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Fall In Line: Understanding SEO’s Place In Company Ecosystem
We’ve all been there. Heck, many of us are still there right now. We come to work every day, game to do whatever it takes to “move the needle”. You know the importance of your SEO work to your company’s bottom line, so your head is constantly down to get things done.
This often means pumping out seemingly endless emails to co-workers advising on one thing or another, asking for this or that, and offering non-requested advice on projects you heard about at the water cooler. No one doubts your desire to see SEO succeed, but maybe it’s time to stick you head up and take a look around. Time to take a breath and inject some reality into your world around where you sit. No, I don’t mean where your office is situated – I’m talking about knowing your place in the larger ecosystem of your company’s efforts.
Have you ever had a conversation that included someone suggesting you didn’t understand the larger picture or what you were asking for wasn’t going to fly in the face of other considerations? What I’m really getting at is positioning. It’s critical to know where your SEO work stands in the larger sphere of work going on at your company.
Sure, the executive might have said “SEO is important” at some point, but in reality, such sound bites are often not strong enough to hang your tin-foil hat on. Worse, such commentary usually leads to folks ratcheting up interest on the topic, only to realize there is no magic bullet, and thus losing interest faster than a failing bank.
Which all means the need to determine where your program fits in lands solidly in your lap, like a wet salmon. Full of yummy potential, if only the right ingredients are on hand and applied in the correct fashion. It’s critical you either ask for assignation or push for it yourself. Your program might bring 7X ROI figures for low investment, but the PPC program can crow about huge Click Through Rates (CTRs) and the email program can run out conversion figures that would embarrass Billy Mays (RIP). Not to mention the banner advertising folks (no, seriously, not worth mentioning)… unless they engage in anything related to branding and stock the fridge full of cold, hard cash to ensure broad reach, long run-times and fresh ads every few weeks. Then they can have an effect.
The point here isn’t to find ways to compete with the various efforts your company might have in play either. The goal should be to understand where SEO fits in. In fact, you might be better served in ramping down any Ra-Ra-Ra about SEO and quietly working to seed SEO work into other programs, feeding off them and contributing to their successes. Use the data from the PPC campaigns to help you zone in on keywords that convert – they get cracking on optimizing content for them, too.
Watch your email campaigns and note which calls to action produce the best results, then get cracking on backing those products with optimization goodness plucked from the verbiage of your emails. Are any of the websites those banner ads appear on driving traffic? If so, start looking at demographics from those sites and start building targeted keyword lists to get optimized content targeted at.
Now, lest you’re ready to start with the hate mail because I missed social, relax. Social is probably one of the least understood, least planned and biggest missed-opportunities areas in most companies. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated plan, create one. Sure, it might be outside your normal area of operation, but if no one else there is managing it, get in front of that thing and start ensuring the outreach your company does is headed in the right direction. There is plenty of opportunity via social to build links by engaging your audience – this alone should make it worth your while.
While you’re doing all this poking around and soul searching, take a long hard look at how you are stack ranking the work you ask others to do. Does the return on what you are asking for really outweigh other items in the queue? By taking a seriously honest look at this question, you will begin to see that many SEO-related work items just don’t stack up to enabling a new photo gallery capable of adding 10,000 page views a week and spinning more ads – will editing those ALT tags deliver the same results?
That’s the real point here – knowing your place in the company. Each time you ask someone to complete an SEO-related work item, that’s an investment of time. For sure your goal is to run SEO and run it well, but by being aware of your impact on others and by being thoughtful around where you ask for others to invest time, you not only stand to bring in positive results, you’ll find yourself getting support from the most unlikely places and programs around your company.
I was once told, “Marketing is a support function; we lead nothing.” Guess what? SEO is a support function, we rarely ever lead.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.