Posted on September 5, 2014
Maximizing the benefits of search engine optimization begins when integrating it across departments.
Many search engine optimization (SEO) professionals at some point in their professional life feel as if no one understands them.
Although SEO should be an integral part of many corporate structures, including marketing, Web design, IT, and content creation, unless you are fortunate enough to work at a big corporation with a team of in-house SEOs, you don’t quite fit in anywhere.
We need to change that in order to reap the real benefits of SEO.
The best way to achieve this is for SEO to be integrated into the process of website design, content creation, and marketing planning, just to name a few, by firstly having “SEO cheerleaders” in a business’s other departments.
The SEO Cheerleader
SEO cheerleaders are people who understand the value of SEO initiatives, especially those who are related to, or can advance, their own efforts and become SEO ambassadors within their team.
For example, when a certain topic comes up in a meeting that may have some impact on SEO or could benefit from some SEO insights, these cheerleaders would be in a position to remind the rest of the team about SEO best practices, suggest bringing in the SEO team for clarifications or requests for data that can enhance activity.
Potential cheerleader candidates can be found in a variety of departments including:
- Content editors and publishing teams
- E-marketing teams
- Social media teams
- IT teams
- Web design and operations teams
- Product teams
- Sales teams
- Senior executives
Having SEO cheerleaders in different departments and teams helps to better connect and inform the rest of the business in overall online and even some offline activities. Think of the reasons why you would want these evangelists in your cheerleading squad, how they can help and support SEO initiatives, and how much of the impact that each cheerleader has based on his/her position and the work responsibilities.
When everyone is already overloaded with work and responsibilities, it is not likely that you will have volunteers lining up to add more to their plate. The best way to get people onboard is to demonstrate what can be gained from adopting SEO and from working with the SEO team.
Prepare some talking points or even a couple of slides showing what is in it for them. Below are some of the benefits that will get people’s attention:
- Increasing key performance indicator (KPI) performances
- Decreasing long-term workloads by improving overall work processes
- Sharing data
- Strengthening communications
Find whatever motivation works to excite your team to cheer for SEO across your business to deliver benefits that “helps them to help you!”
Equip Your SEO Cheerleaders
SEO isn’t about stuffing text and devious tricks to improve rankings, but many non-SEO professionals still think about SEO in this way. Although cheerleaders don’t need to become SEO experts, they still need to be equipped with enough basic SEO knowledge, tools, and success points to create a strong cheerleading squad.
Here are some tools for cheerleaders to use for SEO wins:
- Explain how each area, whether it is server, Web design, content creation, or marketing plan, impacts SEO performance – especially if SEO isn’t traditionally considered during these departments work processes.
- Give employees credit for improvement when page speed improves or redirects are reduced.
- Demonstrate how KPIs can improve when working with the SEO team. When employees realize that SEO can increase their conversions and sales, they will be sure to speak up for SEO implementation.
- Reduce workloads by integrating SEO into work processes. There are many SEO action items especially related to IT, Web operation, and content that can be, and should be integrated into employee work process, and by doing so, employees can eliminate the need for re-work.
- Use SEO data to help employees in their daily work. The SEO team has access to many websites and online marketing data through Webmaster Tools, analytics tools, and other SEO tools. This type of data gives insights and information that other teams can use, too. For example, IT departments can enhance their diagnostic processes by monitoring server errors and crawl/index rates, the Web team can identify broken links using Webmaster Tools, the social team can use SEO search query data, and the marketing team can use campaign landing pages data and influencers from inbound links.
- Communicate regularly with the SEO team to avoid last-minute scrambles. It helps if the SEO team can be included in annual, or even quarterly, campaign schedules and content publishing schedules communications. I personally appreciate receiving conversation mining data from the social team, and the client feedback data from the sales team.
All of these are a gold mine of opportunities not only for SEO but content marketing.
Lastly, give some specific examples of how and when you would like help and give the team words to listen for that will trigger them to think of SEO. Talk to them about how SEO should be integrated into each of their work process to improve overall performance. The easier you make it for them, the louder and more enthusiastically they can cheer for you.