The Straight Scoop on SEO, Part 2
In part 1 of The Straight Scoop on SEO, which ran in the July 22 edition of eM+C Weekly, I discussed two of four fundamental ideas you need to know about search engine optimization (SEO) for your programs to be successful. In the second and final part of this series, I provide two more SEO fundamentals.
3. Like marketing and public relations, SEO never ends. The biggest mistake organizations make is employing SEO halfheartedly or as a one-time project. Successful search engine marketing requires a commitment throughout the organization like no other marketing medium. It requires not only commitment, but also an understanding that SEO is now a part of the way you do business. It's a business function like marketing, public relations, IT and accounting. While it can be campaign focused, SEO campaigns are ongoing and never end.
4. SEO must be baked into the development life cycle. Because SEO can’t be siloed into any single department, special expertise is necessary to establish processes within organizations that ensure it's executed right the first time as various website-related tasks flow in and out of meetings, systems, processes, deliverables and releases. The key to achieving positive return on investment is implementing SEO recommendations properly. To do that, you need SEO fully integrated into existing business processes and systems.
This places a lot of work on the shoulders of your in-house SEO team to start. They'll be in meetings and reviewing documentation, among other tasks. Some SEO teams feel this shouldn't be their responsibility, that these tasks should fall to other departments. Maybe they're right. But if managers take that approach from day one, it won’t work. You’ll be met with disappointment and requests for rework, combined with frustration from both your SEO team and IT department.
A better approach is to involve your SEO team heavily up front and focus on training and knowledge transfer over time. Like a programmer fresh out of college, you aren’t going to let them code an entire release that makes or breaks a significant portion of your revenue for many years. There will always be oversight needed by an SEO team.
This oversight is significant for the first year or two as other departments learn SEO and learn to keep SEO top of mind when making decisions. Dependence slowly eases over time as SEO becomes part of everyone’s job. That's how your SEO team needs to approach delegating SEO to other departments. The goal is for other departments to learn the simple things in the beginning and the big things over time from coaching and mentoring.
Are you going to take a bigger interest in your SEO process?
The biggest difference between companies that are successful in search and those that aren’t is in the nitty-gritty details that average companies miss. If you make SEO a priority, and focus your team on its smooth implementation and collaboration, you can maximize opportunities. But that isn’t enough. You'll start seeing changes happening more rapidly when you hold everyone on the project team accountable for things to go live search engine-friendly the first time. This will force them to keep SEO top of mind.
When SEO becomes top of mind, you have the opportunity to take your program to a level that few companies have achieved — earning more revenue and reducing SEO costs over time. Talk about competitive advantage.
Related story: The Straight Scoop on SEO, Part 1