Ah, the IT team: The land where SEO dreams go to die. The bigger the institution, the harder it is to pry a few tiny SEO tweaks out of the developer group. They’re resource-constrained, buried in the poop that the entire company dumps on them and, by the time you get to their office, not in a particularly giving mood.
So, how do you get the IT team to work with you? Work with them.
Make A Case For Growth
Why is IT treated like garbage? Same reason SEOs are: We’re both seen as a cost center, not a value generator. So try something like this:
- Figure out the total ‘universe’. Dig up the total search numbers for your space – the available ‘clicks’.
- Then, get the total number of non-branded organic visits to your site.
- Find the difference between the two.
- Calculate the percentage of organic search visitors who become customers…
- …and the average value of those customers.
With those numbers, you can figure out the total potential sales floating around out there, unrealized. Go to the head of IT. Show them the potential. Information Technology could have revenue attributed to their work.
If they won’t listen to that, move up the food chain, politely, a bit at a time. You may eventually find someone willing to listen. I say ‘may’ because I’ve had 50/50 success with this technique.
Sometimes, folks just ignore the evidence. That’s probably not their fault. Chances are they’re ignoring it because they don’t trust it. They don’t trust it because they’ve been taught, more than once, that SEO is a bunch of hooey.
Which brings me to the next technique…
Find the one, really easy win. A single title tag change, or a tweak to server response codes. Get that one thing done.
Then, track the hell out of it. Know when traffic goes up for that page, and by how much. Know how much revenue that generates.
Next, do it again with another small change.
In between each of these small changes, go do some link acquisition, or whatever will make your bosses happy.
Eventually, this will get folks trusting you, or make it crystal clear that it is hopeless, or demonstrate (yikes) that in this case SEO is not a good investment. At least you’ll get some clarity.
Change Your Name
If everyone’s so dead-set against ‘SEO’, try a few different names for it. Hold on, I’m not being snarky, or cynical, or trying to be funny. This can actually work, because sometimes it’s all about semantics.
Everyone’s been hard-coded that SEO = waste. You need to remap the connection. Reintroduce SEO as one facet of a long-term lead nurturing campaign, working alongside PPC, media buys, etc.
Partner up with the PPC team and do your presentations together under ‘Inbound marketing’. Work with the editorial team on content visibility. Or, work with the IT team on site performance.
It’s All About Creativity
I know what a lot of folks are going to say after reading this: “Ian, I was hired to do SEO, not to run the diplomatic gauntlet.”
Wrong. You were hired to do both. As is anyone hired into a large organization. It’s all about creatively building relationships. Go and build ‘em.
Feel free to rant, or (even better) post positive stories about making SEO work in big, traditional companies below.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.