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14 Search Marketing Influencers at Top B2B & B2C Brands

Posted on Mar 11th, 2020
Written by Lane Ellis
In this article

    Ready to elevate your B2B brand?

    TopRank Marketing drives results with content, influencer, SEO & social media marketing.

    Search marketing strategy is undoubtedly vital for most B2B brands today, yet there are several elements that play important roles in its ultimate success that may surprise you.

    Leading the search engine optimization (SEO) program for a major brand is a vital role that’s only taken on greater importance over the years, as even the rise of social media marketing hasn’t eliminated the need for B2B marketers to have a strong search marketing strategy.

    With search marketing influencers at top brands facing a nearly constant barrage of new SEO challenges, how do smart search industry leaders build successful campaigns?

    Non-paid organic search efforts have some of the lowest website visitor traffic bounce rates for B2B and B2C campaigns alike, which is why SEO practitioners at major firms continue to play such an important role in successful marketing efforts.

    Organic Search Traffic Chart

    Having a sound search marketing strategy comes not only from long-standing traditional on-page technical elements, but more than ever before three additional tactics working together help to build a new type of cohesive SEO success:

    • Building a Best-Answer Content Strategy
    • Utilizing Knowledgeable Industry Experts for Influencer Marketing
    • Tracking & Adjusting to Search Industry Changes

    Let’s take a look at each of these three key areas that combine to form the type of strong search strategy that top B2B marketing leaders rely on, and then we’ll look at 14 search innovators working at major brands.

    Building a Best-Answer Content Strategy

    Part of building a successful best-answer content strategy is learning the questions that your audience is asking:

    • What is your audience looking for?
    • How is your audience searching for answers?
    • Where are they looking?

    Getting to the heart of the questions that are most important to your audience is a powerful way to provide what we like to call best-answer solutions.

    Learning what your audience is searching for, where they’re looking, and how they are going about their searches is an entire branch of search marketing, and a number of dedicated tools exist to help in this area, as I cover in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers,” including offerings such as SEMrush’s helpful empathy map.

    SEMrush empathy map image.

    “How can you be the best answer for your audience if you don’t understand what questions they’re asking or what problems they’re trying to solve?” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Share on X

    To help you create or expand you own best-answer content strategy, we’ve gathered together four resource articles our team has written about the various aspects of building great content that instills trust:

    Utilizing Knowledgeable Industry Experts for Influencer Marketing

    Influencer marketing may not initially spring to mind when looking for areas important to search efforts, yet it can have tremendous impact on both paid and organic efforts. Brands that haven’t yet utilized B2B influencer marketing have the most to gain.

    B2B influencer marketing is at the core of the services we’re known for at TopRank Marketing, providing successful programs and campaigns to major firms from LinkedIn and Adobe to Dell and 3M. Such successes led Forrester to list us as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

    Successful B2B influencer marketing uses knowledgeable industry experts to increase trust, create best-answer content, and offer customer experiences that are tailor-made for increasing search findability.

    You can dig in and explore some of our top recent influencer marketing articles, including the factors that go into making a great B2B influencer, here:

    “Influencer marketing may not initially spring to mind when looking for areas important to search efforts, yet it can have tremendous impact on both paid and organic efforts.” @lanerellis Share on X

    Tracking & Adjusting to Search Industry Changes

    The search marketing industry has been one of rapid changes since the days of Alta Vista, and keeping up-to-date with the ever-shifting machinations and technical intricacies can be a full-time job for top B2B SEO leaders.

    I remember in the late 1990s when my old friend Brett Tabke — who used to call my 300-baud computer bulletin board system back in the 1980s — first started holding informal gatherings of webmasters and search industry professionals, a move that led to forming Pubcon, now one of the longest-running search-related conferences.

    In-person networking events are hard to beat for not only search but whatever your particular area of marketing, as they offer the ability to form lasting relationships, build new client connections, and learn the latest from presenting keynote speakers, as we explore in “Content Marketing Gold Rush: How to Unearth Content Gold at Marketing Industry Events.”

    There have never been more conferences, including those tailored for B2B marketers, and recently I compiled a list of 50, in “The BIGLIST of 50 Top B2B Marketing Conferences in 2020.”

    Search marketing industry online news publications are also abundant as sources for staying abreast of the rapidly-changing world of SEO, including SEO Roundtable with industry veteran Barry Schwartz, and many others.

    Tip for creating #ContentGold around industry events: Reach out to organizers, sponsors, or speakers that represent topics and brands of interest to your community to do pre-conference interviews. @LeeOdden Share on X

    SEO Influencers From Major Brands to Follow & Learn From

    Learning from some of the savviest search marketers is a great way to expand your own SEO repertoire, and we’ve compiled a list of 14 to get you started, listed in random order.

    Jesse McDonald @jesseseogeek
    Global SEO Strategist, IBM

    Carolyn Shelby @cshel
    SEO Manager, ESPN/The Walt Disney Company

    Melanie Mitchell @MelanieMitchell
    Head of SEO, Chewy

    Derrick Wheeler @DerrickWheeler
    Senior SEO Marketing Manager, SAP Concur

    Keith Goode @keithgoode
    Senior SEO Strategist, IBM

    Aaron Chronister @TheMadHat
    Senior Director of SEO, CBS Interactive

    Brian LaFrance @blafrance
    Director of SEO, CBS Interactive

    Milosz Pekala @mnbuzz
    SEO Manager,  Mayo Clinic

    Adam Audette @audette
    Senior Vice President and Head of Global SEO, Merkle

    Ash Buckles @ashbuckles
    Global SEO Manager, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

    Jim Huang @_jimhuang
    Organic Search SEO Manager, AARP

    Dan Perry @danperry
    SEO Director, Turner Broadcasting

    Dennis Goedegebuure @TheNextCorner
    Head of Global Consumer Growth Marketing, PayPal

    Gary Illyes @methode
    Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google

    This is just the tip of the iceberg however, and you can find many more top industry marketers in the following additional lists we’ve assembled:

    Educate Your Team To Deliver Knockout B2B Search Performance

    via GIPHY

    We hope that our look at how search marketing benefits from building a best-answer content strategy, using industry experts for influencer marketing, and keeping up-to-date with SEO industry news has given you plenty of ideas for taking your own search marketing to new heights.

    You can learn even more about being the best answer for your customers and the importance of SEO and influence in a presentation TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden will be delivering in April:

    April 22-23, 2020 – Content Marketing Conference — Boston, MA.
    Be Best Answer for Your Customers with SEO and Influence