Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Making the Most Of In-House SEO Project Delays
Natural search teams can get seriously hung up due to the bottlenecks that may exist within organizations of various sizes, preventing them from achieving outstanding organic search results. One type of bottleneck is IT delays that prevent timely implementation of SEO projects. Many times, these delays can’t be avoided. But that doesn’t mean you can’t otherwise be achieving SEO gains.
Ideally, you have created a Needs Assessment roadmap as the first step toward successful in-house search marketing. This is your critical-path blueprint for efficient deployment of your SEO plan. Even with a clear roadmap, in-house teams can encounter dead-ends. Most often, this happens with development resources. Having a dedicated developer available to the SEO team is highly desirable; however, not all companies can afford this luxury. As a result, IT can stand in the way of accomplishing critical-path SEO.
IT can lead a CEO down the SEO procrastination path by assigning a higher priority to any number of other projects. Usability, e-mail marketing, internal search, and shopping cart accruements, to name a few, are often competing for development time to improve overall online functionality, user experience, and revenue. Invariably, you’ll have to consider a work-around for a number of SEO projects delayed by IT.
Depending on the severity of the delay, you can still keep your team busy and productive while waiting for available development time by focusing on several SEO best practices that are frequently neglected.
Keyword research is not a one time, once done project that lasts forever. Keyword use and subsequent popularity is very dynamic; therefore, it is important to discover new keyword strategies to continually achieve the best ROI.
Depending on how your site is organized, we recommend dividing your business model into its natural silos and focusing on one silo at a time. For instance, if you have a sports-related site that provides information about baseball, football, hockey, etc., start with baseball and give it a workout using your system of research and discovery. Preferably, you can stay ahead by focusing on baseball during the off-season, doing the same for the other sports your site promotes.
Another good use of holdup time is to work on developing your long tail terms – those less competitive terms that come up for more specific queries. As you know, the most popular terms don’t always generate the most business. For many firms, success depends on conversions from the hundreds or even thousands of referrals from the long tail.
Google Webmaster Central Console is often overlooked as a source of valuable information. You can be in the console every day looking at errors, adjusting your robots.txt file, and importing data into Excel for comparing your inclusion ratio (the number of pages indexed compared to total number of pages available). The console provides many pieces of information that can be converted into detailed tasks and analyses for discussion and prioritization by your team.
Compliant link building requires a labyrinth of data mining and CRM. Most in-house teams simply don’t have the expertise or experience to develop this very valuable asset and often will outsource to a vendor, sometimes a non-compliant vendor who buys links. Although buying paid links under the radar can be considered a reasonable stopgap solution, it is not a solid strategy, nor is it long-term.
There are many different avenues for gaining quality, long-term links, and they all take time. Granted, it takes a lot of work to create direct links through extensive research and campaigning; however, we’ve seen a multitude of ranking success stories via compliant link building.
Patience is virtue
Instead of grumbling about IT delays, you can win a lot of goodwill by showing patience. This can go a long way toward developing future cooperation. Relationships are an important part of the in-house challenge. To quote Yahoo!’s in-house evangelist Jessica Bowman, “…for the in-house specialist, 80 percent of the time is spent selling search marketing to the rest of the team; 20 percent actually doing SEM.” It’s an uphill trek, so patience is virtue and wins the day.
It makes total sense to consider the above valuable SEO tasks when faced with a lack of IT development resources. The team’s time will be well-spent in terms of improving future revenue and ROI. You might also bring in qualified outside help as needed to build out the assets in support of your team’s endeavors. Don’t discount in-house training as an option; we see huge returns on investment in SEO training for in-house teams.
Paul J. Bruemmer has provided search engine marketing expertise and in-house consulting services to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, he is responsible for the strategic implementation of search engine marketing activities within Red Door’s Internet Presence Management (IPM) services. The In House column appears on Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.