14 Search Marketing Influencers at Top B2B Brands

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.

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.

[bctt tweet=”“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” username=”toprank”]

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:

The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content
Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility
How B2B Marketers Can Win at Search with Best Answer Content
How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results

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:

5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers
25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020
Optimizing ABM with Influencer Marketing

[bctt tweet=”“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” username=”toprank”]
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.

[bctt tweet=”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” username=”toprank”]
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:

10 Years of Women Who Rock in Marketing – CMO Edition
50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers, Experts and Speakers
32 Top Social Media Marketing Influencers To Follow
50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow

Educate Your Team To Deliver Knockout B2B Search Performance


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.
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Source: Toprank