Raising The Organizational Visibility Of The Search Marketing Function

The ultimate goal of any in-house search marketer is for search engine marketing to become ingrained in the way a company does business, similar to marketing, advertising, and public relations. It’s rare for search marketing to gain this much visibility, but we are starting to see a few organizations successfully embrace SEO beyond IT and marketing.

When we talk about incorporating search marketing into the way that you do business, we imagine an open flow and exchange of ideas between marketing, IT, and SEO. This article will challenge you to think about how search engine marketing can go beyond IT and marketing and take SEO into new directions.

There aren’t many companies that have successfully taken search marketing beyond IT and marketing, but they’re out there and it is a huge competitive advantage (which is why I’m not giving any examples). They are organizations of all sizes, large, medium, and small. The one thing they have in common is there is someone in-house who champions and evangelizes search engine marketing throughout the entire company, builds alliances, and focuses on how search engine marketing can help other departments’ agendas. Once this happens, the right people catch on to the potential, the flood gates open, and search engine marketing becomes ingrained into the way that a company does business—when they think to bring in PR and Marketing, they also think about search engine marketing.

Here are just a few ways that search engine marketing can go beyond IT and marketing:

  • Sales.Search marketing can feed information to the sales department, such as when people actually start looking for your products and services throughout the year, and what search terms are being used by these prospects. Another way to add value to the sales department is via the content that’s needed for successful SEO. Search engine optimization needs keyword-rich, useful content for optimal success. To maximize synergies between functions, consider writing content that will boost rankings and that also can be used by the sales team as conversation starters and resources for prospects.

  • Public relations. Search marketing can help boost PR messages by optimizing press releases and bringing PR messages into the SERPs. What isn’t always considered by the PR department is that search marketing can also help defuse negative publicity that can appear in the SERPs, or keep the positive publicity ranking for your brand terms.
  • Product management. Keyword research gives product management insight into what people are actively seeking. This information can fuel ideas for new functions for existing products, spawn new product ideas, and drive product naming.
  • Brand management. Search marketing can influence brand perception by influencing the sites and web pages that appear for brand searches—those that display the optimal brand messaging. You can also work with brand management to create keyword-rich marketing messages that gives you a need for SEO while offering optimal brand positioning—it’s a message that both SEO and brand management will be proud to include throughout your website.
  • Offline media buying/advertising. Search marketing can also give insights into brand research vs. general product research throughout the year, so that you know when people are looking for your company vs. the general product—this information can be incorporated into media planning and scheduling.
  • Recruiting. People often search for a brand name and “jobs.” Unfortunately, your recruiting web site may not always rank highest for these types of searches because SEO wasn’t a priority when it was developed. This offers an opportunity for you to work with the recruiting department. If you have openings in a particularly niche and highly specialized field, such as an SEO position or a cognitive engineer role, know that these niche professionals also go to search engines to find where these jobs are posted—if the PPC prices are low, consider using PPC to promote your hard to fill positions using highly targeted search terms.
  • Legal. As SEOs, we find tons of “junk” in the SERPs. Big brands find their name on countless spam sites with plagiarized content showing up in the search results. Partnering with the legal department to address these issues has three major benefits, especially if you have an attorney that specializes in cyber law. First, the legal department will be happy to get the reports of abuse so they can address it immediately. Second, the attorney becomes someone you can assign the job of getting the duplicate content out of the SERPs. They will take care of getting the scraper sites out the SERPs for you, shutting down sites due to trademark infringement and/or file DMCA reports to the search engines (leaving you time for everything else). The third and most valuable benefit is that developing a strong relationship with a cyber attorney gives you the chance to make the legal department a strategic ally who may be involved in projects you are not aware of, because the project is going through legal reviews. It takes the right political savviness, but if you can win them over you’ve created an influential ally and a very valuable asset for your in-house search marketing efforts.

Not only can expanding search marketing beyond IT and marketing increase opportunities for your company, it increases the value of the search marketing team, and gets more people in the company talking about search marketing. When more people talk about search, it becomes more visible and appealing, which can make selling your ideas much simpler…particularly as you increase your sphere of influential allies. Just be cautious to not bite off more than you can chew.

Jessica Bowman is the Director of SEO for Business.com and an independent consultant and author of the SEM / SEO In-house Blog. The In House column appears on Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | In House Search Marketing | SEM Industry: In House


About The Author: is a free agent SEO strategist available for SEO site audits, SEO training and helping in-house SEO programs become a well-oiled machine that cranks out profits. The In House column appears weekly at Search Engine Land.

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