about," Odden asserts, "marketers can do a better job of creating relevant content that is easy to find on search engines and social media websites that inspires them to buy and share."